No, thou shalt not let thyself go.

14 Mar

Recently Boundless blogger Suzanne Gosselin highlighted an article on Rachel Held Evans’s blog entitled “Thou Shalt Not Let Thyself Go?“, in which Evans puts Mark Driscoll on blast for the following 2006 statement:

“At the risk of being even more widely despised than I currently am, I will lean over the plate and take one for the team on this. It is not uncommon to meet pastors’ wives who really let themselves go; they sometimes feel that because their husband is a pastor, he is therefore trapped into fidelity, which gives them cause for laziness. A wife who lets herself go and is not sexually available to her husband in the ways that the Song of Songs is so frank about is not responsible for her husband’s sin, but she may not be helping him either.”

Evans then says:

I fear that the sentiment behind these remarks—that the Bible holds women to a certain standard of beauty that must be maintained throughout all seasons of life—remains pervasive within certain sectors of the conservative evangelical community.

She then calls out Christian authors Dorothy Patterson and Martha Pearce, as well as unnamed pastors in her own life, for telling women that they should remain beautiful and sexually satisfy their husbands to the point where the husbands will have zero temptation to stray.

Evans warns:

The message is as clear as it is ominous: Stay beautiful or your husband might leave you.  And if he does, it’s partially your fault.

Evans goes on to say that nowhere in the Bible are women commanded to remain physically beautiful for their husbands and instead highlights the usual verses about how beauty is fleeting, yada yada yada.  But Evans then goes one step further and labels the advice to stay attractive misogyny.  She contends that Scripture affirms that beauty decreases with age and childbearing, and – SHAMING ALERT! – “frankly, the suggestion that men are too weak to handle these realities is as emasculating as it is unbiblical.”  (Anytime someone starts a sentence with “frankly,” it’s an alert that condescension and/or shaming is imminent.)

Evans ends the article with this hamsterrific, projection-tastic piece de resistance:

Rather it is to help set women free—from the lie that God is disappointed when our bodies change, from the lie that it’s our fault when men cheat, from the lie that we become worthless as we grow older, and from the lie that that the Bible is just another glossy magazine whose standards of beauty we will always fail to meet.

While reading this article, I questioned whether Evans knows anything about men, or about women.  I don’t know anything about Evans, but it seems like she’s projecting her own insecurities onto men at large, and in trying to defend herself is actually propagating more garbage.

Very few men expect their wives to remain as physically attractive over time as they were on their wedding day, so Evans’s contention that there is some sort of churchian imperative never to age just seems totally bogus.  What men do expect, however, is that their wives care for their looks.  There is a big difference between showing natural signs of aging and packing on fifty pounds and wearing sweatpants all the time.  A wedding ring isn’t a license to start eating Ho-Hos to your heart’s desire, or shoving all your makeup in a drawer that will never again see the light of day.  So yes, this means that a woman who completely neglects her appearance and expects her husband to “just deal with it” is a woman who enables her husband to stray.  She doesn’t cause him to stray, but in neglecting her appearance, she makes it easier for another woman to catch his eye.  The reality that Evans seems to be most ignoring is that to a man, his wife’s investment in her appearance is a sign of respect for him.  And a man usually interprets his wife’s respect as love.  So man whose wife doesn’t care for her appearance tends to think that she doesn’t love him.  And a man who feels unloved is an unhappy man who is a prime target for temptation.  It’s up to your man to stray, but you can make it easier for him not to.

Does the Bible contain positive commands to women never to age or to work as hard as they can to retain their beauty?  No.  But the Bible doesn’t contain positive commands NOT to do so, either.  When the Bible tells women that their greatest beauty is in their spirit and demeanor, it’s not a permission not to care about their looks; it’s a reminder that the true beauty of a person comes from within, not that their looks have NO place of value.

But even if you buy everything Evans is selling, consider the shoe on the other foot.  Would Evans ever consider it okay for men to stop caring about making a living?  Would she be okay with a man deciding, “Well, I’m married now.  That’s a lot of responsibility, so I just can’t work as much as I used to.  I don’t think I should be expected to keep making more and more money, anyway.  That’s an ominous lie of materialism and there is no biblical command to make a lot of money.  So, yep, I think my wife should be okay with me not making $100,000 a year and keep loving me the same now that I’m only bringing home $20,000.”  Yeah…I don’t think so.

All I’m saying really boils down to one thing:  do things that make it easier for your spouse to love you.

