Recently, I was having a conversation with a single guy (never-been-married) in his late 30s. We were talking about some of the qualities he was looking for in a woman.
He had a pretty decent list of good qualities and Christian character. I continued listening intently and as his list was dwindling down he added, “Oh yeah, and she has to look like a supermodel.”
“She has to look like a supermodel?” I repeated, in a questioning tone. “Yeah, looks are important,” he replied.
I’ll be honest. It took everything in me not to smack him upside the head.
About this time last year, I was speaking at a college down in Florida. After the talk, I waded through a line of students, eager to chat and offer their feedback.
At the very end of the line, one young man approached me with a concern: he wondered if he was being too picky. “What do you mean by too picky?” I asked.
“Well, I want a woman who loves the Lord. I want someone who has character and has committed her life to serving him. I’m really interested in missions and I want someone with that kind of a selfless heart. But, I also want her to be REALLY hot.”
“So basically you want Mother Theresa in supermodel form?” I summarized.
He chuckled at that comment. But really – isn’t that sort of what he was saying?
Let me get real with you for a minute: we live in a generation where the concepts of sexual chemistry and physical attraction have become totally, completely, and irreversibly skewed. The entertainment industry and the pornography culture have completely ravaged our understanding of beauty, and namely, the beauty of a REAL woman.
It wouldn’t even concern me that much because, in a sad way, that’s what I expect of our culture – but the problem is this messed up mentality is quickly starting to seep into the church in a truly concerning way.
I’m not saying that physical attraction in a relationship is not important. In fact, I think being attracted to your spouse is an important part of a marriage. But what I AM saying is that we need to get real for just a minute and realize that our concept of beauty and sex appeal has been completely and utterly distorted over the years, to the point where the expectation and measure of a “beautiful woman” is just downright unrealistic.
Before you start drafting your hate-mail rebuttals, can we think through this? Can we at least admit for a minute that our concept of beauty is fluid? Can we acknowledge for just a moment that maybe, just maybe, we have some sort of control over the things we define as “beautiful”? Can we agree that what we desire and find attractive can be morphed and change with what we’re exposed to?
Think about this for a moment: there was a day where a “beautiful woman” wore a size 16, had super pale skin, some serious curves and probably didn’t think twice about body hair. These days? Well, I don’t have to tell you how much our standards have changed. But what I’m REALLY trying to say is this:
Our standards of beauty completely change based on the things we allow ourselves to be exposed to.
And in a culture that’s infiltrated with pornography, airbrushed billboards and magazines, and plastic surgery, I’m afraid that our standard of “beauty” has moved so far from the truth that it’s causing some major damage to our relational expectations: for both men and women.
Single or married, you can expose yourself to so much “fantasy” that real things – namely, real WOMEN – begin to lose their luster.
WHY WE NEED A RESET
In the process of saying no to junk, it’s crucial to remember that there’s a reason to all of this. Skin deep beauty in all of it’s glory can only last so long anyhow. In 5, 10, 15 or 20 years – the body will surely fade, but what’s left will remain.
In marriage, true marriage, you will see their spouse at their absolute worst. You’ll see them in their sickness. You’ll see them in their absolute most natural state – before the hair, before the makeup, before the accessories. You’ll see them through the lens of real life – through the morning breath, through the cellulite, through the imperfections.
What will ultimately define your marriage- and ultimately, your very life – is not the “supermodel status” of your wife, but rather, her character. She is the woman who will have the greatest influence on your happiness, your confidence, and your security. She is the woman who will walk with you through the highs and lows of life, raise your children and influence your family in every single way.
A woman of character is a treasure. And he who finds her, has found a great thing.
And to you who have found her…hold on to her more tightly than you’ve ever held on to anything in your life.
I know so many marriages that started with “amazing sexual chemistry” and fizzled into nothing within a few short years. And I also know so many marriages that started on the foundation of good character and godliness – and continued to grow in intimacy, in respect, and in love.
It’s time for our generation to wise up by rising above the noise of this culture and setting our relationship expectations and standards on things that really matter. It’s time to “reset” our standard of beauty by shutting off the influence of “the unrealistic” junk, and filling our minds and hearts with truth:
That beauty is fleeting.
That charm is deceptive.
That real beauty runs deep.
That character is what actually defines a person.
It’s time for our generation to do what we need to do to say no to the unrealistic standards this world is throwing our way by saying no to the junk.
Maybe that starts with what we allow our minds to think and lust upon.
Maybe that means a commitment to stay away from porn.
Maybe that means turning off Netflix for a while.
Maybe it means stepping away from Facebook, or TV, or magazines.
Maybe it means guarding our conversations and how we allow ourselves to talk about the opposite sex.
But ultimately, it means saying no to lies – in exchange for truth. Men, stop looking for a supermodel wife, and start looking for a godly woman. They’re out there. They’re available. And they’re a treasure worth finding.
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Debra Fileta is a Professional Counselor, speaker, and author of True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life, 21 Days to Jump Start Your Love Life, and 21 Days to Pray For Your Love Life – where she writes candidly about dating, relationships, and how to find true love. You may also recognize her voice from her 150+ articles at Relevant Magazine or Crosswalk.com! She’s also the creator of this True Love Dates Blog! Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter!