While our daughters were growing up, I tried not to step on a scale and encouraged them to do the same. I didn’t want our girls to obsess over their weight. I purged the house of women’s magazines with skinny models and drove Cami and Lacy to soccer, volleyball, and horseback riding lessons. I wanted our girls to be strong. To be healthy. Not driven by thinness and beauty. I wanted them to realize their bodies were temples of God’s Holy Spirit, a house for their souls, and a gift to their husbands when that day came.
When I began having children, my hips widened and my breasts drooped after nursing our offspring. I didn’t really like my new body. By the time I hit thirty, with three babies under my belt, I’d become obsessed with how I looked. Staying beautiful was a battle. And cost a lot of money. I will never forget the day I dumped Glamor Magazine and Cosmopolitan in the trash, stopped buying expensive makeup, and said good riddance to the beauty battle.
It took turning my life over to Jesus to escape the tyranny of vanity.
Fortunately, my girls hadn’t hit puberty yet when this miraculous transformation occurred. By the time they entered their teenage years, I was focused on teaching them to be strong and kind, rather than slim and pretty.
Now that my daughters are becoming mothers themselves, Cami has baby, Kara and Lacy said I can share– she’s pregnant– due in March, I hope to teach my daughters that their bodies aren’t made to be perfect, they’re made to be useful. Childbirth changes your body, but what a miracle that you can grow another little human inside you. And how amazing that you bring pleasure to your husband just by sharing yourself with him. Your body is the gift, you just have to give it.
“The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife” 1 Corinthians 7:4.
In today’s world, it’s so easy to forget this command that our bodies belong to God and to our husbands. Millions of women assert that it’s their body. They have the right to do anything they want with their own flesh and bones, but the Bible begs to differ.
A number of times, I’ve addressed body image in this blog, hoping to help younger women make peace with their bodies. But today I don’t want to talk about image, I want to discuss usefulness. Since I became a farmer, I no longer have pretty hands. My hands are tools to get the work done. I try to keep them clean, but they sure aren’t beautiful. They are useful.
After having a baby, your youthful body may be battered, but you have given your husband children. Most husbands will love your womanly body that has blessed him with sons and daughters. My husband has talked to a lot of men while teaching about biblical marriage. Men rarely mention the shape of their wife, but many say they wish they had more of her. More of her time. More of her attention. More access to her body.
The truth is you don’t have to be in great shape to have great sex but you must be willing to open yourself to your partner. I know so many women who use sex to control the relationship. If your husband does what you want, you reward him with sex. If he disappoints you or makes you angry, no sex for days, or weeks, or months. Even years. This damages a marriage on a very deep level. And you are disobeying God by withholding your body from your husband. The Bible says you must yield yourself to your husband and he must do the same.
And as you yield, I hope you realize you don’t have to look like a supermodel to make your husband happy. In fact, most men prefer a normal, healthy woman’s body in their bed. Keep in mind, your husband can pay someone else to do his laundry or clean his house or nanny his children, but only you should warm his bed. Perhaps you’re thinking this is all old-fashioned talk. Many husbands today do their own laundry and clean the house and help with the kids, but they still have the same problem men have had throughout the ages. Sex is a looming door leading to sin in their lives. The Bible says depriving a spouse of sex leads to temptation, which can lead to infidelity.
It also leads to major dysfunction in a marriage. Did you know that your body naturally releases feel-good hormones when you hug and kiss and make love? Oxytocin is the “love” hormone released upon physical contact. Intercourse and childbirth release major amounts of oxytocin, which provides feelings of love and trust in a relationship. Even simply hugging your husband will release this hormone.
God created your body to give and receive love. Your body doesn’t need to be perfect, it needs to be useful. Go use it for the glory of God and the good of your husband and children.