P.S.  I glanced at the comments.  Oy, vey.

[ETA for reference: Suzanne Gosselin’s referring article, “Thou Shalt Not Become Ugly.”]

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45 Responses to “No, thou shalt not let thyself go.”

  1. AM March 14, 2011 at 6:04 pm #

    spot on… and boy the comments section is depressing

  2. Simon Grey March 14, 2011 at 6:37 pm #

    “All I’m saying really boils down to one thing: do things that make it easier for your spouse to love you.”

    At the end of the day, that needs to be the primary concern of every wife. Not even the prettiest woman can use her looks to guarantee fidelity (cf. all the pretty female celebrities that get cheated on). However, it is downright foolish (nay, irresponsible) for a woman to think that she doesn’t need to be sexually appealing to her husband. Yes, he’s responsible for whatever he does, but boy is easy to justify adultery when you have’t had sex for over a year and your wife looks like a shapeless lump of flesh. And so, “common” sense would dictate that wives should do everything in their power to help their husbands remain faithful.*

    *In case you’re obtuse, the same is true for men. However, the topic of the post is primarily about a wife’s responsibility to her husband, and so I thought I’d try to stay on topic.

  3. Badger March 14, 2011 at 7:10 pm #

    Oh yes, hamsters on parade. I have a response half done but it can’t top yours, Haley.

    Gosselin also misrepresents her own position – she reveals in the comments that she has body image mental issues, which are not sinful by any means but do mean she has different needs in terms of expectations and support than the average woman. It’s wrong of her to imply that her needs should be the standard of expectations, used to rationalize why unfit women shouldn’t get in shape and why their husbands are shallow.

    I would wager there are many more Americans who need to drop weight as opposed to gain it.

  4. MW March 14, 2011 at 7:22 pm #

    The wrong kind of lifestyle evangelism writ large.

    Isn’t it an issue of self-control? Both hubs and wifey need this, actually all of us need self control.

    Mark Driscoll’s comments were taken somewhat out of context by Rachel. I believe her intent started out well enough, but is misguided by the underlying false premise that all men “naturally” are lecherous, prideful, and would rather remain in a state of the most slothful indolence. The converse is: women whose inborn saintliness and spotless character is needed to civilise such bums and draw them closer to God.

    There’s an underlying theological error at the root of this. I’ve thought about this on and off for years, but haven’t quite figured it out yet.

  5. CAB March 14, 2011 at 7:26 pm #

    There are, essentially, two ways to sin:

    (1) doing that which is wrong
    (2) not doing that which is right

    Husbands and wives are to love each other as themselves. Having an affair is a sin of the first type. Refusing to make sacrifices to show love to your spouse is of the second.

  6. Aunt Haley March 14, 2011 at 8:05 pm #

    Badger–
    I have a response half done but it can’t top yours, Haley.

    Aww, shucks…but I’d still like to read yours.

  7. ASDF March 14, 2011 at 8:24 pm #

    I glanced at maybe 10 comments, and men and women both were saying that the article made them cry (with joy, presumably). What a bunch of sad sacks.

  8. Badger March 14, 2011 at 10:47 pm #

    “Aww, shucks…but I’d still like to read yours.”

    How flattering…it will print soon, it’s actually the middle of a three-part series on the obligations and rewards of romantic relationships.

    What bothers me most about the Boundless article is the idea (aggressively agreed to in the comments) that “since we’re married, my man is required to love me no matter what,” which is an abusive re-interpretation of the marriage contract. American women have been sold a lot of crap; they’ve been pumped full of the idea that marriage means their men are supposed to worship them.

  9. Ceer March 14, 2011 at 10:49 pm #

    Interesting how women who divorce always seem to blame the man for not fulfilling her needs or whatnot, and the same people always claim that a man is fully responsible for his own actions even when his wife gets fat and ugly.

    Properly, men’s and women’s actions should be directed towards encouraging the other to love them.

    Good post, Haley.

  10. Aunt Haley March 14, 2011 at 11:11 pm #

    Badger–
    What bothers me most about the Boundless article is the idea (aggressively agreed to in the comments) that “since we’re married, my man is required to love me no matter what,”

    There are a few reasons church women believe this:

    (1) The cultural “women deserve to be loved no matter what” meme. Remember, women are usually better than men, who only hold their exalted place in society due to oppressive patriarchy; therefore, a woman with pride in her femininity should never settle for less than all-consuming love from her spouse.

    (2) Christian doctrine that marriage is for life. Most girls raised in the church, especially if they marry young, believe in “one and done.” And marriage means unconditional love except if between homosexuals.

    (3) The Christian doctrine that a man is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. Since God’s love is unconditional, therefore the husband’s love for the wife should be as well. Furthermore, if nothing (neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation) can separate you from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord, then husbands are basically SOL if they dare not to love their wives quite as unconditionally. Women who subscribe to the “Jesus is the ultimate lover of my soul” line of thought are probably are the most susceptible to this.

    To add a fourth reason, I think church girls cling to this belief because of personal insecurities – they strive to reject “the world,” but all of the pressures of living up to “the world’s standard of beauty” and other sexual expectations forced on them by “the world” make them scared that their world-tainted husbands will leave them for not living up to secular standards.

  11. Purple Tortoise March 15, 2011 at 4:28 am #

    Suzanne Gosselin: “In fact, I believe strongly that a woman who maintains her appearance (to a reasonable degree) shows respect for her husband. However, this idea is not one promoted in Scripture.”

    This is contradictory. Scripture commands wives to respect their husbands, so if Suzanne thinks maintaining appearance to a reasonable degree shows respect (and I agree), then she should do it. If she thinks Scripture does not promote that idea, then she ought to believe that it is permissible for a wife to not maintain her appearance. She can’t have it both ways.

    I understand that my wife’s physical attractiveness will decrease due to aging and childbearing and wouldn’t want her to go the plastic surgery and botox route — but I also appreciate that she does maintain her appearance as much as can be reasonably done.

  12. CSPB March 15, 2011 at 9:03 am #

    Many women are attracted to men in leadership positions. Christian women are no different. Sure most may be more self-disiplined in this matter, if a man is married. But it is quite common for some woman to provide an opportunity for some hanky-panky to Christian men in leadership. Does a wife letting herself go not realize the vulnerability of her husband and the behavior of some other women? Does she expect him to prove his sainthood by trial?

    Their entitlement to let themselves go is totally lacking in commons sense.

  13. Badger March 15, 2011 at 9:09 am #

    The most enlightened part of the Boundless discussion was a woman saying “I think my husband would rather I take care of the kids than spend a half hour a day tending to long hair.”

    And at least one person responded, “ask your husband which he would prefer. You might be surprised by his answer…” I would bet $50 she didn’t ask her husband, because she knows he’d say keep it long, honey.

    Beyond that, to hear these people talk, there’s only two types of women: supermodels and frumpy overweight housewives, and since they’ll never be the former it’s OK if they accelerate becoming the latter. There’s a real lack of acceptance of male sexuality (how ironic for a bunch of women who assert a right to be accepted for “who they are”) and a complete lack of admission that sex strengthens love in the male mind.

  14. jz March 15, 2011 at 9:39 am #

    Solid post, Haley. Glad you made the analogy with the husband’s income.
    The husband income/wife beauty is a self-reinforcing circuitry. It is much easier for a woman with descretionary money to stay attractive. Life is not fair.

    With descretionary money she can purchase glabellar botox, personal trainers to fit her schedule, more expensive structured clothing, bimatoporst for the eye lashes, three shades of hair color rather than one, and tummy lipo. Dolly Pardon used to say, “It takes a lot of money to look this cheap.” It also takes a lot of money to look your very best. I’ll assert that I look great for my age, and I spend about $4,000/year on discretionary treatments plus great clothing, above and beyond the basics of exercise, moisturizer, sun screen,and eating restraint.

    Husbands prefer natural beauty, but will unconsciously prefer the botox they don’t know about, over deep crevices in her forehead. Naysayers either haven’t gotten to that stage of life yet, or they don’t have the options.

    So, the pastor’s wives and the Christian’s wives are also constrained by their own, or their husband’s incomes.

  15. theprivateman March 15, 2011 at 10:13 am #

    The unwillingness to please a husband is collateral damage from the feminist attack on men in general.

  16. cathydinas March 15, 2011 at 11:09 am #

    beautiful essay I recieved in an email today– It’s not the outside…it’s the heart.

    When I created the heavens and the earth, I spoke them into being. When I created man, I formed him and breathed life into his nostrils. But you woman, I fashioned after I breathed the breath of life into man because your nostrils are too delicate. I allowed a deep sleep to come over him so I could patiently and perfectly fashion you.

    Man was put to sleep so that he could not interfere with the creativity. From one bone I fashioned you. I chose the bone that protects his heart and his lungs and supports him, as you are meant to do. Around this one bone I shaped you. I modeled you. I created you perfectly and beautifully. Your characteristics are as the rib, strong yet delicate and fragile. You provide protection for the most delicate organ in man, his heart. His heart is the center of his being; his lungs hold the breath of life. The rib cage will allow itself to be broken before it will allow damage to the heart.

    Support the man as the rib cage supports the body. You were not taken from his feet, to be under him, nor were you taken from his head, to be above him. You were taken from his side, to stand beside him and be held close to his side.

    You are My perfect angel. You are My beautiful little girl. You have grown to be a splendid woman of excellence, and My eyes fill when I see the virtues in your heart. Your eyes – don’t change them. Your lips – how lovely when they part in prayer. Your nose, so perfect in form, your hands so gentle in touch. I’ve caressed your face in your deepest sleep; I’ve held your heart close to mine.

    Of all that lives and breathes, you are the most like Me. Adam walked with Me in the cool of the day and yet he was lonely. He could not see Me or touch Me. He could only feel Me.

    So everything I wanted Adam to share and experience with Me,
    I fashioned in you: My holiness, My strength, My purity, My love, My protection and support. You are special because you are the extension of Me.

    Man represents My image, woman My emotions. Together you represent the totality of God. So man – treat woman well. Love her, respect her, for she is fragile. In hurting her, you hurt Me. What you do to her, you do to Me. In crushing her, you only damage your own heart, the heart of your Father, and the heart of her Father.

    Woman, support man. In humility, show him the power of emotion I have given you. In gentle quietness show your strength. In love, show him that you are the rib that protects his inner self.

  17. Badger March 15, 2011 at 11:21 am #

    Wow, what a bunch of pedestalizing tripe. It’s stuff like this that makes me wonder if mainstream Christianity isn’t any better than radical feminism.

  18. Aunt Haley March 15, 2011 at 11:42 am #

    jz–
    It’s true that looking good costs money. Most celebrities are above average-looking but not natural 10s, but because they have access to the best money can buy, they look a lot better than a similar person of average means.

    It’s also on account of the cost factor of beauty that women should take into consideration how stingy any potential husband is. I hope that husbands who want their wives to look their best but refuse to spend money on their wives’ beauty never complain that their wives look plain.

    Badger–
    You really need to read Captivating by Stasi Eldredge. If you can make it through to the end, that is.

    The piece that cathydinas reposted here is saccharine barfage, but there are women out there who feel so ugly that they believe nobody could ever love them, much less God. Those are the women who need to know that they matter and have value as God’s creation. However, these typically are not the women I am thinking of when I talk about women in my blog posts.

  19. Silas Reinagel March 15, 2011 at 12:12 pm #

    It’s also on account of the cost factor of beauty that women should take into consideration how stingy any potential husband is. I hope that husbands who want their wives to look their best but refuse to spend money on their wives’ beauty never complain that their wives look plain.

    There seems to be this conception that beauty and spending money/buying various products are inextricably linked. I don’t believe that’s the case.

    80% of a woman staying beautiful is about proper diet, regular exercise, proper hygiene and basic self-care.

    The overemphasis on beauty products, makeup, cosmetic surgery and so forth stems from a consumeristic mindset and isn’t a healthy thing.

  20. Aunt Haley March 15, 2011 at 12:29 pm #

    Silas–
    There seems to be this conception that beauty and spending money/buying various products are inextricably linked. I don’t believe that’s the case.

    You’re also a man. Most of the time with beauty products, you get what you pay for. Ditto for clothing.

    80% of a woman staying beautiful is about proper diet, regular exercise, proper hygiene and basic self-care.

    But that other 20% can make a huge difference.

    There is also a huge difference between being obsessed with finding beauty in a bottle, and using quality products that yield optimal results.

    Nothing can substitute for basic good health and hygiene, but even a chubby woman will look better in a $200 pair of jeans than she will in a $20 Wal-Mart special, and her hair will style better if she uses Kiehl’s rather than Suave.

  21. jz March 15, 2011 at 12:37 pm #

    @Silas, There seems to be this conception that beauty and spending money/buying various products are inextricably linked. I don’t believe that’s the case.

