Keep your eyes on your prize

whatwomenwant_header_1Women blossom when cherished

by Sheila Wray Gregoire

Have you ever noticed how good looking forensic scientists are? I was unaware of this remarkable fact until a recent stay in a hotel allowed me to catch a few episodes of “CSI” (we don’t have a television at home). And while my initial thought was, “boy, that’s graphic,” my take-away was, “Wow, they’re all gorgeous.” Were I at a murder scene, I doubt I’d be wearing heels and a designer suit, let alone look like I just left the hairdresser’s. Apparently, though, when examining a corpse for foreign substances, mascara is a must.

I’m not sure if men truly appreciate how insecure women are about appearance. Sure, you’d like six-pack abs, and a full head of hair would be nice, but that’s nothing compared to all the hype women have to meet.

It starts as little girls, when we’re presented with our first Barbie. For those of you who did not have the opportunity to become intimately acquainted with her, she’s a mutant. Were she life size, she would be 44-12-22, and certain anatomical features, prominent on the upper half of her body, would prevent her from standing upright.

Yet as unrealistic as she is, many women berate themselves for not measuring up to something which is just about as unattainable: looking like TV forensic scientists, complete with perfect figures, flawless hair and poreless skin.

My husband feels rather perturbed when he sidles up to me at night and starts smooching, hoping to get a response, and then I rebuff him with, “Honey, I just feel so FAT tonight.” Keith wants me, so he obviously thinks I’m attractive. But if I don’t feel attractive, I can’t get in the mood.

Women are born with a deep-seated need to feel beautiful. It’s why little girls play dress-up and focus on princess dresses and tiaras. Yet it doesn’t take too long before our increasing dress sizes make us wish paper sacks were in style.

I know some of this is disappointing to you, because your wife may no longer be the bombshell you married. Gravity happens. But please know that she likely feels worse than you do about this. I believe one of a husband’s main roles, just as important as killing the bugs, is to make his wife feel beautiful.

Johnny Lingo, a Pacific Islander, understood this. A visiting missionary shared the story of meeting this remarkable husband. Johnny loved and wanted to marry Sarita, a woman who was rather plain. Her father wasn’t asking for much of a dowry. But Johnny bestowed eight cows upon his father-in-law anyway, paying a higher dowry for Sarita than any other woman on the island had earned.

His fellow islanders scorned him. Over the next few months, though, Sarita blossomed into a confident, stunning woman who walked with her head held high and her eyes sparkling.

Johnny explained to the missionary that when a woman receives a low dowry, she feels she isn’t worth anything. Johnny paid eight cows to show Sarita what she was worth to him. And she lived up to the billing.

I’m not suggesting you mortgage your house for your father-in-law’s benefit, but I do think Johnny knows something about women. We blossom when we feel valued and cherished; we wither when we don’t. It’s your role to show your wife you cherish her, just as Christ cherishes His bride. He doesn’t wait around to see if she is still beautiful; He makes her beautiful by how He treats her and cares for her.

I have been out eating with friends only to hear a husband chastise his wife for eating too much, or question her choice of menu item. I can guarantee that at that moment she doesn’t feel cherished. What a contrast with other couples where the husband can’t keep his hands to himself, as he constantly drapes his arm over her shoulders or kisses her hand. It’s quite obvious to everyone how much she is desired. Look in her eyes, and you’ll know she feels it, too.

One of my favourite passages in Proverbs that people mysteriously avoid reading at weddings is: “May her breasts satisfy you always; may you ever be captivated by her love” (5:19). God is saying to husbands: you’re to be captivated and satisfied…even if her breasts are hanging down to her navel. And you won’t be satisfied if you’re always checking out other women’s chests.

Chuck the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. Stop gazing at female passersby. Most of all, don’t even think about looking at porn. It will put a screeching halt to any desire you feel for your wife, and it will wreck her self-esteem, your spiritual life and your libido.

Keep your eyes on your wife. Cherish her. Long for her. Let her know you are captivated by her. And quit looking at forensic scientists, unless you want to meet one in rather unfortunate circumstances.


The article above was featured in the March 2010 issue of SEVEN magazine.