Having been sold a pack of feminist lies that make both men and women unhappier, those of us in the millennial generation who are interested in happy marriages have had to rediscover a lot of politically incorrect truths from scratch.
But there’s one truth that is particularly difficult for our genderless, sexless culture to accept, because it eviscerates not one, but two shibboleths of the age: first, that men and women desire the same things in relationships, and second, that a selfish, “be yourself” attitude is a good prescription for marital bliss.
The unspeakable truth is this: a spouse’s physical appearance is much more likely to be important to men than women. Maintaining their figures and beauty—through reasonable efforts—is one important way that women can make their husbands happy.
Men Are Usually More Visual Than Their Wives Are
Terrifying truth number one: a spouse’s looks are much more important to men than women. That men are visual creatures when it comes to picking a mate has been confirmed by brain scans, but any appraisal of the dating scene will lead the average intellectually-honest person to the same conclusion via observation.
Women are no less shallow than men when it comes to sheer attraction, but they are different. Women tend to be turned on by men who display social dominance, power, or the ability to provide more than by hunky looks. The de-emphasis that women place on physical appearance sometimes leads us to project our own attraction patterns onto our spouses: sure, it’s easy for us to imagine still loving our husbands plus 50 pounds, but how easy is it for us to feel as gung-ho about, say, their extended unemployment?
You know that friend who gets you the gift she would have wanted instead of the one you did? That’s an example of this projection. But instead of the pain and confusion that projection causes, what if we women instead embraced the ways our desires differ from our husbands’? There are some responsibilities men have to women and some women have to men. Taking care of yourself is one of those responsibilities.
This is an appeal to women in healthy, loving marriages. It’s not an excuse for cruel behavior or dangerous fad diets. Your husband doesn’t—and you shouldn’t surround yourself with anyone who does—want you to be thin at the expense of being unhealthy, super stressed, or extreme with your fitness regimen.
While women’s looks are important to men, they are the most important thing only if you married a pig. This is not about the pursuit of perfection, but rather, about achieving your best self. Your husband knew you weren’t a Victoria’s Secret model when he popped the question, and he won’t expect you to look like Gisele Bundchen now, especially after years together and possibly growing tiny humans in your body. He doesn’t see the thousand nitpicky flaws you obsess over in the mirror, but he does notice the general shape of your body in comparison to when he met you (if not the particular dress you put on it).
Instead, try shifting your appearance a notch or two up your priorities list. Cultivate an active lifestyle or carve out the time to work out regularly, and curb your caloric indulgences. Wear clothes that flatter you instead of those that are just easiest to reach for. Even in the busiest of schedules, find the five minutes to put on a little lipstick or a spritz of the perfume you used back when the two of you were dating. He’ll appreciate you making the effort.
Give Those You Love Your Best, Not Your Worst
There is a Marilyn Monroe quote that frequents social media profiles these days: “if you can’t handle me at my worst, you don’t deserve my best.” This sentiment—that if they’re truly in love, men should just put up with any amount of negative behavior and presentation from women without even voicing a complaint—is echoed in romantic Hollywood movies, and dressed up as female liberation from the “male gaze” or the Patriarchy™.
But if you’re truly in love, why would you want to make the man who loves you put up with your worst? Really, it boils down to an ideological, you-go-girl gloss on selfishness.
Not because married people shouldn’t stick by each other through the worst of times (they should), but because feminist ideology has given us ladies license to give our husbands the worst of ourselves, and to feel “empowered” by giving those we ostensibly love the most the least effort. The female selfishness that our culture lauds manifests in a variety of ways, but one of them is disregard for male needs and desires simply because they’re male.
One of these culturally-verboten male needs is wanting a wife he can get excited looking at. There’s nothing wrong with this male desire (obviously, as with any healthy desire, it can be destructive if not coupled with common sense and moral guardrails). But being raised entirely in a post-feminist movement culture has made a generation of women not only unable to recognize what makes men happy, it’s made even saying what many men want out loud unthinkable.
It’s sad that working towards something that makes someone you love happy has become so toxic in our environment.
It’s best to make a good-faith effort to stay in shape and keep up your beauty routine for yourself, of course, but if you’re happy in those sweats with the “holiday weight” starting to pile on, do not be afraid to consider your husband’s happiness, and how important your physical appearance might be to him. Making an effort to please the man you married is not an act of sisterhood betrayal. Honoring your husband’s masculine nature—and the desires that come with it—is one of the best gifts you can give the man you love.