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Gaining God's View of Marital Beauty

Discussion in 'Singles (Only*)' started by Kirisutokyoo-shinja, Mar 14, 2011.

  1. Kirisutokyoo-shinja

    Kirisutokyoo-shinja Stage Ninja

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    Gaining God's View of Marital Beauty
    Marriage takes the raw force of sexuality and connects it with emotional intimacy, companionship, family responsibilities, and permanency of relationship. In doing so it provides a context that encourages spiritual growth by moving us to value character, virtue, and godliness over against an idealized physical form.

    To prepare for a part in a major motion-picture release in which nudity would be prevalent, an internationally famous actress spent up to five hours a day in a gym, working out with a personal trainer. All this would refine the body-enhancing surgery that had taken place earlier in her life. With enough time and money, and a professional hairdresser and makeup team, virtually any woman can "look good."

    I won't deny that one of the reasons I was first attracted to Lisa was because I thought she looked good. But what if looking good became Lisa's obsession? Does God think three hours a day in a gym, working feverishly against the realities of nature to preserve an adolescent stomach (with the hips of a mature woman and the breasts of a nursing mother), is a good and profitable use of time?

    Jesus' disciple Peter doesn't leave us to guess the answer. He says, quite explicitly, that women shouldn't focus on an external beauty that requires "outward adornment," but instead aspire after a beauty "of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight" (1 Peter 3:3-4).

    Notice that in their pursuit of beauty, wives are directed toward creating a beauty that is of great worth in God's sight. Husbands might focus on the wrong things, but Peter still urges wives to direct their lives toward' God's view of beauty. This instruction is crucial for a number of reasons.

    In C.S. Lewis's The Screwtape Letters, the demon Screwtape laments that Wormwood has allowed his man to get victory over sexual temptation. Screwtape's next step is this: "If we can't use his sexuality to make him unchaste we must try to use it for the promotion of a desirable marriage." Keep in mind here that "desirable" is from a demonic perspective, meaning "disastrous" from a Christian perspective. Referring to demonic hosts, Screwtape continues:

    "It is the business of these great masters to produce in every age a general misdirection of what may be called sexual "taste." This they do by working through the small circle of popular artists, dressmakers, actresses and advertisers who determine the fashionable type. The aim is to guide each sex away from those members of the other with whom spiritually helpful, happy, and fertile marriages are most likely...

    As regards to the male taste we have varied a good deal. At one time we have directed it to the statuesque and aristocratic type of beauty, mixing men's vanity with their desires and encouraging the race to breed chiefly from the most arrogant and prodigal women. At another, we have selected an exaggeratedly feminine type, faint and languishing, so that folly and cowardice, and all the general falseness and littleness of mind which go with them, shall be at a premium...

    And that is not all. We have engineered a great increase in the license that society allows to the representation of the apparent nude (not the real nude) in art, and its exhibition on the stage or the bathing beach. It is all a fake, of course; the figures in the popular art are falsely drawn; the real women in bathing suits...are actually pinched in and propped up to make them appear firmer and more slender than nature allows a full-grown woman to be...As are sult we are more and more directing the desires of men to something which does not exist - making the role of the eye in sexuality more and more important and at the same time making its demands more and more impossible. What follows you can easily forecast!"

    The Christian duty of married men is to reverse this propensity and make the "role of the eye in sexuality' less important as we embrace the spiritual reality of what is taking place. Sight will always matter to men - that's how God wired us - but we can become mature in what we long to see. Appetites can be cultivated. Different cultures enjoy different foods because the inhabitants have eaten such foods all their lives. My kids would wrinkle their noses if my wife dropped rice in front of them for breakfast; in China, children would look askew at a bowl of Cheerios.

    The same principle holds true for taste in sexual desirability. Different eras appreciate different shapes in women because of whatever happens to be in fashion. While today's supermodels lean toward waifishness (with adult-sized breasts but adolescent stomachs and thighs), an old Sanskrit word (gajagamini) describing the ten-ideal of female beauty in ancient India is literally translated "woman who has the gait of an elephant." History has not come up with the definitive beauty. The debate has never been resolved. What men and women obsess about, fantasize over, and concentrate on will shape what they desire. A godly marriage shapes our view of beauty to focus on internal qualities. The Holy Letter argues that when a man chooses a woman for her physical beauty alone, "the union is not for the sake of heaven." Beauty is wonderful, but it is not the only or even the highest value when we seek Christian marriage.

