Monday, December 17, 2012

Staying Attractive After Marriage

A friend's blog post recently reminded me of the attitude among some married people (men and women) that, once married, there's no need for keeping up appearances. It's acceptable to gain weight, maintain poor hygiene, and wear pajama-type clothing most of the time. After all, you're already married, so why bother putting in all that effort to keep yourself looking nice?

We always look this good.
Photo credit: Eric Brophy, photobloke.smugmug.com

My friend responded with a number of reasons why it is important to keep yourself attractive after marriage, including showing respect for your spouse and maintaining a good sex life. She also mentioned that we honor God with our bodies, so it is important to treat ourselves well.

I think she wrote a good response. I also think people are asking the wrong question. Asking, "Why keep myself attractive when I'm already married?" implies that the reason we care for ourselves at all is to attract a spouse. While we are made for community, and many are called to marriage, this is not our highest calling. We are children of God; our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit.

Why care for myself? Because I'm worth it! God created me in His image. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Throughout my life I have maintained good hygiene, healthy eating habits, and (usually) regular exercise. When I gained weight in college, I was frustrated. Not because I was unattractive and couldn't find a boyfriend, but because I knew I deserved better than that. So I started running again and stopped bringing snacks into my room. I wanted to be in shape for ME, not for someone else.

When I got married, it never occurred to me that I should cut myself some slack. If we follow the line of thinking that marriage ends our obligation to look nice, why should people not called to marriage ever care for themselves? It just doesn't make sense.

"Therefore, glorify God with your bodies." Do it for God. Do it for yourself. You're worth it.

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