    I’ll repeat from above: naysayers either have not reached that stage of life yet, or they don’t have the options. Which is it for you?

  22. jack March 15, 2011 at 1:05 pm #

    Stingy? My wife will have an unlimited heels and fishnets budget.

  23. Kate March 15, 2011 at 1:18 pm #

    “80% of a woman staying beautiful is about proper diet, regular exercise, proper hygiene and basic self-care.”
    But that other 20% can make a huge difference.

    Considering the average woman can’t seem to accomplish even half of the 80%, let’s hold off on that 20%. I can’t believe the things the married women at my church eat at our potlucks: doughnuts, cake, chips…so much for the body being a temple.

  24. Hermes March 15, 2011 at 2:17 pm #

    Woman, support man. In humility, show him the power of emotion I have given you. In gentle quietness show your strength. In love, show him that you are the rib that protects his inner self.

    Actually, this isn’t bad. I couldn’t complain if more young women in church were being taught this. After all, large swaths of evangelicalism are absolutely insistent on believing that the earth was created in six literal twenty-four hour days, yet somehow ignore the other passage in Genesis which explicitly says that God created woman to be a helper to man. How many evangelicals today believe that? Many of them (e.g., the Boundless crew) seem to think the purpose of men is to make women fulfilled.

  25. Brendan March 15, 2011 at 5:12 pm #

    The comments were a beautiful case of publicly revealed mass hamsterism, to be honest. First came across them a week or so ago via Larijani’s blog.

  26. Aunt Haley March 15, 2011 at 9:13 pm #

    Kate–
    I can’t believe the things the married women at my church eat at our potlucks: doughnuts, cake, chips…so much for the body being a temple.

    I’ve never been to a church that specialized in healthy potlucks. If all of the women were thin, though, nobody would care if they ate donuts or not.

    Brendan–
    Boundless is a hamster farm.

  27. MW March 16, 2011 at 10:15 pm #

    “mass hamsterism” HA! Good one Brendan!

    Reminds me of Mass Appeal Madness from ages ago….

    Mass appeal hamsterism, perfect!

  28. Paige March 17, 2011 at 3:12 pm #

    This is a really interesting topic.

    The reasoning has so many similarities to the anti-seduction crowd.

  29. Old Guy March 17, 2011 at 10:18 pm #

    “… to a man, his wife’s investment in her appearance is a sign of respect for him. And a man usually interprets his wife’s respect as love. So [a] man whose wife doesn’t care for her appearance tends to think that she doesn’t love him. And a man who feels unloved is an unhappy man who is a prime target for temptation.”

    Haley: Your hamster is riding an epicycle. This cascade of diminished attractiveness/perceived lack of respect/feelings of being unloved/temptation to stray has never happened in the head of a straight guy. Not spontaneously, anyway, in the whole history of the world.

    A man might genuinely regret that his wife doesn’t put more effort into her appearance. His disappointment may affect his behaviour, I suppose, although this sounds more plausible than true in anything but extreme cases. Your narrative is something he might invent afterwards, if he were trying to justify an infidelity to a woman.

  30. jack March 18, 2011 at 1:29 am #

    I disagree, old guy.

    This is a completely plausible situation.

    I think I would be far less tempted to cheat if my wife was fit than if she was seriously overweight.

    Ever seen an uber-alpha with a fat wife? I didn’t think so. Women will put the effort in for a high-status guy, but will hit the Krispy Kremes like mad if she doesn’t give a s— about her guy.

    A woman gaining lots of weight for no good reason (yes, yes, you shriekers, other than childbirth or medical condition) is a sign that she no longer feels a need or desire to be physically pleasing to her husband.

    If a guy refused to talk to his wife for 6 months, I would think she may cheat.

    If the wife made sex unpleasant for years on end, he may decide to cheat.

    As for the hamster accusation, just because a female says something doesn’t mean that a hamster was always involved.

  31. Old Guy March 18, 2011 at 11:47 am #

    Jack: You can teach someone how to recognise hamster tracks — stories pulled from the air about men’s behaviour — by pointing to the passage I quoted.

    If you want to disagree with someone who doubts that something has much effect except in extreme cases, you need to respond with something other than extreme cases. And, if someone says something is more plausible than true, you probably don’t want to begin by saying that it is “completely plausible”.