    A single woman is likely to face strong temptations to become the type of woman a man would want to marry - and that might very well compete with the type of woman who lives a responsible life before God. But single women know that men are attracted to a certain physical shape and so might be inclined to put more effort into changing physically than changing internally by growing in godliness. Marriage can set women free from this vain pursuit; once they are married, they can focus more intensely on the internal beauty that God finds so attractive.

    This is not to suggest that either men or women should shun the care of their physical bodies and become unfit. Keeping in good shape is a gift we can give to our spouse. But so is the grace of acceptance - particularly on the part of husbands - in recognition that age and (in the case of women) childbearing eventually reshape every individual body. Marriage helps to move men from an obsession over bodies "that do not exist" into a reconsideration of priorities and values.

    For instance, marriage calls us to redirect our desires to be focused on one woman or one man in particular rather than on society's view of attractive women or men in general. We men are married to women whose bodies we know intimately. And out of these bodies, our own children have been born. God gives us each other's bodies as gifts in which to delight. But in receiving our gift, we must not covet another's.

    On the day I was married, I began praying, "Lord, help me to define beauty by Lisa's body. Shape my desires so that I am attracted only to her." I knew from the book of Proverbs that I was to take delight in my wife, not in women in general. The writer says, "May you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer - may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be captivated by her love. Why be captivated, my son, by an adulteress? Why embrace the bosom of another man's wife?" (Proverbs 5:18-20).

    I cannot fully explain this without embarrassing my wife, so I'm going to speak generally. God has answered my prayer. The physical characteristics that distinguish my wife are the characteristics that I generally find most attractive in other women.

    But just as important is a wife who works on internal beauty, who makes the pursuit of sanctification an even greater pursuit than wanting to fit into a size-four dress. This is a beauty that never goes out of style.

    Married sexuality helps form us spiritually by shaping the priorities of what we value and hold in high esteem. Many of us don't realize how truly shallow this world and its values really are. A young man or woman can become ridiculously wealthy and incredibly famous - regardless of whether they are are person of character, high morals, or exemplary wisdom - if they're willing to disrobe in the latest Hollywood blockbuster. The net effect is that many people who aren't able to display one particular body type feel devalued.

    I'm convinced that, with God's Spirit within us, we can become enamored with the things that enamor God. By denying myself errant appetites and by meditating and feeding on the right things - including being "captivated" by my wife's love - I will train myself to desire only what is proper to be desired. This doesn't mean I can't appreciate another person's beauty. It does mean I can appreciate without obsessing. I can see without wanting to enter into a sexually or emotionally inappropriate relationship.

    Maturity demands that we adopt this view. Evelyn and James Whitehead put it so simply and powerfully: "When the body is love's only abode, change becomes an enemy." From a Christian perspective, change is not an enemy, but it is, in fact, the purpose of marriage - assuming that the change we desire is to become more holy. If my acceptance of my wife is based only on my feelings about her outward appearance rather than on her inner qualities, time will slowly but surely erode my affection.

    Those who live only for sexual pleasure and stimulation know only a very limited life -and probably experience a high degree of frustration as time inevitably takes its toll on their aging bodies. Those who find meaning and fulfillment not just in sexuality but in parenting their children, serving God, engaging in a consistent prayer life, and living virtuously have a much broader base from which to enjoy life. A thoughtful and godly marriage will move us in this direction."

    Excerpt from -
    Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy?
    [Kindle Edition]
    by Gary Thomas
     
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  2. MacFall

    MacFall Agorist

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    I don't see anything in the excerpt which which I disagree, but I take issue with the book's title. It seems to suggest a dichotomy between happiness and holiness. But I would say that if you aren't made happy by being holy, you're doing it wrong.
     
  3. Kirisutokyoo-shinja

    Kirisutokyoo-shinja Stage Ninja

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    The only problem with the title is stopping at the title.

    Such a dichotomy is not supported within the book's content so far (71% complete).
     
