(Image by Hillary Kupish)
And the man and his wife
were both naked and
One of my favorite things to watch is a woman freshly home from her honeymoon. A transformation takes place in that week of intimacy, a metamorphosis. She stands before her husband in all the glory of her wedding finery, sees her beauty reflected in his face, gives herself with purest abandon to his love, and emerges someone else entirely.
There is a swagger to her step, a sort of flirtatious look of confidence, a knowing. As if she’s got a secret just bursting to be divuldged.
She belongs. She is known. She is cherished. She is loved.
Simo, hang on to that. Because that is truth— he loves you, he cherishes you, he is captured, intrigued, irresistibly drawn to your beauty.
But there is an enemy who would convince you otherwise. A sneaky serpent who uses subtle strategies to steal the freedom of a well-loved woman. One who knows that a woman who dances in the reflection of her husband’s love is a dire threat to an enemy hell-bent on destroying beauty.
It started long ago. On that fateful day when Eve shared the forbidden fruit with Adam, shame was born. A new emotion, powerful enough to send her into hiding.
…then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Genesis 3:7
… and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid… Genesis 3:10
And every woman since has felt those cords of shame tighten around her freedom. Call it inhibition. Call it embarrassment. Disinterest, angst, or ambivalence.
We blame the beauty industry— an easy scapegoat with it’s distorted images of haughty, airbrushed, photo-shopped fakery.
Or we blame men— we’re sure they’ve elevated a certain standard of gorgeousness that is unobtainable by the average woman, or at least by ourselves.
We look in the mirror and see everything wrong:
Not thin enough, not curved enough, not firm enough, not soft enough…
Too big, too small, too tall, too curly, too straight, too much, too little…
And those cords of shame wrap tentacles so tight we can scarcely breathe, let alone glory in our own bodies or relish the response of a husband who loves us.
And in our shame, we hide.
But Simo, it’s all a trick. A lie. A strategy to destroy what God said was good.
Give into this lie and you’ll live a life of less-than. You’ll struggle and wonder why, you and Matt will misunderstand each other. You’ll hurt. You’ll pull away, so will he. You’ll miss out on the wonder of being that woman who knows she is pursued, sought, cherished.
And so, since I love lists, here is one for you, dear one. A way to combat the lies that would bind your beauty with cords of shame.
How To Be The Beauty You Were Created To Be:
1. Believe that God crafted you beautifully.
He used His artistry to weave you together in your mother’s womb in just the way He wanted. Dare you honestly say you think He messed up? That He made one woman more lovely than another? That somehow He wasn’t quite on the job when He made you?
2. Acknowledge that beauty is not perfection.
Authentic art includes contrast and proportion, texture and shading. An artist chooses from a wide variety of medium to tell a uniquely compelling story. Copy-cats are considered fakes in the world of valuable treasures.
When women determine to fit themselves into a mold of someone else’s making they only hurt themselves.
3. See your beauty through your husband’s eyes.
When you uncover yourself to him and he responds with enthusiastic arousal, he is adding an exclamation mark to your beauty.
Drink it in. Let the truth of his response sink deep. He sees your beauty.
Choose to neither hide nor deny what you see reflected in his eyes.
Allow yourself the luxury of responding to his response.
4. Never compare your beauty to another’s.
It doesn’t work that way, anymore than comparing a Rothko to a Rembrandt. Relish your uniqueness, flaunt it, be who you are. Like who you are.
5. Give your beauty freely to your husband.
He needs to see you, to feel your skin, to run his hands over your softness. To hide from him is to rob him of the one of the greatest joys of marriage. He loves what he sees, let him feast his eyes on your loveliness.
And not just now, when you’re young and lithe and tan and wedding-day slim. He needs to see you when you’re 9 months pregnant, and 4 months post-partum, when you’re wrinkling and aging, when you’re surely no candidate for a beauty contest.
Because He sees what you cannot— that you are beautiful by being who you are.
6. Guard your beauty.
Like a lovely garden of the finest flowers, a woman’s beauty must be cultivated and maintained. Neglected, we go to seed. Nourished, pampered, smoothed, and cared for, we flourish.
My dear daughter, to be naked and not ashamed in the presence of your husband is to enjoy a place in which freedom and beauty reign. Do all you can to stay in that holy place, to guard your heart against the lies that slip in unnoticed.
From my heart,
P.S. For those who are reading:
Men, are you getting a glimpse into the soul of a woman with these insights? Pay attention, the woman you love is struggling to see her own beauty.
Women, is this new to you? Have you bought into the lies? Can you share your stories and strategies with us?