I was 20 and engaged to the love of my life when I asked him a silly question. “If I get fat will you still love me?”
“I’ll still love you, but I won’t lust for you,” he replied.
And for 21 years I felt grateful for his honesty. I thought most men wouldn’t be so open and up front with their wives.
And for 21 years I tried very hard to keep my body attractive to him, to remain a woman he could lust for.
Until the day he confessed to me his one-night stand with a friend of mine, and his ongoing affair with another friend. And I wondered in confusion, “How could he no longer find this body of mine attractive?”
What a struggle I’ve had over the years to remain desirable to my husband! I’ve conceived and given birth to the three most amazing gifts this world will receive. I nurtured them and breast-fed them and stayed home with them to mother and love and watch them grow and become their unique selves.
But I would look in the mirror at my swollen pregnant belly or my inevitable stretch marks or my engorged and, later, sagging breasts and conclude that I wasn’t desirable. I didn’t fit the standards of being lust-worthy. And so I managed to get through that stage of my body changes and as quickly as possible “whip” my body back into “shape.” And nearing 40, I looked again in the mirror at my aging self and concluded I needed to be strong. I needed more muscle. I needed to get in better shape so that my workaholic husband will look at me, will lust for me.
And I got into better shape. I felt muscle in my arms, noticed slight definition across my abs, pulled my body up to the bar in a first ever pull-up.
And he noticed. He encouraged, he bragged, he grabbed.
but it wasn’t enough.
Because he turned his attention to someone else. To more than one someone else.
That honest message he gave me all those years ago now just sounds selfish. He, in essence, was placing a standard on me. He was requiring me to look at myself through his tainted glasses.
But my beauty is inherent. My desirability is based on the fact that I’m a woman, not on my shape or size.
I accompanied my sister recently to her job site. She works from home, but often drives to the “yard” to deliver paychecks to the hale and hearty crew of men who spend their days working outdoors. I sat in the car and watched her interact with the crew. Every man there noticed her. Every eye watched her move her beauty across the muddy site. How could they not notice? Her glorious smile, her fresh femininity in size 14 jeans, her beautiful curves. They noticed. And I noticed. But she was just being her sweet womanly self as she chatted with the guys and gave them their hard-earned paychecks. She graced their work site with her beauty for a few moments and then left, and every man there was aware of the gift.
And I realized that I am beautiful, too, because I am a woman. I’ve been carefully fashioned by One who is beauty Himself and he made me beautiful.
I stood in front of the mirror this morning after stepping from the shower and looked at sagging breasts and stretch marks and poochy belly and aging skin…and I saw beauty. I noticed curves and softness and the glory of a woman’s form. My beauty is simply who I am, and not dependent on the eyes of the beholder.