What Our Brothers in Christ Have to Say about External Beauty/Body Image

Posted on April 28, 2013 by


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It can be really confusing for women because we get so many messages from the media and other women and even men sometimes that we must look like a swimsuit model in order to attract men.  I don’t believe that is actually true.  But what would be really helpful, in my view, is if some Christian single men might be able to comment on this topic so that the women can understand how men really feel and not be enslaved to the pressure of the world to have artificial external beauty.

1. Is it possible for Christian men to be attracted to real women who are not airbrushed, who have not had surgery, who may not be “perfect” in the eyes of the world?  And if so, could you elaborate on that, please?

2. Men appreciate their girlfriends/wives dolling themselves up a bit for them.  But how far does this need to go?  Do you expect a girl you date/marry to work out for 1 hour 7 days/week?  Do you expect her to be on an extremely strict diet?  Do you expect her to never look like she ages at all or you will lose all attraction towards her?  What if she gains 10 or 20 pounds after having children?  How affected to you think you might be?

3. Some women take being thin or “perfect” to extremes and become obsessed with exercise or not eating or with purging (anorexia, bulimia, etc).  What do you think when you see a woman who abuses her body like that in order to attempt to achieve some kind of physical perfection?  Would you want to date a woman with issues like this – why or why not?  What would you say to your Christian sisters who believe that no man would ever be attracted to them unless they go to such extremes?

4. If a girl you wanted to marry didn’t have proportions that are socially acceptable – would you insist on her having surgery to try to look more attractive?  Why or why not?

**  If you are a woman who suffers from anorexia/bulimia or other severe body image/food issue – please talk to your doctor immediately!  These are extremely dangerous (sometimes fatal) addictions.  There is every reason for hope in Christ if you are willing to seek help.

 HERE ARE SOME CHRISTIAN SINGLE MEN’S ANSWERS:

MAN #1

1. Yes. I believe feminine mannerisms are infinitely more important.

2. I wouldn’t want any woman to do anything unhealthy for herself. That includes things like high heels and makeup that has any kind of toxic chemicals. I’m told some makeup is not unhealthy to wear. Your description of diet and exercise sounds like ME (down to the amount of exercise I try to get), and along with the principles of being *healthy*, yes I believe diligent care should be taken to take care of our bodies and men and women both need to do so. Unhealthy=unattractive (or less attractive) and it’s an understandable reaction either direction.

3. Once again, I would have her be as ideally healthy as possible–just like *I* try to be ideally healthy as possible. That shouldn’t be an “extreme” expectation, and maybe some men are different, but I would also consider the matter as “taking care of her as I would my own body.” If I gain too much weight, I take care of my body; I look at *myself* and say “get to the gym and fix your diet.” I’d do the same with a wife.

4. No. Yet again, the rule is healthy and unless there’s some kind of deformity that threatens health, no way. People are at liberty to have their preferences to appearances but when you’re married, you become one, and you’re both setting out to be as good-looking and all-around fulfilled as God made your specific design potential to become. Be beautiful to the maximum effect that God made you, specifically, to be uniquely beautiful.

MAN #2

1. First of all….God made you. Not the media. Not what’s popular on TV. Not the latest fashion trend. Not what other women say to you, or men for that matter concerning appearance. God made you in His image.

Second, a real man of God is instructed to concern himself on spiritual matters; and that would include a search for a girlfriend / wife.

Thirdly, a real man of God KNOWS that most women don’t look like someone out of a magazine, or movie. The ones that do? Sure they’re around, but remember physical beauty of youth fades. During my drinking, high-wire days in San Francisco I met the actress Liv Tyler in person at her peak of popularity. Partied with her as well. You wanna know something? She looks nothing like she did in the magazines back in the late 1990′s. Actually she was very average, like the rest of us! She was friendly, but seemed a little surprised because I wasn’t “drooling” all over her because of her fame. Those magazines, TV shows, movies, and music videos are very, very deceptive. Lastly on this one, perfection. Only God is perfect. An inner Christian beauty and confidence in Him on a woman that I find attractive makes my knees buckle ;-) as it should. Now…just getting her to take notice of me! ;-)

2. We all grow older, and that expectation is not fair. A person should do the best they can to keep themselves up, but people age too. That is why you men need to find a woman who is secure in the Lord.

