Reader Question of the Week: My Husband Doesn’t Find Me Attractive

'Questions?' photo (c) 2008, Valerie Everett - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Every weekend I like to post a question someone sends in and let you readers have a go at it. This week’s question comes from a reader, who needs some advice:

I have always struggled with my weight. I go up and down by 10 pounds quite a lot. And since the babies came, my weight is now on average about 25 pounds heavier than it was when we got married.

My husband came to me recently and said that he just doesn’t get turned on by looking at me anymore. He doesn’t find me attractive.

That devastated me, and I told him, and he’s apologized. But I can’t get that thought out of my head that he doesn’t like how I look. I want to lose weight, but it really isn’t easy. And I find myself propositioning him for sex, but he often says no. What do I do?

What do you think?  How should she handle this?

UPDATE: I’m really uncomfortable with the direction the comments are taking and thought I should just chime in.

The comments seem to be blaming the woman here quite a bit, when the truth is we don’t know very much about the situation. That’s partly my fault; I received three almost identical emails, and tried to make one generic one out of them that captured the similarities. This question isn’t about ONE woman; it’s about all of the people who deal with similar problems, and that’s why I try to make them generic. But I am wondering why so many are so quick to lay the blame entirely at the woman’s feet?

There’s talk in the comments, for instance, that gaining 25 pounds is sinful. I find that really disturbing. I think I know about 3 women who are the same weight twenty years after giving birth that they were in their early twenties. Our metabolism slows down as we age. People NATURALLY gain weight, and it becomes much harder to keep it off. As we age we are simply not as attractive as we were in our early twenties. We get wrinkles. We get moles. We get stretch marks. Skin sags, even if you’re in great shape. We get cellulite. These are all facts. To look the same at 45 requires a vast amount of work–an amount of work that may not be possible if one has multiple children, or is working full-time plus raising kids, etc. etc. We all have multiple responsibilities. For me to get down to 114 pounds, which is what I was when I was married, would likely require about 2 hours of working out a day.

I absolutely believe that women need to make an effort to keep up their appearance, as I’ve written about numerous times. I absolutely believe that the issue of choosing “comfort” over looking good is a huge mistake many women make, and one that is not honouring to their husbands. I absolutely believe that women, if health issues are not involved, should not allow themselves to balloon up.

But to say that 25 pounds is sinful is a stretch.

So let me take a stab at how I would answer this. Here are a few guidelines for how I tend to respond to readers when I don’t know the whole situation. I point out the different things which could be issues; I point out where they can each improve; and I suggest ways of talking to their husbands about it. I don’t try to take sides because we don’t know. So here’s what I would say:

I understand how hurtful that must be to you. We want to feel desired by our husbands; we’re hardwired to feel that way. To think that we don’t excite them is devastating. I’m sorry you’re experiencing this.

I don’t know all of the details about your situation, but here are just a few things off of the top of my head:

Sex is supposed to unite us in multiple ways–physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Yes, it’s wonderful physically, and yes, men are hard-wired to be visually stimulated. But sex is also so much more than that. What I’ve seen over the last few years of marriage ministry is that because more and more men (and women!) have been involved with pornography at some point in their lives, more and more men are finding it difficult to become aroused within marriage with a real person. They’re looking for an idealized version of a supermodel, and that can be very damaging to your relationship. I’d just talk openly with your husband about whether he has used porn, or whether he is currently using porn. The fact that he is refusing sex concerns me, and I just wonder if this could be at the root of it.

I’m not saying he is; those are just warning signs to me, and I think every wife needs to be sure that this isn’t a factor in her marriage.

Okay, now what if he’s not using porn (or not dealing with the lingering effects of past porn use)?

I’d also talk to him about how you can work on feeling more intimate together. How can you feel closer? As you feel more intimate, say by sharing your hearts more, praying together more, spending time together more, you naturally also want to feel sexier together. So work on building your friendship and your spiritual life and you may find that the sexual comes along again, too. Sometimes the reason that the sexual falls by the wayside is that we prioritize other things in our lives, like our kids or our jobs. And then the marriage loses its passion. Men, especially, can feel very hurt if they believe we are putting other things in front of them. So don’t let kids come before your man!

Then make sex about real intimacy, too. When we feel truly one, it actually feels better physically, too. Talk to your husband about how much you want to experience great intimacy, and find out his take on what intimacy means to him.

Now let’s turn to you. Sexual attraction is a really finicky thing. Much of it is related to physical appearance, but it isn’t all related to appearance. A lot of it is just attitude. When we act sexy–say by being extra passionate, by kissing him a lot, by flirting with him, etc., he can start to get his engines going again, too. And you can do this no matter what weight you’re at! The key is to show him that you do still consider yourself a sexual being, even after the kids. Dress so that he notices you. Take pride in your appearance. And go out of your way to flirt. It sounds like you are doing some of this–you mentioned that you do proposition him–and that’s great. Men do need to feel wanted.

