Image is Everything!

Kate says . . .

I think almost all wives will admit that they struggle with their physical appearance or have at one time in their lives, this topic probably hits home for most wives. How much do we care what society says about how we look as woman and wives? What does the Bible say about physical appearance? What truly matters?

These are all great questions that most of us have asked ourselves at some point or another.

Which voices do we listen to?

  • The voice that says, “You will never be good enough or desirable until you look like a model.”
  • Or the voice that says, “God made you and loves you just the way you are.”

I think sadly we are going about figuring this out in the wrong way. It is similar to how we think about our relationship with Jesus, we tend to think that we need to be all cleaned up and doing well, before we can go to Jesus. The message Jesus preached was exactly opposite. He asked that we follow Him no matter what our lives look like, then through Him we are cleaned up. Yes, we have to do a lot of cleaning up once we follow him. But it is through Jesus strength, peace and grace that we can get there. Without those, we will always fail.

It is the same way with how we feel about ourselves and how we look. We want to lose weight and exercise regularly, thinking that when we look fantastic we will finally feel good about ourselves and we will finally feel beautiful. Yet we are stuck! The extra pounds just don’t seem to come off, no matter how much we starve ourselves and no matter how much we try to workout, it doesn’t seem to help. We have trouble with consistency and beat ourselves up for not sticking with it. Then we feel awful and don’t have the energy or motivation to change. So we just hang out in our frumpy sweatpants all day.

I have to say that I have been there ladies. Especially after I gave birth to our two biological kids. Those were hard times! I did not like they way my body had changed and shifted and gained excess pounds.  Then God spoke to me heart, telling me that he always sees me as beautiful, and . . . I accepted it! Then and only then did I start to have a healthy, happy view of myself, my physical self and everything else. That is when I started loving myself, the way God wanted me to, the way He loves me. It was after this that I wanted a healthy lifestyle and had the motivation to get there. It was after this that I began to exercise regularly and take good care of myself. I wanted to be a stronger, healthier version of myself so that I could serve God at my best. I wanted to serve God by having time and energy for my hubby. I wanted to be able to feel energized and enjoy physical activity with my hubby, including sex! I wanted Brad to see and experience me as a confident woman, in the bedroom and in all things God has called me to.

So how do we get to a place where we love who we are?

Be Reasonable

The reality is ladies, that we tend to set our standards on things that are just not realistic. Looking at women in the media and comparing ourselves is only going to hurt and keep you in the cycle of dread about your physical appearance. In the same way, comparing yourself to others in your life is also unrealistic, simply because God created us all to be beautifully unique individuals. Instead of looking at others, look at yourself. Know where you should be as person. What is a healthy weight?  Not what society says but what you know to be healthy for yourself. How much exercise and activity do you need? How do you look when you are taking care of yourself? Think about these questions and set you standards from there. Not from any other standards!

Be Motivated by God

I believe that God wants all of us to be happy, healthy and active. He wants us to love ourselves and care for ourselves. Just as we would not neglect the health of our children or family, we should not neglect our own health.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says: “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.”

This is one of the most common verses shared when we talk about how we should treat our physical self. The better you care for yourself, the more you can do for God’s kingdom. Nothing done in excess is healthy for your body. We hear all the time that overeating regularly is bad for us! But on the other hand, crazy amounts of exercise are also not what God asks. When we focus or allow ourselves to become fully immersed in anything, our focus shifts from God’s purpose to our own. God wants us to do all things in balance as they are appropriate to our individual bodies.  Be motivated that God wants all of us to take care of ourselves, he wants it to be an individual, spiritual walk with Him. While we can seek advice and help from experts and those around us, ultimately it is between you and God.

Be Healthy and Active!

I have always known that I feel best physically and emotionally when I am active. Although there were many years, I did nothing about being active! I try my best to eat healthy and I run three times a week. I also enjoy certain food that are not good in excess, but I still enjoy them here and there. Depriving yourself always, gives me the potential for falling off the wagon big time. God wants us to enjoy the things he has blessed us with, including food. But food is mainly to give us energy and keep us going. As for exercise, I know that I need to work out three times a week, to feel good and strong. I don’t do more then that! I may do physical things with my kids and family, but I do not work out any more then that. There are also times where I miss a day here and there, I don’t beat myself up and make myself run twice as far the next time. I just move on and work out the next time. For me it is all about being healthy and active, yet setting proper boundaries in all things.

Look Good for Who You Are Supposed to Look Good For!

When I was still a young bride, a wise wife shared with me that it is important to be looking good for your hubby when he comes home. We all have our days where comfy clothes are the best, but they should not be ALL the time. Yes, it is wonderful to hang out in sweats with your hubby and know that he thinks you are super sexy no matter what. But baggy sweats are just not all that attractive when worn on a daily basis. Spend time taking care of yourself daily so that you will catch your hubby’s eye when he comes home. Wear clothing that is flattering to your figure, things that make you feel sexy and confident. I have no doubt your hubby will thank you for your efforts. Your dress should fit your personality. For me, I am a jeans and t-shirts kinda girl. So while I do enjoy dressing up for Brad, most days I am in nice jeans and nice figure flattering shirts. You know what, he loves me that way because that is truly me.

