Among the many things I wondered about during much of my marriage is whether I’ve been beautiful. Although I didn’t love the way I looked early in our marriage, I knew I looked good enough and sexy enough.
By the time I finally got around to changing how I approached the sexual intimacy in our marriage, however, it was a different story. After twenty years, three kids, and a whole lot of extra weight, I knew absolutely that I didn’t look good or sexy enough to be sexually appealing anymore. I knew that one of the things my husband wanted was to see my naked body. He would tell me I was beautiful—but I was pretty sure that was only because he hadn’t gotten a good look in a long time. If he had any idea how I looked, he wouldn’t really want to see me.
Through my own eyes
I stood in front of the mirror, naked, holding a blanket up in front of the most offensive parts of my body (tummy and lady parts). Even with those covered, I saw stretch marks, sagging, dry skin, and rolls that I didn’t want. Blech. How can I begin to feel sexy in this body? I dropped the blanket and stared at myself in all my so-called glory. Ew. This is what he is always wanting to see naked? Why? What is wrong with him that this is what he likes? He says I’m beautiful and sexy, but since that obviously not true, he’s only saying them because he wants sex. Ugh.
I knew by looking at my own body that when my husband told me I was beautiful, he was lying. Or he was ignorant of what beauty was. Or he wanted something from me. I would hear, “You’re beautiful,” and I would feel my hurt bubble up inside me.
Big Guy was giving me a compliment, and I rejected it and held it against him. Didn’t he ever see other women who were pretty by conventional standards? I knew he saw them on TV and movies. How could I take him seriously when he said I was beautiful?
How could I learn to deal with this enough that I could get comfortable having him see my body as he wanted to?
Through a husband’s eyes
One of the many things that has changed in our marriage is that now I know, without a doubt, that I am beautiful to my husband.
But how do I know this? How is it possible that I look in the mirror and see the fat, the stretch marks, and the sagging, and my husband doesn’t?
I love the way Paul explains it in Really, You Look Great to Him at The XY Code.
“When we look at the woman we loved enough to marry, we see so much more. We see the woman who cares for us when we are sick. We see the woman who believed in us when we doubted ourselves. We see the woman who shares her mind and body in so many wonderful ways. We see the mother of our children. We see the only woman we want. Because of all this, we see a deep beauty no mirror can reflect.”
My husband thinks I’m beautiful because I am his wife. He looks at me and sees my heart. He sees our life together. He sees . . . me.
Does that mean he doesn’t see my stretch marks and the sagging? You know what? I think my husband does see them—but he doesn’t see them as faults in the way that I do. He sees me not just in terms of who I am and have been to him, but also in terms of what he has experienced with my body. I see breasts that sag; he sees breasts that have pillowed him. I see stretch marks; he sees signs that I grew his children within my body. I see the fat; he sees the body that has cradled him and invited him in.
His wife’s body is the one with which a man associates extreme pleasure and intimacy. No other woman can hold a candle to a man’s wife, because no other woman’s body is associated with his sex life. Our husbands want to see our bodies because we are their wives, with whom they have shared great pleasure and a whole lot of life.
I am his
I am nothing to look at, really. I would turn no other man’s head–but my husband knows that everything he sees on my bountiful body, as it were, is his. He knows that he is the only one who sees it, touches it, and experiences it. Mine is the body he plays with. Mine is the body that plays with his body. He knows that he is the only man who has seen and experienced me in my full sexual glory as a wife.
When I look at my body, I see stretch marks, rolls where I don’t want them, dry skin, and the effects of gravity. My husband looks at my body and sees this. Other women have perkier breasts than I do–but they are absolutely nothing to the ones he gets to touch–mine. Mine are the best breasts in the world to Big Guy.
You are beautiful
It is easy to question it when our husbands tell us that we’re beautiful. Not only do we know how we really look, we may see that our husbands notice other women who are much closer to our culture’s standard of beauty. A man should choose to bounce his eyes away—but whether he does or not, we find it far too tempting to compare ourselves to those other women.
We wonder, Am I beautiful enough?
You may find it hard to believe, but you are enough to your husband. You are his wife. You are the most beautiful woman in the world to him. And you know what? The more he is able to enjoy your body and see it, the more beautiful you will become in his eyes.
You are beautiful.
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If you’re seeking courage to let your husband enjoy your beauty, check out these two wonderful recent posts from J at Hot, Holy, & Humorous:
You might also want to take a look at some of my own related posts:
Image courtesy of Aleksa D / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Shared at To Love, Honor, and Vacuum