  4. MacFall

    MacFall Agorist

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    I figured it would. It just kind of bugs me because I know way too many Christians with the idea that you have to be miserable in order to be "holy".

    Anyway, that looks like a book I ought to read.
     
  5. Kirisutokyoo-shinja

    Kirisutokyoo-shinja Stage Ninja

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    I understand.

    The book - high on my recommendation list :)
     
  6. Nom De Guerre

    Nom De Guerre Who amongst you doesn't see life as permanent?

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    tl;dr

    If we were only meant to chase after women whom were never really that attractive to us, or were only moderately attracted to, I'd probably end up never married to be completely honest; doing kinda what I am now, moving from one potential girl to the other and only finding out that as things develop that they bore me...

    I've tried to date a woman/lady with lesser looks and more personality, there's no fire or passion in the relationship; and they become more of a hassle to be kept, and as it becomes unkept the more you realize that the further it goes the more you're going to hurt them... or, lol, at least that's been my experience.
     
  7. Supplanter

    Supplanter There is no charge for awesomeness.

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    Totally not trying to be hard on you, but perhaps you find you feel this way because you aren't yet where you need to be with God in terms of pursuing marriage. It's not that you can't or shouldn't be physically attracted, but it is about what your priority is and if only physical beauty gets you going or is what mostly gets you going, then you could be headed for disaster. A woman who offers no grace or mercy in a relationship or who is a nightmare no matter what she looks like.

    And I guess the question is, why do you find these women attractive or unattractive? Are you really seeing them as God sees them and would He not find it abhorrent for you to judge his Daughters in a way that He doesn't?

    There is no cellulite clause in a marriage covenant.
     
  8. MacFall

    MacFall Agorist

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  9. SullivanZ

    SullivanZ Seeking His Face

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    It's foolish to expect others to conform to what you think, by wanting them to date people they are unattracted to. :confused:

    If you want to eschew looks entirely and marry someone who you regard as unattractive, I can't stop you. Though I would caution it's a recipe for trouble. However, expecting everyone else to follow suit is pretty silly in my eyes.
     
  10. broken_one

    broken_one Fear is but something to be overcome.

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    Which is why if you're a horrible person like me, you need to find someone (also like me) who is dedicated toward eating right and being fit....that way you never have to worry about it. :)
     
  11. Obzocky

    Obzocky Senior Contributor

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    :ahah:

    If only you knew. The worry is still there, it's just not being actively pursued. Genetics, hormones, pregnancy, stress, smoking ... all can trigger the development of cellulite.

    It's so much more than a fatty issue.


    Anyway.



    I'll come back with a proper response to the OP
     
  12. broken_one

    broken_one Fear is but something to be overcome.

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    Yeah.....let's not talk about it. Right now I'd be that guy, so yeah.
     
  13. Nom De Guerre

    Nom De Guerre Who amongst you doesn't see life as permanent?

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    No, no, by all means share your opinion; I assure you that physical beauty is not the only thing that gets me going, but yes it's definitely a larger role in my overall attraction factor. I've always been greatly attracted to unique, fit, well curved, beautiful girls and I haven't really had too much trouble getting their attention in return. There have been many of the relationships which were awkward, difficult, but they would definitely offer me grace and mercy as well; and to assume that just because they're beautiful that they would not have a heart is a petty generalization, but I can definitely see where you're coming from. I've had ladies catch me off guard by the way they treat me and then by the way they treat others, which is why I broke off an engagement with an ex-fiancee; and without going into further detail, it was a tough decision but one I still maintain.

    Why do I find these women attractive, lol, well maybe it's the Alpha male in me, or maybe I just have different perceptions than you; either way, or whatever it is exactly, I'm always going to be attracted to a girl/lady/woman who keeps fit, maintains herself, and does it without difficulty or obsession.

    Am I seeing them as God sees them? Well I would never doubt His wisdom, and He's brought me to and through some very awesome relationships with women that I couldn't have been more proud to have in my life; and believe me, I've tried the whole 'give me your eyes Lord, so I can see everything I've been missing; give me your heart for humanity' thing in my past relationship, and that turned out just lovely [/sarcasm] lol I'm glad to give a relationship the 1 Corinthians 13 kind of love, but like I've said, when there's no passion or fire in the relationship for me, the girl becomes much more of a friend and then more of an acquaintance because I just lose the desire to need her in my life, want her in my life, and that's just plain unfair to both of us to stretch something far with the torture of 'well, I made the commitment so far so I'd better just keep going now' kind of thought and behavior; and it's not that I haven't tried that either, I was in another engagement many years ago now and the relationship was 3 years long.