If you met me you may not think that I am what society says I “should be”.  But I am happy with me and I will continue to have balance in my life.   I want to enjoy life while being everything God wants me to be.  I believe that is what the Bible supports and society resists.  As hard as it is to shut out society’s thoughts on what you should look like, it is essential to being who you are.  Throw out society’s vision and start a conversation with God about what he desires for you.

Then listen!  Hear what God places on your heart. It is through that love, that you can find the healing and healthy life you have always wanted!

I believe I am beautiful.  I believe I am beautiful in my hubby’s eyes and in God’s.  No other opinion matters.

Wives, share with us how you have overcome societies pressures and embraced who God created you to be physically!

 

As God was writing this post on my heart, He was also working in the hearts of a dear friend and marriage blogger along the same lines.  Lori shares from her heart and I know many of us wives out there can relate!  Take some time and read Lori’s post, In Their Eyes.

8 Responses to Image is Everything!
  1. Scott Means
    October 24, 2011 | 10:13 am

    Fantastic post, Kate.  Very, very important. Shame over appearance is maybe one of the biggest roadblocks to sexual intimacy. Thanks for encouraging wives to take a healthy self-view.

    • Brad & Kate Aldrich
      October 26, 2011 | 7:11 pm

      Hey Scott! God has been writing this post on my heart for quite sometime and it is my hope that wives out there will see how truly beautiful they are. They are more precious then rubies. As always thanks for your encouragement!

      Please go check out Scott’s marriage blog, it is amazing and we respect him greatly!
      http://www.surrenderedmarriage.org/

  2. [...] post “Image is Everything” was a great challenge to wives on how to make sure they are “looking good for who they [...]

  3. GC
    October 26, 2011 | 7:08 pm

    I encourage every wife who is feeling stressed about her body to become physically active on a regular basis (almost every day!).  You don’t have to go to the gym or take classes, just start doing something that works for you – walking, exercise DVDs, yoga, anything to get your body moving for at least 30 minutes a day.  If you don’t have large chunks of time (and most wives don’t) begin working it into your schedule – a 15-minute walk while the kids are at soccer practice, a 30-minute workout on Saturday, whatever you can do.   Wear a pedometer and try to accumulate at least 10,000 steps per day (most people accumulate 4,000-6,000).  Regular physical activity provides benefits that are unmatched by almost anything else you can do for yourself.  If you need to lose weight, begin improving your diet too – but don’t make too many changes at once.  Just introduce healthy changes gradually, one or two at a time.

    • Brad & Kate Aldrich
      October 26, 2011 | 7:40 pm

      Hi GC! Thanks for writing! These are great ways to get up and get movin! Thanks for sharing! Blessings to you! Kate

    • Evan
      November 7, 2011 | 3:02 pm

      That’s a great idea, but then what if arthritis prevents walking or most anything else?

      • Brad & Kate Aldrich
        November 10, 2011 | 2:44 pm

        Hi Evan,
        Thanks for writing and sharing! I would encourage anyone who has physical limitations to be creative and do what they can. Try not to give in to giving up. Find ways to be active that work for you. I am no expert on arthritis, but perhaps going to a pool? Do some research on the internet, read books, find ways to keep yourself as active as you can. Also and most importantly, cry out to God! Tell Him of your desire to be active despite your limitations. I believe God will open doors for you. Blessings to you and your spouse!

  4. Plagued by Physical Rejection
    January 2, 2014 | 5:51 am

    Hi Kate,

    I would like to first thank you for creating this open space for much needed discussions about sex within marriage.

    I recently celebrated my 23rd birthday and have struggled since my teen years with issues of body image and self-esteem. These issues were not unfounded. I suffered from several eating disorders when younger—from anorexia, to exercise addition, to overeating. As a result of the wide fluctuation in body mass that occurred from these disorders, my body is in what I would consider a “deformed” state. Because I view myself in this light, I feel strongly that I am not and will not be attractive to my future spouse, if it is God’s will that I marry.

    Although I am often told that men can be attracted to much more than physical appearance, I know that this is still key in a successful marriage. I would love the companionship accompanying marriage, but I fear that this will not be possible because of my physical appearance. (I cannot bear the thought of being touched or seen without clothing.)

    I fear that even if my future spouse felt a degree of physical attraction to me, this will quickly dissipate once he sees me in the nude. I could not bear the rejection of not being a “whole woman” and would always feel that I had tricked him into marrying me because he was not able to fully appreciate the state of my body. I would never want my husband to experience sexual frustration for my iniquities.

    And, of course, I would inclined to think that the he is tempted by other women, enough even to commit adultery, if we are not having sex with each other.

    Ultimately, I think I’m asking if it’s possible to have a solid marriage where both parities agree that a physical relationship is not top priority. Can a marriage be entirely built around companionship?

    Not to generalize, since all men are different, but do you believe there would be a Christian man willing to even engage such a notion?

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