Wandering eyes, difficulty sustaining longterm relationships, and double standards – if your wife isn’t your standard of beauty, who is?
It’s amazing how many beautiful women don’t think they’re attractive. I enjoy watching a lot of talk show clips on YouTube and social media and finding out how famous people experience the world. What is constantly shocking is the number of Triple A, super attractive, chart topping women (and men actually) who don’t consider themselves attractive.
And the list of these people is amazing. People like Megan Fox, Penelope Cruz, Scarlet Johansson, and Ryan Gosling. People who literally have a multi-million dollar career of using their stellar appearances to sell products, movie tickets and action figures don’t like the way they look.
And even outside of those who are triple A celebrities, I have spoken to so many beautiful women who are absolute stunners, but they don’t think they are. Everyone else is blinded by their beauty yet they themselves remain blind to it.
It really makes you think about how we all think about beauty. Is it symmetry, flawless skin and shapely torsos and waists? Well, if it is, then why do all these people who objectively possess these things still feel unattractive?
And one dimension further – why do all these beautiful people still have partners who decide to cheat on them and leave them? Can you even fathom that we live in a world where women like Jennifer Aniston and Sandra Bullock were cheated on? Like, is that real? You’re married to that and you don’t think there’s enough beauty there for you to stay?
It’s easy to pick on the men who left these stellar looking women, but it really highlights a larger and wider problem, doesn’t it? Because it isn’t just Hollywood celebrities who feel overlooked by the men who say they love them – it’s women everywhere. This raises the scary question that if your wife isn’t your standard of beauty, then who is?
Just a quick note that I’ll be using the phrase wife throughout as they’re the people most commonly affected by what I’m going to write about, but it’s true for your husband or partners in general.
We all know of the phrase “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. This could be traced back to Greek philosopher Plato with many others extrapolating on this idea. And so you could infer it isn’t the fault of the object of desire being observed, it is actually the fault of the observer for not recognising the desirability of the one they’re observing.
Or as one Jewish Rabbi put it, a case of pearls before swine. It’s not the pearls that are at fault, but that they are in the presence of those who treat them without their proper value.
Which brings me to today’s thought. I see so many marriages and relationships crumble well before their time. One or both people give up on the other. And you find many people constantly adrift between lovers. It’s funny when it’s the characters of Seinfeld or Friends or New Girl who are in and out of relationships all the time, but it’s much less funny when it’s your own life.
And more than that – these people leave behind them a constantly increasing pool of women or men who feel less than, undesirable, and not worth your time.
And yet this was exactly against the promises you made to them that you said you’d maintain for life.
The truth is our society isn’t doing a very good job of conditioning people for longterm relationships. We have so many guides on how to find love and begin relationships and how exciting it is at the start that that’s all people are conditioned to be able to handle. When the longterm realities of a relationship over several years kick in, we do what we’ve been conditioned to do – go back to the start again where it’s fun and exciting and beautiful.
I have seen a number of videos from mainly female content creators on Facebook and YouTube recently talking through why they recommend having a one night stand. The main point they always make is because there’s a level of excitement when you haven’t had sex with someone yet and then it’s euphoria when you finally do, and they say you need to keep recapturing that.
This is because they haven’t been given the information they need to go to the distance. And unfortunately they then pass on to so many others that once your level of excitement isn’t what it looks like at the start, it’s time to leave and recapture it.
But if your wife isn’t your standard of beauty, then who is?
Your standard of beauty is the early days, the new and exciting, the still unknown. And so, the one you promised to love all your days become less and less attractive to you, because you didn’t plan it out for the long haul. Rather than being more and more enticed the more you find out about someone, you become repulsed and bored.
You’re addicted to mystery rather than fulfillment. And you wonder why you’re left feeling empty.
There is a phrase that is said at many weddings in our vows to each other that we so easily forget and a truly underrated aspect of longterm love – “forsaking all others”.
If your wife isn’t your standard of beauty, it means you haven’t truly embraced this part of the commitment you said you’d make. You’re still keeping your options open. You’re still open to the advice of going back to the start again and again and never going the distance with anyone.
And so when she or he starts to put on weight, or loses weight and gets fitter, when they change their occupation, when you know every inch of her body and you watch the inches change over time, when you think for some reason you’re the one who is more attractive and you haven’t changed at all, when you think you know everything about them and no longer celebrate any of the dimensions you once were amazed by, you go looking for it.
…But you said you’d already found it.
And because the standard of beauty still hasn’t changed, you’ll just go and do it all over again.
Or you’ll belittle her. Take her for granted. Look for something on the side while you say you’re dedicated and loving. You may even be the reason why she thinks she’s not beautiful.
I think the example to aspire to is the one set forth in the Song of Songs. A husband truly enamored with his wife. Go on, read it and tell me you don’t feel either comparatively sick or intimidated by how constant his praise and adoration is for the one he loves relative to how we are taught in our society.
His praise is so constant and so repetitive that all the insecurities his wife mentions at the start of the passage with the state of her teeth and the colour and state of her skin have evenetually faded away and by the end of it, when her family questions her appearance, she boldly declares that when her lover sees her, he will be satisfied. What a change.
In her own words, she became in his eyes as one who finds peace.
Also worth noting it is also vice versa. We really love the idea of one way pursuit, but lifelong love is a two way street featuring an ever escalating pursuit of the other.
One of the secrets of lifelong love is this constant state of appreciation, or as Pastor John Burns regularly counsels – “stay amazed“.
The apostle Paul also repeats a similar recommendation to husbands in his writings to Ephesus – to love their wives and “wash her with the word”. It’s a somewhat strange description but also quite a beautiful picture of the example set before us, that we are to speak it out and over and over to help move through all the insecurities in her and in us until we’re left with ourselves in our purest forms.
So I ask you – if your wife isn’t your standard of beauty, who is? Is it the idea that you always need to have the first virginity busting experience every single time with someone in order to stay engaged and interested and enamored? Is it the temptation of all the other women or men out there who you could have had instead? The illusion of choice is one of the biggest distractions to success in any area of life, and especially in the area of love. The truth is all those people you think are options to you really aren’t.
Is it that you haven’t actually learned how to appreciate someone over the long haul? That you haven’t yet properly thought through the reality that you chose this person for life. You chose them in their 20s, and in their 30s, and in their 40s, and in their 50s, and beyond. You chose them as their appearance starts to drift from their youth into their matured form. You chose them as the seasons of life take their toll, the sleeplessness and life change of parenting and career changes and house moves and losses of loved ones leave their marks, as the one who dreamed dreams has to negotiate what their dreams look like as their seasons have changed and continue to change.
But if you can make the one that you say you love your standard of beauty, your whole appreciation for life and the benefits of lifelong love will change. You will see the ways that your partner is actually increasing in beauty and not diminishing in it. You will not find yourself always tortured for choice and feeling stuck.
Your life partner will be exactly that – a partner, for life. What a true privilege and honour to have.
And instead of leaving behind a trail of people you continue to hurt and disappoint, you can instead leave behind you a legacy of love for all those looking on to follow.
Make your wife, your husband, your loved one your standard of beauty today.