3. On this one…the woman may need some professional Christian based counseling. A Godly woman will know what her limits are, and what they are not. No woman wants to see her husband let himself go either, but there are healthy and realistic limits to take this to. Husbands and wives need to uplift each other. I mean, even with Christian pop / rock stars today, there are some “worldly” behaviors I see in their appearances that probably are not the healthiest thing to be portraying.

4. NO! Say it again……NO!

MAN #3

Much of the issue behind these questions requires a change in attitude of the women involved, especially since most polls indicate that women care about and value more the compliments from women more than men, even their own husbands (81%). If you look to Scripture, it seems the only ones that a woman needs to worry about are God and her husband, and men aren’t that picky compared to women, so women really take the idea of outer appearance and turn it into a rod for their own backs. As for your questions:

1. Most certainly, yes. The key thing for women (physically) is to just take care of themselves well. That said, your mental state and your spiritual state will reflect on your outer appearance and how well you take care of yourself. The estimates of most men are that 50-70% of the women they meet (depending on the area) are “attractive enough”. The rest are just women that don’t take care of themselves well for some reason or another. But attractiveness is not just reflected in outer appearance but demeanor as well. A happy smiling woman who treats others well and that’s open to the world is much more attractive than the opposite.

2. Not necessarily. See #1. Appreciate when a woman can dress up and look nice every once in a while, but women do tend to take it much too far and turn it into a rod for their own backs. If you got to be dolled up and looking your best to go gardening, for instance, that’s too far.

3. The effects of turning beauty and perfection into a rod for your own backs. These women have self-esteem issues that would elicit other desires (and prayer) than wanting to date them. Other than that, see above. God doesn’t care about your outer appearance and men really don’t care *as much* as women do for most part.

4. Definitely not!

MAN #4

1. Yes! Oh, you want me to elaborate?
A feminine demeanor and attire go A LONG WAY towards attractiveness. Speaking as a Christian man, I do not subscribe to the Hollywood definition of attractive. In fact, I find much of that whole scene repulsive. So ladies… you can do a lot to endear yourselves to your husbands, or single women to guys you find interesting and attractive, by following Peacefulwife’s advice. This is not a shameless plug, but my sincere opinion.

2. Not necessarily. While physical appearance does matter, we can get past that (if we’re honest with ourselves we realize we have physical flaws ourselves) if she exudes a certain bit of feminine qualities.

3. In short, I tend to feel sorry for women like this and tend not to be attracted to women like this. My thoughts here have more to do with the sadness and concern I feel over her mental health than I do any physical attractiveness I may or may not have for her.

4. No. Why should I? I think it would be terribly rude of me to even suggest or ask and would fully expect to be dumped if I even brought up the subject!

This cannot be over-stated: “God gave women a more subtle kind of power than He gave men. But our power in romantic relationships is almost unimaginable to attract and draw our men towards us if we can tap into our abilities to use our immense verbal skills to build up our men, to praise them for everything we see that we appreciate and admire, and if we are willing to step down from the leadership role and become cheerful, joyful, prayerful, willing followers.”

There is SO MUCH in this paragraph (quoting from my post the other day on godly femininity) that, in my opinion, if women truly understood in a positive way, the whole “prince charming” ideal would be more real to them than they could ever imagine. We truly will respond in a very positive way.
You are so right when you call a woman’s ability to romantically attract a man “almost unimaginable.” Yes (speaking for myself) physical attraction is important. However, I have seen attractive women (physically speaking) who do nothing for me because of their behavior, and thus I wouldn’t approach them or ask them out on a date!
A feminine woman (this takes on more than just attire, but an attitude she exudes) who is receptive to conversation is much more attractive — at least to the kinds of godly, Christian men you counsel your readers to seek — than the pushy, aggressive woman who dresses simply to attract attention.

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