And it sounds like you are trying to lose weight, which is wonderful. One of the reasons we have difficulty with it, though, is that it just takes so much time. Talk to him about that. Say something like, “I’d love to lose weight, but I would need to go to the gym for two hours three times a week. That’s six hours. Can we brainstorm about what I’m NOT going to do in order to squeeze in the gym? Can you do the bedtime routine three times a week? Can we afford to hire a maid? Can we decide that we won’t eat very elaborate meals?” In other words, get him involved in this so he’s on board, and you don’t feel as if losing weight is just one more thing to add to your already full plate. Let him help you figure out how to find the time and/or the money. Show him that you take his concerns seriously, but ask him to help you with it.

Finally, I’d really talk to him about how he hurt you, and about the fact that he’s still refusing sex. If he says he’s sorry, but he’s still refusing, then that likely means there’s still more going on here below the surface. I think it would be a very good idea to talk to a third party about this–either a marriage counselor or a mentor couple.

Okay, so my answer would be something like that. Here’s what he may be doing wrong; here’s where you can improve how you function as a couple; here’s how you can work on yourself. I know you all can’t comment in that much detail, and I don’t expect you to. But please, let’s refrain from automatically blaming one (he must use porn!), or the other (she must be lazy!). Remember that there are people reading this who have similar issues; it’s not just about the individual letter writer. For each person who writes in there are so many more dealing with something very similar. Automatically assigning blame to one party isn’t helpful because you don’t know the story (and each person’s story will be different). Giving general principles of how to deal with both sides of the issue is more helpful.

And honestly, if people keep blaming one side or the other I may just stop the reader questions altogether. I don’t think they’re helpful in that case. I hope you all understand.

Update: I answered this more fully here: what happens when your spouse doesn’t find you attractive.

Comments

  1. This is a sign of a much larger issue and should be treated as such. 25 extra pounds is not obese.

  2. I agree with Mimi. Something else is going on. 25 extra lbs is hardly an out of control letting yourself go situation. My immediate thought was him justifying a reason to have an affair. Have you confronted him about this possibility?

  3. Work hard to lose weight, let him know that if it matters to him, then it matters to u!

    • ButterflyWings says:

      You assume this poor woman hasn’t already. Not all weight gain is from overeating and lack of exercise. If a woman doesn’t lose weight and has genuinely tried diet and exercise, then there is usually an underlying medical issue. Which requires a doctor to correctly diagnose (which can take years) and even IF there is a treatment, the treatment may only stop further weight gain and not lead to weight loss. No matter how much any woman loves her husband, having it “matter” to her won’t fix a biological problem.

  4. Men are extremely visual. I am not sure it is something they can help. He probably would love to be attracted to his wife but he was just being honest with her. Fat is not attractive…It is very hard to lose for many people, however. It is a tough situation. I would encourage her to do everything she could to lose the weight. Eat healthy. Exercise. Her husband would appreciate her trying. In the meantime, start learning to be joyful around him. Smile at him a lot. Laugh at his jokes. Stop arguing with him. Allow him to be the leader. Learn what makes him happy. Men are very drawn to joyful and content women. This may be all he needs to find you attractive!
    Lori recently posted…White Flag Of SurrenderMy Profile

    • Michelle says:

      All he needs?? The problem sounds like it’s him, not her. Please don’t pile more superficial expectations in this girl. It’s very possible he is addicted to porn and wanting her to live up to some kind of fake ideal. 25 pounds overweight is neither unattractive or a reason for him not to love her like he should.

      • ButterflyWings says:

        Totally agree with Michelle. 25 pounds bigger may not even be overweight. We don’t know this woman’s starting weight and 25 pounds can be a single dress size to someone women (two sizes at most).

        You make a lot of assumptions about this poor woman – you assume she isn’t already eating healthy and exercising lots. Any man who says what he said would NOT appreciate his wife “trying”. Shallow men like that only appreciate there wife ACTUALLY losing weight. She could be living on lettuce leaves and water and flogging herself at a the gym for hours every day and it would not make a lick of difference.

        I know because I’ve been there with my first husband. I had several serious medical problems – one which I had the choice of die without medication or take medication which usually causes massive weight gain – my doctor was constantly saying (in front of my husband) that it was a miracle that I wasn’t gaining more weight. I strictly dieted (partly because I didn’t want to gain more weight and partly because he was taking all our food money and spending it on drugs so I had the choice of feed my daughter or feed myself so I often went without food) and against medical advice, I kept exercising every opportunity. But it was never enough for my husband. Even though he knew I was pushing myself so hard that the doctors said I’d be in a wheelchair in ten years if I didn’t stop, it still wasn’t enough for my husband that I was trying to lose weight.

        “Trying” means nothing to shallow men that are so obsessed about appearance. All they care about is having a stick thin wife even if it literally kills her to get there.

        “In the meantime, start learning to be joyful around him. Smile at him a lot. Laugh at his jokes. Stop arguing with him. Allow him to be the leader. Learn what makes him happy. Men are very drawn to joyful and content women.”

