Okay, I promised myself I was not going to rant about this, but it doesn’t look like I am going to keep that promise…
I am tired. Tired of hearing that in order to get a ‘good, Christian husband’ a woman needs to ‘take care of herself’ (meaning her appearance). She needs to be thin, wear make-up, do her hair and dress well. This is so not God’s list!
First, let’s look at a few of the ‘good Christian wives.’ (Ok, they were actually Jewish, but you get the point.
Jacob met Rachel by a well. She had been tending sheep all day. She had been tending stinky sheep in a hot desert area. Yeah, I’m sure she looked her best…
and probably smelled great…
Zipporah, Moses’ wife. When they first met she had been tending sheep as well. Stinky, furry sheep.
Rebekah. When Abraham’s servant came to the well, she had been tending … Do I hear a ‘baa?’ That’s right. This girl had been tending sheep! And, what God told the servant to look for was a girl that would water the camels- all of them. God wanted a hard-worker for Isaac. ‘Raving beauty that pampers herself’ was not on the list! (Though it does seem that being a shepherdess may be the best way to get a good man! –You never hear that preached.)
Ruth met Boaz while working in his field. She was living in a cave with her mother-in-law. Likely not the best place to get a mani-pedi. What attracted Boaz was that she took care of her mother-in-law and worked hard. (There’s that stinking good-work-ethic thing again!)
The woman in Song of Solomon apologizes because she has been working in the field and has not been able to tend to her own vineyard (take care of her appearance). Yet she becomes the king’s beloved!
Esther goes through a year’s worth of beauty treatments, true- but this is at the behest of a pagan king who kidnaps beautiful women for his harem. This is not God’s ‘perfect plan.’ This is a horny dude who is making sure his harem is not only beautiful, but also not pregnant with someone else’s kid and is disease-free. STDs will not be taking down this king, nor will someone else’s son be sitting on this king’s throne. So while they wait to be absolutely sure, the girls are made pretty and trained to please the king (sexually). (I have noticed the year of sex training is often left out when people preach that this is the way to do things. Not that it is an overly bad idea, but that is another rant for another time.) The point here is that this is not the godly way to do things- but it is used as an example to tell women to ‘pretty up,’ ‘cause Esther did. Esther was a ‘sex-slave.’ Is this really what we are aspiring to? And, the reason we are given for Esther’s remarkable rise to power is her attitude. She won favor with the king because she was smart enough to listen to the instructions that the harem master gave her. Her wisdom, not her beauty won her the crown.
The point: Even in Proverbs 31 there is more about being hard working, and of godly character than there is about looking good. Is it wrong to look good? No. Many godly women were blessed with beauty, but it is not the primary thing God says to look for in a spouse. Scripture tells us that beauty fades, but a wife of noble character is worth more than rubies (a fortune)!
So why does this upset me so much? Because I see wonderful, Christian girls trying to be ‘perfect’ and ‘beautiful’ in ways that are counter-productive. God’s plan for them did not involve a 25 inch waist and a C-cup. Does this mean they are not lovable? No! There are men who marry them who would die twice for them if possible. Why? Because they possess character traits that are so much more impressive. They know how to love deeply. They are faithful. They have a sense of humor that always lightens his day. Etc. etc.
There are also men who do not want porcelain dolls. They want a woman who will hike, camp and fish with them even when showers are not available. They want to make love in the middle of the day without worrying about messing up her hair and make-up. They want to wake up in the morning and go without waiting for someone to ‘put her face on.’ They want a companion. Not someone to look at, but someone to live life with, a life that does not involve making sure someone’s hair is just so, or no one chips a nail.
I have also seen men of awesome character when their wives are ill, burned hurt or scarred. They do not care if they have to forego sex, or if she will never be beautiful again. They care that she is still alive, and in their life. One of the most touching scenes was after a hideous car accident. The wife was scarred badly- and I mean badly. The husband, a Nascar fan, comes in and she shows him the damage. His response, ‘You know I always wanted a wife with racing stripes.’ Now there’s a man for you! He is not focused on his wife being ‘hot,’ but on her knowing that he will love her no matter what. (It still brings tears to my eyes thinking about them…)
So is it wrong to like to dress up and look good? No, not at all. And some men really want that in a wife. If your husband loves seeing you look your best, by all means dress up. Just don’t try to force the rest of us to do so.
Me. I live in the extreme. My husband is practical to a fault. Proof: the man asked me never to shave again. That’s right. He likes hairy legs! Why? Because stubble hurts and he wants to have pain-free sex whenever we want. (How’s that for TMI?) The irony- the women who preach ‘submission’ and ‘male-headship’ the strongest are the ones who hate this the most! Even though I am ‘obeying’ my husband! Why? Because it is typically not about actually obeying your husband, but about conforming to their rules. Conformity. It makes them comfortable. Truth: God made me so different in the way I process information and look at the world that I could never ‘fit in’ with these ladies anyways. Unfortunately many of us sit outside their tightly drawn lines. Thankfully there are men who are not looking for the ‘norm,’ but for the unique creation that fits them well enough to be called a ‘wife that surpasses them all’ (at least in his mind).