  32. Lily March 18, 2011 at 6:09 pm #

    @Haley
    Not sure where to post this, I just thought you would find it amusing
    “”It is only ugly men whom women tell they cannot bear handsome ones.” observation, 1871
    :-)
    From http://twitter.com/VictorianLondon

  33. van Rooinek April 30, 2011 at 11:12 pm #

    Old thread but I’ll jump in anyway…..

    My wife and I stashed the kids with Grandpa one day last year, and went to our first homeschool convention. She came away absolutely appalled, almost ready to give up homeschooling for good. As she put it, “I DON’T WANT TO BECOME ONE OF ***THEM*** !!!!!!”

    What did she make this assertion?

    She had observed, that almost without exception, the women of the homeschooling movement, at least those at this convention (Pasadena Calif.) were a bunch of fat, out-of-shape, hideous frumps. Indeed — speaking as a man, I noticed it too: except for a teenager or two, and some very shapely veiled Mennonites, she was right: the female scenery there was absolutely horrible. (As the French put it, I’m a monogamist but I’m not blind. Or as Billy Graham once put it: “Lust is the SECOND look”, and the first look told me all I needed to know!)

    One teenage girl in particular sticks in my mind because, if my oldest son were of dating/courting age and had been with us, my first reaction would have been to send him over to that booth to strike up a conversation. Except that, looking over her hideous fat piggie of a mother, I’d tell my son to pass. “Sure she’s cute now… but check out the mother, that’s her likely future….Run away!”

    I understand that some fatness is not avoidable. Some people have glandular issues, injuries that prevent exercise (spent a year there myself once), and some people, even if they exercise maniacally, seem to be genetically destined to gain weight as they get older. Also, kids change things somewhat: I was a serious runner and my wife was a dedicated weightlifter when we married, and with kids etc we just haven’t been able to keep up that level. BUT.. we haven’t let our bodies go totally to hell, either. Truth be told, my wife, even at 40+ and with 3 kids under her belt, was one of the hottest women there. I can only conclude that MOST of the women at that convention DO NOT EVEN TRY to take care of themselves.

    Simply put: If you want people to join your movement, have enough respect for human nature, to care about how you look. As one preacher put it to me once: “Man looks on the outward appearance; God looks on the heart. But who are we ministering to? Man!” In other words, if you want people to be attracted your faith, or your movement (eg homeschooling), or if you’re just a single woman looking for a date, DO SOMETHING about that fat! However much you may dislike the fact, appearance matters.

  34. Aunt Haley May 1, 2011 at 7:27 pm #

    van–
    I’ve never been to a homeschooling convention, but your description sounds pretty accurate. Some of the dowdiest women around are ones who would win gold medals in churchy wholesomeness.

  35. Hana May 1, 2011 at 10:28 pm #

    I’ve never been to a homeschooling convention per se, but I was homeschooled, so I’ve seen a lot of homeschooling moms. I feel like the description may apply a little more to the American homeschooling movement(apologies to Americans), which is often deeply rooted in “God looks at the heart” conservative Christianity – but in my experience there was a certain subset of homeschoolers who looked the way von Rooinek describes. They weren’t the conservative Christians, though. The conservative Christians in my area tended to be fairly strict Dutch Reformed people who were overwhelmingly slim, exceptionally attractive (really, some of the most beautiful people I’ve ever met) and dressed very well (the women were very feminine and the men very masculine). I guess some study could be done as to why that was, exactly…but anyway, there was a subset of homeschoolers who were *very* frumpy. They were usually kind of countercultural – I remember someone who believed in “unschooling” as opposed to “homeschooling” – and I think the countercultural attitude extended to dress: they didn’t really care how they or their children dressed as long as they were expressing their creativity.

    In general, I guess that people who buy into the idea that the heart or the personality or the mind are *all* that matters, are the people most likely to neglect their physical appearance.

  36. Langobard May 2, 2011 at 12:41 pm #

    …She had observed, that almost without exception, the women of the homeschooling movement, at least those at this convention (Pasadena Calif.) were a bunch of fat, out-of-shape, hideous frumps.

    …Some of the dowdiest women around are ones who would win gold medals in churchy wholesomeness.

    …In general, I guess that people who buy into the idea that the heart or the personality or the mind are *all* that matters, are the people most likely to neglect their physical appearance.
    ___

    Sure they do – since they obviously want to take the emphasis off their loser behaviors and personal failures such as gluttony and sloth – which of course are sins in-and-of themselves.

  37. Langobard May 2, 2011 at 12:48 pm #

    Simply put: If you want people to join your movement, have enough respect for human nature, to care about how you look. As one preacher put it to me once: “Man looks on the outward appearance; God looks on the heart. But who are we ministering to? Man!” In other words, if you want people to be attracted your faith, or your movement (eg homeschooling), or if you’re just a single woman looking for a date, DO SOMETHING about that fat! However much you may dislike the fact, appearance matters. @van Rooinek
    ___

    van,

    This is great advice for just about any Church and for any issue, since most Churches are Gnostic and tolerate way too much low-value human qualities and behaviors, making them very unpalatable (to say the least) to a myriad of better quality, and better adjusted human beings.

  38. Jennifer August 19, 2011 at 6:46 pm #

    I think this is a very good article. A vital balance is needed: our love needs to be deeper than the world and not based on looks, BUT we are called individually to take care of ourselves; we do this out of respect for our temples and our spouses.

    “And marriage means unconditional love except if between homosexuals”

    Yes it does, and I hope you don’t support homosexual marriage.

    “I think my husband would rather I take care of the kids than spend a half hour a day tending to long hair.”

    I would hope he does; long hair is far from a beauty requirement.

    “You really need to read Captivating by Stasi Eldredge. If you can make it through to the end, that is”

    Haley, Captivating is a wonderful book that, incidentally, never gives women carte blanche to A) Let themselves go. B) Disrespect their husbands (BIG stuff in there against nagging). C) Become too proud or obsessed with minute things.

    Badger, incidentally, many anti-feminist Christians go overboard complimenting women to over-compensate the whole “subordinate to men” thing, lol. Stacy Mcdonald, in her book “Maidens of Virtue”, actually has pretty perfect balance between looks and what’s on the inside.

    “Ever seen an uber-alpha with a fat wife? I didn’t think so”

    Yes, I have. Don’t be that simplifying.

    “The conservative Christians in my area tended to be fairly strict Dutch Reformed people who were overwhelmingly slim, exceptionally attractive (really, some of the most beautiful people I’ve ever met) and dressed very well (the women were very feminine and the men very masculine).”

    Incidentally, some of them also have some of the ugliest theology I’ve ever read about. We’ll always need to discern the difference between people who are just heavy and people who REALLY let themselves go absolutely. There’s a difference all right.

    “Man looks on the outward appearance; God looks on the heart. But who are we ministering to? Man!”

    Again, weight alone should not be an issue; slothfulness is something different. And unlike the article linked to at the bottom of this page claims, unconditional love is a duty. Part of it is staying healthy, and there are ultimate conditions to marriage, but the idea that you’re entitled to divorce because your spouse got heavy is disgusting and unChristian; the Lord promised to divorce Israel if they broke His law, not if they got fat. But that passage does point to a big truth: God loves regardless, but this doesn’t mean He puts up with crap. Likewise, the author of the linked article did have some great points about other vital things in a healthy marriage though, like assertiveness.

  39. Svar September 5, 2011 at 12:57 pm #

    “I would hope he does; long hair is far from a beauty requirement.”

    No, Jen:

    http://alpha-status.blogspot.com/2011/02/being-comfortable-with-women-pt-15.html

  40. Jennifer September 5, 2011 at 1:16 pm #

    Long hair is simply not a must for every man, Svar.

  41. Svar September 5, 2011 at 1:23 pm #

    For most men, Jen. I don’t know any men IRL that prefers short hair and I only know one man online who does: David Collard.

  42. Will S. September 5, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

    Hmmm; I must have commented here, because I’m subscribed, but it’s gone now, so I must have said something offensive; I forget what I said. Ah well; no matter now.

  43. Will S. September 5, 2011 at 2:32 pm #

    No, wait; I got here another way. My mistake.

  44. Will S. September 5, 2011 at 2:36 pm #

    @ Svar: Indeed, while I did once have a gf with short hair, it wasn’t and isn’t my preference; I’d have loved it if she’d grown it out, she’d have looked even better. Most of my friends prefer long hair on a woman, not short; I’ve rarely encountered anyone, either IRL or online who prefers the short-haired look in general.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. There is no duty of unconditional love. | Dark Brightness - March 19, 2011

    […] via No, thou shalt not let thyself go. « Haley’s Halo. […]

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