        I’m sorry, but that’s really cruel to say to the original poster. You say things like LEARN to be joyful, STOP arguing, ALLOW him to be leader – how do you know this poor woman hasn’t already been doing these things? She never said she wasn’t joyful, she never said she was arguing with him, she never said she wasn’t allowing him to be a leader. In my first marriage, I did all of those things. I never argued with my husband right up until the last few months of our marriage, when his violence and criminal behaviour was endangering our daughter’s life. I always allowed him to be leader, never standing up to him even when he beat me – only standing up to him when he started trying to physically harm our daughter – the one exception was him asking me to be involved in his criminal activities like his drug dealing which I had to refuse. And except for the brief times when I was in too much pain from the beatings, I pretended to be happy around him – if only so I didn’t cop another beating.

        Even if you do everything humanly possible, it is not enough for some men. My husband wanted a size 0 woman who was happy to do despicable acts (eg involving a third person in our sex life for example), who would actively participate in drug use and drug dealing with him and would take a beating from him with a smile. Anything less than that wasn’t good enough for him and never would be.

        Quite simply, no matter what you do for some men, it is not enough. Telling a woman who is being put down that SHE 1. should try harder to mould herself to her husband’s shallow (and probably impossible ideals) and 2. obviously isn’t being a good wife, implying that she is arguing, not following his lead and not being joyful, is just kicking someone when they’re already down.

        I know you’re only trying to help, but this kind of “help” is the last thing someone in this situation needs. Having been there myself, all it does is make someone who has already been put down feel even more attacked.

  5. Yes Maggie! And very good observation. my husband tells me how beautiful I am often… I am obese. I try to lose and do my best. My husband isn’t even a Christian but is very loving to me and understanding. Accepts me as I am and has never said such a horrible thing to me.
    I bet money he wants to push her down si he can justify something else. Smells to high heaven to me too.
    We are to be kind, gentle to those we love. This is not kind or godly in my opinion. Thank god I am not married to someone like that. They would probably oink at me when I ate anything! And I have dated such men. They act superior and then say things like this and when you get upset they blame you.
    Very typical abusivec behavior.

  6. Lori…
    Just because you eat healthy and workout doesn’t mean you will lose the weight. There are many different reasons why. You probably think I am ugly too. Ok. Some people do base you on superficial aspects. Thank god I am not as shallow as that. I may be fat but I am def not ugly. I had modeled in magazines and I have been paid well for that.

  7. I do agree that we all have a responsibility to keep ourselves as attractive as possible for our mates.

    That being said, once you’ve had kids, your body changes. It just does. And I get emails all the time from women saying similar things: my husband doesn’t like my body now, even though he’s the one who participated in her body becoming that way!

    I do not think that this problem is hers to own, and I believe that biblically.

    Proverbs 5:19 says:

    As a loving hind and a graceful doe, Let her breasts satisfy you at all times.

    That is directed at MEN. It does not say, “wives, make sure you’re in good shape so that your breasts satisfy your husband.” It says to men (and the context is older men married to older women): take satisfaction in her breasts. The onus is on the man.

    I think that’s true the other way, too. We, as women, are to let our husbands satisfy us. And sometimes that is hard if they are really obese. That’s a whole other question I’ve dealt with before, but here, let me just say that it is not biblical to tell one’s wife “I don’t like your body anymore”. And it is so, so damaging.

  8. Jennifer says:

    The worst thing you can do is start feeling self conscious. The BEST thing you can do is be confident. Own it!!! Be a vixen in the bedroom (or anywhere else!). He never should have spoken to you about this issue the way that he did, but too late for that. Don’t wallow in pity. Use this opportunity to become a more “Sexually Confident Wife” (book by Shannon Etheridge).

  9. If a man spoke that way to me whether I was 25 or 250 pounds overweight… I surely won’t try to please him or go to bed with him. His butt would be in marriage counseling! This is emotional abuse. And it’s not ok. And for other women to condone this. Is just awful.

  10. I hope this doesn’t come off as rude or unloving, but perhaps the best thing to do is try to lose the weight. She told him it hurt her feelings, and he apologized. I don’t think he is necessarily trying to be cruel. Would you rather he simply not tell you and remain in that state, and you never have a chance to work on it? I know the idea is that he’s supposed to love no matter what–sickness and health, etc. And he didn’t say that he had stopped loving her. But he probably was interested in the first place long ago because of some sense of physical attraction. I know if the shoe were on the other foot, I would want to know–and I would make every effort to do what it takes to maximize my wife’s attraction to me. As it is now, she’s the only person whose opinion I care about regarding my haircut, clothes, etc. Please note: none of this implies a license for bad behavior on his part, nor obligates her to jump through hoops for his approval. I’m not saying that if she can’t or won’t lose x pounds, she is somehow in the wrong. But he’s also not wrong for telling her how he feels.

