What Husbands Wish Their Wives Understood About Their Own Bodies

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A man designed my bathroom. I know it. How do I know this? Because a woman would never think to put a massive mirror right outside the shower door. I caught myself glancing in the mirror yesterday as I stepped out of the shower. I stopped for a moment and took in my reflection—something I don’t often do. I won’t lie—seven children and 44 years has taken a toll on my body. A wave of insecurity washed over me as looked in the mirror. I didn’t like what I saw.

Stretch marks. A lot of them. My legs show signs of aging. My tummy. Ugh. Don’t get me started. Things aren’t where they used to be. No doubt about it: I  won’t be a cover girl for “Shape” magazine anytime soon.

God’s word echoed in my heart. “He has made everything beautiful in its time.”

In its time. (“My time has come and gone,” I thought.)

Believe me when I say I’ve had this conversation many times with my husband over our nearly twenty-five years of marriage. I’ve told him how embarrassed I feel at the sight of “me” and it’s turned into a classic “he said/she said,”  because I’m here to tell you, Jay says that on this issue, he speaks for men in general—and he thinks we women have it wrong.

I’ve had the opportunity to talk with many men on this topic, as my husband and I often do marriage workshops together, and almost across the board, in healthy marriages (where porn, especially, is not an issue) women are grappling with a lot more than men wish we would.

The way we see ourselves as wives is a big deal to our husbands. We may see dimples on our thighs or sagging breasts—but they see thighs and breasts! It’s true!

Most husbands we’ve asked say that they don’t even notice the flaws in their wife’s body. They just want to be wanted! Women don’t have to be overweight to struggle with their self-esteem in this area, either. Some of the most beautiful women I know struggle to be intimate with their husbands because of—you guessed it—body image.

It’s a sensitive topic, isn’t it? I would venture to guess that I’m not alone in my struggle with the full-length mirror—but I’m learning something: It’s an intimacy robbing, joy-stealing lie, this belief that our husbands want us to look like the women we see gracing the covers of magazines.

Why why why is our culture so obsessed with being skinny? I’ll tell you why: because on some level, we believe it. We believe being skinny is the ideal, too.

I thank God for the perspective my husband brings to this tender topic, because he always brings me back to reality. He recently said, “Since when has it been unattractive to have hips? Since when does ‘attractive’ only fit inside a size 6 pair of pants?”  God’s original intent was that we would be one flesh with our husband—without that shame and embarrassment that the world has put upon us.

The flip side of this, of course, is the woman who feels too skinny, too flat-chested or too “boyish” to be beautiful. Here’s a secret: a good husband doesn’t want you to be flawless; he wants you to want him. It’s true! Ask.

Are you enjoying the body God has given you? Are you finding joy, delight—and pleasure in your body when you are with your husband? If not, you’re missing out on something amazing.

Be encouraged today as you’re thinking about your relationship with your husband— especially if you struggle in this area. God’s design and intent for marriage is that the sexual relationship between a husband and wife would be a fulfilling one—not just for him, but for YOU!

I’ve written about this before and I’ll say it again— sex is about more than just making babies. Herbert Miles said, “God created the one flesh experience to be the most intense height of physical intimacy and the most profound depth of spiritual oneness between a husband and wife.” The sexual relationship that you have with your husband is precious.

Don’t allow the world to define it for you.

If you’re struggling in this area, here are five very simple, practical things you can do right now to begin to enjoy  your body, flaws and all:

Communicate with your husband about how you’re feeling. Ask him for his perspective and let him know exactly what you are struggling with.

Be real with your girlfriends. My husband sometimes cringes when I tell him I’ve talked to my best girlfriends about intimate issues. “You talked to her about that?” My answer? “YES I DID! And she helped me gain a right perspective!”

Take care of your body. You only have one. Take care of it. You are worth 30 minutes of exercise a day. If you need to, get up earlier—but make this  a priority. Eat right. You’ll feel better about your body when you like what you see.

Stop comparing yourself to others. We are all different. Different body shapes. Different figures. Be the best YOU that you can be.

Take a risk in the bedroom. Every woman’s idea of “risky” is different—but if you’re hiding under a flannel nightgown every night, it might be time to stop doing that. My hunch is that if you’ve got a good man, he’s going to love the idea of you… naked and unashamed … passionately in pursuit of his affections.

Enjoy your body! Love your husband—and let him love you.

You’re beautiful, busy mom—inside and out.

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Heidi
Heidi St. John has been married to her husband Jay since 1989. Together they have seven children from toddler to adult and have homeschooled all the way through high school. A favorite conference and radio speaker, Heidi approaches marriage and parenting with humor and grace. Her passion to encourage moms and set them free to be who God has created them to be will bless and encourage you.
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7 Responses to What Husbands Wish Their Wives Understood About Their Own Bodies

  1. Anonymous says:

    But what if he’s not interested in you? I’m not unfit……I struggle with self image, not because I don’t like what I see in the mirror, but because my husband doesn’t desire me. Not even seeing me naked turns him on. This is what he told me. Ever since then every
    shred of confidence I had is gone. And I’m the one who usually has to initiate. He says it’s not because I’m ugly or boring. He says he feels useless. I feel useless too, and depressed. We are in our early thirties, with four children. Perhaps this shouldn’t bother me so

    much, but I feel like it’s killing me.
    shred of conference

    • Donna Taylor says:

      Dear Anonymous,

      I would love to talk with you. (donna.m.taylor@gmail.com) I feel very badly for your situation and I will pray for you. I know God can heal this.

      Don’t give up. Love him and show him that you care for him and want him and need him. Ignore what he says and be joyful and have fun with him.

      Know that you are loved and desired and that God gave your husband to you to love and desire you. And he will. And we will rejoice together over the miracle.

      Call me. 203-926-1226

  2. Suzannah says:

    It sounds like the real problem is not that your husband is not attracted to you but that he is struggling with his own self image. I find that if I am feeling useless, the best remedy is to find someone in need like at a nursing home, or a shut in. You could volunteer your time at a homeless shelter or countless other places where there is so much need. By doing this, you take your eyes off of yourself and put them on someone that is in a worse situation and make their life a little better. It works for me every time. You begin to feel very needed and useful. I wish the best for your family!

  3. Amber says:

    Thank you, Heidi! I struggle, too. (Though I’m not one to compare with others– my hangup is comparing myself to what I used to be, and not being happy with where I am now.) Even if I lost some unhealthy weight, I still need to accept the realistic journey of getting older, and remind myself that my husband doesn’t care about wrinkles and stretch marks. It’s funny because I don’t give a second thought to my husband’s graying, balding or wrinkling… I love him more than I ever have!! Why am I so hard on myself?? We can be so hard on ourselves.

  4. Kela says:

    This has been my conversation with my husband for a couple of years and with each of these events, he makes me feel more lovely! You’re so right! We see/think things of our bodies that our husbands don’t focus on!
    My man told me two nights ago as we were going to bed, “Every time I lay next to you, I feel like we’re 20 again!”
    *swoon! He wins my heart daily. He sees *ME*…all of me!!

  5. Kelly says:

    My husband does NOT simply accept me and love my body. There are conditions, and like another person said, those conditions affect confidence. I never struggled with self image until I met him (we have both been married before) and now there is no self image.

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