My husband is a good man.
He's an honest man. Really honest. I'm talking brutally honest.
That's why, when I see him standing up with a microphone in hand, not knowing what he's going to say puts fear and panic inside me. Check out my face when he surprised me with an unexpected toast. Smiling, but terrified on the inside ... heart palpitations, bringing on perspiration and a flushed face. Because whew! That brutal honesty can be scary!
Sometimes I am the one who helps him to not be so brutally honest. It's hard to make an honest person not be honest. I encourage him to take all that honesty and just keep quiet about it.
He has proven himself to me all these years to be trustworthy. Now ... let's be honest ... each of us has had our moments of distrust, especially in the early years of our marriage. There were some challenging moments, but we pressed through them and came out stronger on the other side.
What has become very apparent to me in the last few years is that there is one area where I don't believe him at all. And, it's not because he's not being honest, it's because I have issues. Issues that most of us have.
Look at this statistic: 4% of the women (up from 2% in 2004) would consider themselves beautiful. That's quite a percentage there. 4%!
I think we all struggle with this: Believing we're beautiful. Using the word "beautiful" to describe ourselves is an even harder thing to do.
I know that I'm number one in my husband's eyes. But, when he tells me I'm beautiful or I'm pretty ... and then there's the even more extreme "most beautiful woman", I wince.
Why do I wince?
I know now. It's because I don't believe him.
Of course I'm not the most beautiful woman. I'm not blind. I see women all over the place who are way more beautiful than me. I'm surrounded by them.
Why should I even worry about beauty to begin with, right? Doesn't the Bible speak against vanity?
You know that Scripture, "Charm is deceitful, beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord shall be praised"?
It encourages us not to be concerned with beauty. It's vain.
But, that's harder said than done. Beauty is all around us. And, logically if our husbands are attracted to beauty, we would automatically be concerned with it and desire to be beautiful for them. Makes sense to me.
Husbands love beauty. Wives desire to be beauty.
So ... I'm not sure if that Scripture is directed toward men who seek only after physical beauty, or for women not to purely seek after physical beauty and make it their focus. Maybe a little bit of both.
But, let's be honest ... we DO seek after physical beauty. It's just human nature.
No, it shouldn't be our primary focus. God knows a beautiful face attached to an ugly heart is NOT beauty.
So ... now that I've cleared that up ... I realize I WANT to believe him. I really do. I want to be comfortable and we should each be comfortable with hearing that word. But, just the word "beautiful" itself creates an insecurity that rises up inside me and screams, "you can't live up to that word." The word carries a lot of weight.
And, there are more days when I don't feel beautiful than when I do.
I am older.
I have wrinkles.
I have a crazy, lazy eye.
I'm always a few pounds overweight. Sometimes more than a few.
I have too many stretch marks to count.
I have thin, frizzy, graying hair.
My once firm body has taken to gravity and doesn't hold up like it should.
Heck, my toenails keep falling off. (I know ... I just went too far.)
Beautiful, right? Wrong. At least not in my eyes.
But, he says I'm beautiful.
He sees me as beautiful. And, that's the part I don't understand.
Because the problem is I don't always see myself as beautiful. And, that's why I don't believe him.
So .. here's the deal ... Beauty is not just physical. True beauty encompasses everything about us ... our heart, our character, who we are. And, when we like that part about us, we're pretty much okay with the other part.
I feel beautiful when my heart is right. I feel beautiful when my life is right. I feel beautiful when I believe all the things my God says about me.
So, when my husband looks at me, despite the flaws that I see every day, he says I'm beautiful. He doesn't see all the things I see. Well, I guess he does because he can't be that blind. But, those things don't matter to him because beauty for a man isn't only physical. Sure, it starts out that way. But, over time a woman who has her heart right and shows true character, strength, and integrity, actually becomes more beautiful to her husband.
When he looks at me now, he doesn't see the flaws, he sees the beauty.
He doesn't see the wrinkles. He sees lines created by many years of laughter and emotion.
He doesn't see the stretch marks and the extra pounds. He sees a body that carried and birthed his two daughters.
He doesn't see that lazy eye. He sees the same eyes he once gazed into for hours so long ago, dreaming of our future together.
He doesn't see me as old. He sees me as stronger, wiser, and more beautiful than before.
That's the part we all have to get! They don't see us the way we see us. And, we need to start looking at ourselves through their eyes. Our husbands are simply a reflection of a God who sees us as even more. If they can look past our flawed selves and see beauty, imagine what our loving Father sees.
So, now I will choose to believe. I will no longer wince. It's gonna take some practice, but we'll all get there if we just start to believe.