    I understand that the honeymoon fades and once that is gone that there needs to be a firm decision and ground for the relationship to stand upon, but I'll never, ever, go back to forcing myself through a relationship just because I should. Nor would I expect anybody else to have to do that for me.

    'There's no cellulite clause in marriage', sure isn't, but I certainly hope that the woman I end up with believes it's not something she wants in her life either; nor would it be difficult for her to keep off because of her lifestyle decisions.
     
  14. Supplanter

    Supplanter There is no charge for awesomeness.

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    Not real sure if you are addressing me or the OP, but I don't think anyone has promoted that.
     
  15. Supplanter

    Supplanter There is no charge for awesomeness.

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    But sweetheart, plenty of people eat right and stay fit but that doesn't give them a certain body type. Genetics play a role in body shape (not that you can't be the best you can be with whatever you have) as well as othe things, such as pregnancy which changes a woman's body in unimaginable ways even if she maintains eating right and staying fit.

    If you want children, then your wife has to sacrifice her body to nourish a child inside and outside her womb, not by "letting herself go" but pregnacy stretches the stomach and thighs and breast feeding makes the boobs get saggy in ALL women, some more than others, and this is independent of health and fitness measures. But it is a sacrifice for something so much more valuable.
     
  16. Supplanter

    Supplanter There is no charge for awesomeness.

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    Yep, I should of read this before my other post.
     
  17. Supplanter

    Supplanter There is no charge for awesomeness.

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    Sorry, but you have a lot of misconceptions about that. Lifestyle is only one factor that plays a role in the development of cellulite. Even very svelte women get cellulit as they age, even without weight gain. And pregnancy . . . .well, I addressed that in another post.


    I know you have determined to go down this path with your mind made up that you are right to do so, but God help you . . . . . .

    But, out of curiosty, do you have any scriptures that you used to confrm this was the right attitude t take toward the women you date?
     
  18. broken_one

    broken_one Fear is but something to be overcome.

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    Okay, I don't think we're thinking about the same sort of thing here.

    Obviously looking like you're in your 20s in your 40s is unrealistic. I also will be fatter than before. It happens. :p However, with the proper eating and exercising habits, I don't doubt looking attractive in your 40s (as a 40-year-old) isn't too far out of the conversation. Even with children. I've seen women who have had multiple children, and they still look great. Why is that? Because after the baby, they were immediately back into their healthy lifestyle. It's impossible to look the same, but there's a big difference between still being fit and...letting yourself go.

    Tough I realize people can be fat and fit (like myself...or at least how I delude myself that I'm fit), it's just as easy as finding someone who is not like me in that sense. :)
     
  19. Nom De Guerre

    Nom De Guerre Who amongst you doesn't see life as permanent?

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    Here's an example of a King [Alpha male] doing what I've mentioned:

    Ester 2:2

    2Then said the king's servants that ministered unto him, Let there be fair young virgins sought for the king:

    He's not out looking for unattractive women, in fact all of the women mentioned in the OT were described as having incredible beauty. Is it the only thing I look for? No, just as I've mentioned previously.

    If you think about Samson, even he got tricked into marrying another woman when he wanted a particular beautiful girl; and that was just fine and dandy with God.

    I've seen plenty of women whom have had children and do just great keeping off the weight, or at least keeping their weight gain to a minimal, and sure it takes a bit of work but what doesn't? Genetics play a key role in how they will further develop down the road, just as you've mentioned, and it's a pretty good gauge to find out whether or not a lady will be able to live comfortably and fit with ease; some women just have trouble gaining weight and keep a slender body throughout their entire life.

    Also, to answer another question of yours, No, it's not an ego boost, I'm genuinely attracted to pretty girls; weird, I know.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2011
  20. Kirisutokyoo-shinja

    Kirisutokyoo-shinja Stage Ninja

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    A quote from my original post for clarification just in case it was missed.
     
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