Why I feel being told I’m beautiful is a second-rate compliment from a husband

I never gave much thought to beauty when I was a kid or tween or teen. I didn’t care if someone thought I was beautiful. Beauty didn’t represent much to me. Male attention didn’t represent much to me. I was too busy climbing trees, reading books, memorizing facts, and trying to beat the boys in cross-country races. I was too busy hanging with my friends. I felt pretty neutral about my physical appearance. I just didn’t think about it too much.

Other compliments would have meant much more than “you’re beautiful.” When a teacher complimented my writing or a friend my kindness or a boy my sense of humor…those are the things that made me glow.

But sometimes, I find myself looking in the mirror with a wild, raging desire to be beautiful. Especially over the last year. Only recently have I found myself asking why. Only recently have I asked when and why that changed. Only recently have I asked what hearing the phrase represents to me now.

I realized it represents security. I realized it represents worthiness of love. I realized that it represents assurance that he will stay and that he doesn’t regret his decision. It represents that I don’t have to feel threatened by “the other woman” because my (future) husband thinks I’m beautiful and beauty apparently matters a lot to men.

Right now, it seems only the beautiful get chosen.

Which begs the question: Do we only desire to be told that we’re beautiful…because it reassures us that we’re loved? I scroll through that Christian man’s Facebook photos, and every single one is captioned with “my beautiful wife.” There are no other adjectives.

I want my husband to think I’m beautiful, too, but truth-be-told, that feels like a second-rate compliment. I wouldn’t need you to tell me I was beautiful in order to feel secure if you were already telling me that I’m important to you. That you love what makes me, me. Hearing my physical appearance complimented wouldn’t reassure me that you’ll stay as much as you telling me that you think it’s attractive when I’m encouraging a child or using my gifts.

I will know that you value me…even if cancer takes my hair away. Even if steroids make me gain weight. Even if I’m the victim in an accident.

Here’s the thing:

When I’m uncertain about whether I’m desired for my personality, I desire beauty.

When women are uncertain about whether they’re desired or still desired for their personality, they desire beauty.

Here’s the other thing:

Nothing unleashes God as when half the country spends as much time on their knees as they do their beauty routine.

I would like to know from time-to-time that my physical appearance gives a man that I love pleasure. But I don’t want my worth to start or end with beauty.

I intend to spend more time refining my gifts than priming my pores. I don’t see my primary purpose in life to look flawless. That falls below letting God change me and use me to show people a God who is real and loves them to death.

Men, if you love a woman…we get it. It may have started with appearance. It may have started with beauty. Certainly affirm that. But you have to be honest and specific about personality, too. And please be willing to not overlook friendship and/or relationship with women who aren’t a “10”

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