    • Larry, I appreciate your heart in your comment. I can tell that you are just trying to help us women understand a male perspective. What I’m wondering is if he could have worded it differently. Instead of saying, I’m not attracted to you anymore, couldn’t he have instead asked her to go on a walk with him? Maybe initiated them exercising together. Again, like so many have said, a lack of exercise isn’t always the problem. I just think maybe he could have said it differently so he didn’t crush his wife’s self-esteem. Women are (often times but not always) insecure, and it doesn’t take much to make her feel bad about herself.
      Lindsey Bell recently posted…Loving the Woman Who Wants a Baby (but doesn’t have one)My Profile

  11. daniellendavis@gmail.com says:

    This is an incredibly painful and difficult thing to face. My challenge to her would be to seek out healing and help from the Lord. This wound will not heal quickly nor will losing the weight cause it to heal. It is a devasating thing to find out your husband isn’t attracted to you. If its an option I would see if he is willing to go to a counslor. To work towards healing. I personally had to face the death of the dream I had as a little girl that I would be found beautiful in my husbands eyes. I realized that the emotions I felt were very similar to greiving. My husband is a goodhearted man who loves Jesus and felt he was just being honest with his wife. We had many heart to hearts to work towards healing. I still have days of devastation where the tears flow freely as I try to heal. But I trust my Jesus and know that He will give me beauty for these ashes. I would challenge her to workout and change her diet as a way to serve the Lord in honoring her husband. For me as I have kept my eyes on Jesus and sought His face I have seen healing in my heart and marriage. It is so easy to play the blame game but at some point you have to let it go and take on the mind of Christ and put your husbands desires above your own. I see every workout as a chance to show my love to my husband. We sat down and talked about what is important, what things make him feel loved and what things for me. I found out that a clean house, dinner being made and many other things I thought were important to him were not. He would rather I spend that time working out or doing meal planning to be healthy and he was willing to do more around the house to give me the time to workout. Each marriage is unique and I would challenge you to bring it to the Lord first and then have a conversation with your husband about what needs to change. I bet he is willing to help and serve you, I also bet he is willing to hear what you need more of in your marriage.

  12. Wow. I am really beginning to appreciate my atheist good hearted husband more and more.

  13. Scarlett says:

    I’m 52 and have had 8 children, and by my calculations I have lost 325 lbs. since I got married, up and down, with all those pregnancies. I have been in pretty amazing shape for most of my married life, with a husband, who, over the years, has made some unkind remarks very similar to this. In my younger years I did not recognize it for what it was–abusive. Maybe in this case it isn’t, but the comments that suggest that this could be part of a larger issue need to be taken seriously. Five years ago I had a major nervous breakdown, with doctors,telling me that I must figure out the root of my stress in order to live. I learned, painfully but miraculously, was that the root of my stress was my marriage relationship. The classic pleaser married to a cruel controller. The remarks about my body were only the tip of the iceberg as far as controlling behavior goes. I’d suggest that the reader google ‘emotional abuse’ (in Christian marriages also) because there are some good resources online that might set her on a path of self-discovery and healing. Sometimes women can’t lose weight because it is an emotional issue, and a coping mechanism. Are overweight people unhappy because they are overweight or overweight because they’re unhappy? And I also second the idea that the remark is covering behavior of the husband’s–in the case of my marriage it was porn. We are parenting our children together but haven’t resolved much of anything. Separate bedrooms work best for us.

  14. Wonderful and brave post Scarlett and very right on. God bless you!

  15. Awareness and the ability to accept self criticism is the key to the personal growth and improvement of all of us. It is so easy to eat an extra 100 calories a day and in two years we weigh 25 lbs more. We are programmed in our society to avoid the subject of weight with our kids and our spouse and this is wrong. It should be addressed when our spouse is 5-7 pounds heavy, not wait until 10-25 lbs heavy.

    Millions of people lose 20 lbs every year. It is not fun, it is not enjoyable, BUT if this women lost 20 lbs for the sake of her husband, she would be the big winner. She would feel better about herself, her health would improve, and she would regain the attractiveness requested by her husband.

    The husband should have phrased his thoughts differently, and instead of saying she was not “attractive” to him, he should have asked her to lose ten pounds. She then should ask him to help her set up a system to lose weight with changed eating habits and adding two miles of walking or other exercise a day. It is obvious she needs help to get back in shape, and accountability and encouragement, praise and appreciation for even small successes, is what is necessary to attain a good and healthy goal.

    What I am aware of I can change. What I am unaware of controls me for I have no hope of changing it. We should desire the constructive criticisms from our spouse by asking for them, and dealing with all issues in a straight and honest way.

    Mimi, your comments are pretty unhelpful. Yes, if she has a thyroid problem or other reason she cannot lose weight, then this would still need to be addressed with a doctor, and exercise. And what do we want the husband to say if the wife says, “Do you find me attractive?” Should he lie to her? Put the focus where it belongs. In most cases 25 lbs overweight is sinful. Let’s deal with the sin.

    • ButterflyWings says:

      I would beg differ. In most cases being 25 pounds overweight is not sinful. Maybe in a few cases, but far from most. Even when it’s not caused by a medical condition like an underactive thyroid, it is usually caused by something beyond a woman’s control eg having children. It is not sinful to have been through all the physical cost of a pregnancy and come out the other size with the cost of being blessed with children having gained a little weight.

      Doctor’s aren’t all they are cracked up to be. Doctors missed for a decade I had a thyroid problem (despite going back over many blood tests over the years showing that it had been long standing). It was doctors who seriously misdiagnosed a complication of my daughter’s birth and rather than deal with it, instead insisted I take hormonal contraceptives to stop having periods to avoid the issue for ten years which is what caused my weight gain – every time I tried a different method, I gained 10kg in the first 1-2 weeks (and a botched implanon implant the third time I got one, meant I gained an extra 10kg in the first week after the 4th one was implanted). It took 10 years before a specialist bothered listening to me and has started investigating the underlying problem. And around a decade ago I developed a life threatening condition that I had to start taking medication for that unfortunately I gained 5-15kg in the first 1-2 weeks every year or two when I had to change meds.

      I eat decently and I am literally killing what’s left of my health exercising as much as I can and all I can do is hold my weight steady. Thankfully I am blessed with a husband who isn’t shallow about looks, and he is the one begging me to STOP exercising as much. He texts me everytime I go to the gym to beg me to do less.

      And he’s not the only. I’ve lost track of how many doctors tell me to exercise less – every single doctor I tell about how much I exercise, I get a lecture about how I’m overdoing it and should pull back. But I figure I’m already crippled, I don’t want to gain more weight (which is what I do whenever I take even a short break from exercise) so does it really matter if I can’t walk at all in ten years – it will happen in 15-20 anyway.

      Exercise isn’t a magic cure to fixing being overweight and there are some problems doctors just plain can’t fix.

      Ignoring all that, I have met less than 1% of overweight people whose obesity is from sin. Some are overweight from medical problems, some are overweight from a life issue (eg having a baby, changing from a physical job to a desk job or becoming a stay at home mum, etc) and others are overweight due to a temporary personal situation (simply overeating for a few weeks due to grief after the death of a loved one for example). None of those are sin. And for people from the last two categories (change of lifestyle or temporary personal situation), it often is only temporary and is already on the way to being fixed on it’s own when the return to normal life after the situation has passed (reasonable amount of time after giving birth or the grief has lifted).

      What’s not helpful is attacking overweight people for being “sinful” and tell them to just deal with the sin.

      Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. What is sinful is to even assume that 25 pounds overweight is even not a good thing. Who defines what is 25 pounds overweight anyway? As a health professional, I can tell you that what one person calls “25 pounds overweight” is often perfectly healthy. BMI is not a good indicator unless a person is spot on average height (the shorter or taller you are, the more inaccurate it is), and different people have different body structures. And quite simply, many people who are obsessed with being model stick thin, “25 pounds overweight” can simply be in the healthy weight range anyway – it’s just 25 pounds heavier than an anorexic porn star that some guys are obsessed with.

      Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and the problem is nearly always with the beholder’s eye, not the person being judged by their size.

  16. Anonymous says:

    This is complex and will make both sides angry so bear with me….first, men are very visual. It’s a fact. Trying to change that is like saying a woman’s body isn’t supposed to change after pregnancy. Also, when the shoe is on the other foot. Well how many times over the last year have we heard from women about men who don’t shower, toenails, dress, and even weight. I’ve seen it dozens of times from women towards their husbands on this very sight and it all comes down to upkeep. So yes, the wife bears responsiblity for upkeep. Also, how many times a week do we hear women here begging for their husbands to be honest with them? Yes, it hurt…but at least now you can deal with the problem

    That said 25lbs is not that big of number. I have no idea of the woman’s age or what her starting # was. Being 25# is on the smaller side as numbers go for after women have given birth to several children and aged it makes me think he is getting visual stimuli elsewhere. Now years ago my wife wasn’t chasing me sexually which is why I made the aweful mistake of seeking that visual stimuli elsewhere, so he especially has no excuse because she seems to be seeking him out. But yes, if we are seeing too much skin elsewhere, but especially porn this will happen. And it doesn’t have to be heavy use…that usually has a whole different set of caution signals. But even too much late night TV can have this effect. Heck, too much time in town in the middle of summer with the way women dress these days can have this effect. So he bears responsiblity also. And if he’s watching porn most of it and needs to repent and change ASAP.

    My wife is probably 40 lbs overweight and I chase her around like she’s a Victoria Secrets model and can’t get enough of her. That said, she knows how to dress right and presents herself well. To this day there is a couple outfits she wears (jeans with tennis shoes and yoga pants) that are like mosquito repellent. We are visual creatures and it’s something that is almost as impossible to set aside as baby weight. I’d rush hades with a bucket of water for my wife. I love her more than anything but yes presentation does matter- ALOT. The other key besides presenting the weight well if indeed it’s almost impossible to lose the weight is attitude. The vixen comment above is spot on. Being respectful, playful, fun, available and sexy drops at least 25lbs (probably more like 50!) from a man’s eyes instantly.

    • I pretty much agree with this whole thing! Thank you. And I TOTALLY agree with the vixen comment. “Sexy is as sexy does.”

    • ButterflyWings says:

      Anonymous, while I agree with you there are a lot of shallow women out there who also judge their husbands by their weight and that it’s wrong, comparing being overweight with foul hygiene practices is not a fair comparison.

      Even for those who can change their weight, it’s not an easy process and does take time (sometimes a lot of time) no matter how hard someone is trying. Hygiene on the other hand, is a very different matter.

      I wouldn’t care if my husband was three times his weight, I’d still be attracted to him. But if he decided not to shower for a week? I couldn’t bare to be in the same room as him. I’d still be physically attracted him, but (despite being a nurse who deals with all sorts of feral smells) I could not physically handle the stench. Having a shower requires no effort at all – you just walk in, turn the water on, rub a little soap, walk out and dry yourself.

      I can live with my husband skipping showers some days, sometimes he’ll even go up to three days without. I can live with that. But when he does that AND wears the same pair of socks for a week, then it’s pushing it. I spent half an hour vomitting the other night after he did precisely that and then put his feet in my lap – it smells worse than anything I’ve smelt in my job and I’ve smelt a LOT of bad things at work. Simple things like showering at least every second day and changing socks is no comparison to being overweight at all.

      I do understand the whole visual thing – I love checking out my husband, always have. I hate how he won’t be naked in front of me and won’t even take his shirt off when we’re intimate (this is despite the fact he is very good looking and a healthy weight and has a great body). But as I said, even if he was three times his weight, I would still love checking him out just as much. It’s purely a mindset.

      My first husband varied greatly in weight during our time together. When he first met, he was anorexic looking (he was unemployed and only ate one meal a day at best because it was all he could afford), when we started dating and he started eating properly, he got back up to a healthy weight. After we married, he let himself go and became very overweight, then after the birth of our daughter and he got back heavily intro drugs, he started skipping meals to save money to buy more drugs and became skinny again. Honestly in all that time (when he literally varied from a BMI of around 16 up to a BMI of around 40), I honestly felt no difference in attraction – I thought he was hot the whole time. In fact, the only reason I notice visually the huge variation in his weight was going back and looking at photos of him throughout our relationship after we divorced and I realised the physical attraction I felt the whole time had purely been a mindset of I loved him so I loved his body no matter what it looked like.

      And that’s ultimately what it should be in marriage – we should be physically attracted to our spouse no matter what they look like – big, small, young, old. We all get old – we don’t stay a hot 20 year old for the rest of our lives. The bible is full of passages about enjoying our partner’s bodies as they age. You’re right about making the best of what we have – the bible also talks about taking care of our bodies, that they are a temple. The beauty of temples is they too come in all shapes and sizes – it’s about making what we have beautiful, not about trying to make them into something they aren’t.

      But yeah, not doing basic hygiene like taking regular showers (at least every second day depending on physical activity and environmental temperature) isn’t about looks – it’s about basic body respect and taking care of the body God has given us and by not hurting others with putrid body odour etc.

  17. Well bootsy that is your opinion.

  18. First, let’s speak politely to each other, okay? We don’t have to agree with each other, but it’s likely best to deal with the original comment, and not try to correct other commenters too much.

    I personally believe this is a far bigger issue than just “he doesn’t find her attractive”. If he’s refusing sex there is something else going on, and telling her just to lose the weight is not enough, in my opinion. Too many people, both men and women, see sex in solely physical terms, and no longer understand the beauty of real intimacy. A couple needs real intimacy, and you do not need a supermodel’s body for that.

    Again, I do believe that everyone, both men and women, has an obligation to keep attractive for their spouse. That’s why I spent so long on my Fight the Frump week! But at the same time, when I hear of a man refusing to have sex with his wife because she’s gained 25 pounds, then I think this issue needs to be laid at least partially at the man’s feet, especially since the man is the one told by God to let her breasts satisfy him.

    We have made sex too much about having perfect bodies, and not enough about how connect at a truly deep level. I just find it really sad. Very few of us have perfect bodies, even those who work out tremendously. I’ll never have a very large chest without surgery. Yet my husband has never, ever said “I wish you were bustier.” I’d never make it in Hollywood with the body I have, and yet I get emails all the time from women saying, “my husband doesn’t like this” or “my husband doesn’t like that.”

    At some point we have to reclaim sex, and say that it is about expressing intimacy between two people, and not about recreating Hollywood ideals of beauty, you know?

    • ButterflyWings says:

      *like* !!!!

      I think that’s one of the most damaging things about the porn industry. It destroys intimacy by putting unreal expectations in the minds of men (and as a flow on effect, in the minds of women). Men feel bad because they don’t have humongous “parts” and women are made to feel bad (either by themselves or by their partners – or worse, by other women a lot of the time) because they don’t have a body like barbie (excessively tall, with a microscopic waist and humongous “assets”).

      Ironically in many cultures, the unhealthy obsession with being sickly skinny doesn’t even come into it. In many cultures, particularly in the past, being curvy was what was seen as healthy and good looking – and in some cultures, the bigger a woman was, the more desirable she was seen to be.

      It’s all about mindset and what we are forcefed to believe “beauty” is. Physical attractiveness should be about desiring our spouse no matter what their body looks like, and body size should be about being the healthiest we can be, not about some pre determined height to weight ratio.

      I do a lot of sport, and some of the most beautiful and healthy looking women I know are well and truly into the “overweight” range because they are weight lifters, wrestlers and martial artists – yet they are amongst the healthiest and fittest people imaginable. It’s not about weight, it’s about health. That’s what should matter.

    • There is nothing you can do about your boobs being small, and your husband liked what he was getting when he married you. There is no fraud on your part, and you are doing nothing wrong. I myself am not a boob man, but my wife has other assets I like very much, especially her slender shape.

      The situation you gave is not 10 or 15 lbs overweight, it’s 25 lbs, which on most women will be obese AND for most women is controllable. Is it not defrauding a spouse to marry them 25 lbs lighter and then gain the weight and never lose it again? You know it is the fear of many premarrieds that the person they marry, body, mind and soul will not stay in shape and be lazy about life. It is not just a weight thing, as one can get lazy about hard work, going out, making one’s self attractive. The fact he finds her no longer attractive may be many things, and all she thinks it is is weight… when if she explores deeper it may include nagging, laziness, and a general lack of self-discipline.

      I am a big proponent of having both spouses hold each other accountable for ALL areas of life and godliness. Both spouses should be asking the other, “What can I do to make myself a better spouse and person.” Our spouse is God’s instrument to making us holy and acceptable to Him. God cares about our whole being and does not want us to die ten years too young because we are 25 lbs overweight… not to mention all the diseases that come from being overweight.

      • I do hear what you’re saying, but I think you’re overreacting to the 25 pounds. I was 110-114 pounds when we married. I’m now about 25 pounds over that. I think I still look great (as does my husband). By your ratio, though, I’m defrauding him.

        My daughters are absolutely tiny. I know that after they have children they will not be that tiny. I think men need to understand that going into marriage. To expect a woman to look the same (or even to hit within 10 pounds) after giving birth to multiple children is not fair.

        Many, many young girls are really, really skinny at 20. Few of them are at 30. Our bodies just don’t work that way. And they’re not supposed to! We age, we fall apart, our hair turns grey, our metabolism slows.

        We should all make an effort. Absolutely. But to say that if she gains 20-30 pounds she’s defrauding him isn’t fair, I don’t think.

        • OK… you look great! But you must have been a bean pole when you got married.
          For most women 25 lbs heavier is a big deal and only a few distribute their weight evenly. Most people know if they are being sinful or not with their weight and eating habits. I am not perfect, as I carry an extra five pounds and most people laugh when I say I eat a salad with chicken on top five nights a week, and two protein shakes and walk three miles most days. “You…, you are so skinny!” Yes, with clothes on, but if I don’t call a halt to weight gain some where, I will soon be 25 lbs overweight and sinful.

          Do the scriptures not address this important issue and ask us to recognize that our bodies are temples of the HS? Do doctors and the media not address the issue every day and say that even 10 lbs overweight leads to various significant health issues. Forget the attractiveness issue… this is a health issue, and your 114 lbs was artificial squeezing into a wedding dress. Are you sure your weight gain is not that you are in great shape added muscle? Regardless, this example woman is not you and she is admittedly on the edge of sin with the way she is caring for her God given body.

          We in the church must stop tip toeing around this important issue of being overweight in the church. How many pastors stand up each week and rail against sin yet are morbidly obese? Come on… your example is not 10-15 lbs overweight which is on the edge of healthy, she is 20 lbs overweight and no doctor in his right mind is going to tell her she is on the right track. Why should her husband?

          Maybe I have something to learn about 25 lbs being in an acceptable “natural” thing. All the studies I know about never say weight gain is natural. Hormonal changes are natural and muscle turns to fat more easily, we gradually become less active, but don’t reduce calories to compensate. My Bible calls that self-control… exercise less, eat less. There is no “natural excuse for gaining weight.

          Thanks for allowing the disagreement as this is an important issue for each one of us to think through. I actually wish my woman had a few more pounds on her :), but 25 might be a turn off… even though I love her dearly. I am fortunate to be married to a health nut who walks hand in hand with me for three miles each day. Life is about choices. If keeping in shape is a priority… then America… let’s get off our TV watching butts and spend an extra 30 minutes in exercise to overcome our natural hormonal changes. No excuses for most of us.

          • Christine C. says:

            I think if you look at a wide range of people’s bodies, you’ll notice that nobody stays the same shape for the rest of your life.

            My mom was under 100lbs when she got married at 23. She’s in her 60s now, and probably weighs about 120lbs. She’s in great shape, controls her Type 2 diabetes with diet and exercise alone and is extremely physically active. No, she does not have the same body that she used to have. Her bust is fuller, for example, because she breastfed her babies. Her tummy is wiggly because she had multiple pregnancies. Her metabolism slowed down a great deal, and while she was naturally 90lbs at 20, she’s naturally 120lbs at 60. She’s not obese or even overweight. These are the kinds of changes that naturally happen with age.

            I think that we have a very flawed idea of what constitutes a healthy weight. Bootsy, you keep claiming that 25lbs is a significant number to gain over time, and that, on most women, it will push them into the overweight or obese category. The truth is that everyone’s body differs wildly, and that what can be normal or healthy for one person at one point in their life isn’t going to be normal or healthy for the rest of their lives. My mom was a normal, healthy, active teenager and young adult at 90lbs, and she’s a normal, healthy, active older adult now at 120lbs. Maybe she was technically in the “underweight” category of BMI when she was married, but she was perfectly healthy back then.

            I also hate the idea that a person becomes less attractive as they age. Yes, this is true in our youth-obsessed culture, but I think that there’s nothing more beautiful than a mature, Godly woman (even with wrinkles from smiling, and broad hips from having babies) just like there’s nothing handsomer than a mature, Godly man. Youth is beautiful, yes, but there’s something miraculous about the changes that unfold in our bodies, minds and souls as we become older and more experienced.

        • ButterflyWings says:

          I was just thinking the same thing, Sheila.

  19. I am tired of society judging me for being obese. They don’t know my struggles or life or the issues that were brought up here. I am not ugly. I been insulted here for the last time. I try my best. There are many valid reasons why. Thank god my husband loves me as the person I am.

  20. Being an overweight woman myself, I have some thoughts. First of all, I know that my being ovetherweight is the consequence of the choices of what *I* have chosen to put into my mouth and the amount of effort *I* have chosen to expend physically. Over the last 6 months I have lost 18 pounds because I have taken responsibility for my choices. Personally, it’s a cop out to blame pregnancy as the excuse to let ourselves go. Granted, I know there are medical problems that can make it harder. But the way women use the excuse of pregnancy to not be responsible for the choices they make. As women, we think we have the right to complain about our men and their extra hair or whatever. We want to complain about our men, but then whoa, hands off when it’s us.

    Okay, now that I’ve sounded harsh, I’ll probably still sound harsh. Because I truly believe that one can be beautiful regardless of their weight. Now, to say that men must find us sexy at any weight is a stretch because, well, men are visual creatures, and sorry, but morbid obesity (which we’re talking 25 lbs is not) just isn’t the way God intended our bodies to be. That is the result of a sinful fallen world.

    I think society has a tendency to indulge in making ouselves look ugly. We use the excuse of “comfort” and “convenience” to cover us just plain laziness. The solution – put effort into your appearance. Put on nice clothes (and hey – nobody can complain to me about finding flattering clothes – I have seriously the weirdest shaped body ever, and I still can find clothes – how – EFFORT). Put on nice clothes, some lip gloss, nice shoes, a necklace and a SMILE. MAKE YOURSELF be pretty.

    Have a pretty attitude. I think even the most attractive woman can become unattractive in a mans eyes if she is constantly belittling him, disrespecting him, and being selfish. Keep yourself in check and make sure that your attitude is beautiful. Praise him, build him up, encourage him.

    I would think that the results of these two things: effort into appearance and building him up will make you more attractive. And if it doesn’t, then do what you should be doing all along – pray for him, for his heart, that you would see how you can change yourself, and for your marriage. I don’t think it’s fair to expect our men to change if we’re not willing to change ourselves.

    (hugs) from one overweight woman to another – and yes, I’m still on the journey and putting effort into myself, NOT expecting my husband to change, but rather trying to find how I can change.

    • ButterflyWings says:

      That’s great that you were able to lose weight from making changes. Just as long as you (well society in general I mean) can see that not everyone comes from the same situation.

      Not everyone gains weight from bad choices, and not everyone loses it through good choices. I gained the entirety of my weight through medications – two types, one of which I’d die without, and the other I live in constant pain now that I have stopped it after more than a decade of taking it. My weight would remain stable for years, and then when I changed meds, I’d gain anywhere between 5-15kg in the first two weeks of changing.

      I disagree that pregnancy isn’t an exuse. Pregnancy (to some women) can do insane things to hormones. One of my medications (the one I have now stopped) was a hormonal based one, and literally with no change in diet or exercise, changing medications would lead me to gain 10kg in 1-2 weeks. And I’m not using pregnancy as an excuse myself – I had the reverse happen actually. I lost weight during my first trimester of pregnancy despite eating a lot more than I would normally – purely again because of hormones. Even by the time time I gave birth, a day after birth, I was the exact same weight I was before I fell pregnant. Pregnancy hormones do wonders for my body. But I am a freak – chemicals usually do the exact opposite to me what they do to a normal person. For a woman who is sensitive to hormones, her weight can balloon despite eating healthy and exercising throughout her pregnancy, and it doesn’t magically fall off at the end.

      There are a lot of women who do use pregnancy as an excuse to binge eat junk food and gain weight and not exercise at all, but not everyone who gains a lot of weight from pregnancy is in that situation.

      That’s why it’s so important people don’t judge – and don’t comment about whether a woman is “lettting herself go” based purely on her weight. We need to know her situation, know her, before we can assess the situation.

      I’m in the opposite situation to most women though – even though there is nothing I can do about my weight that I’m not already killing myself doing, I try my hardest to dress nicely, stay clean, smell nice, act sexy etc, but my husband doesn’t notice. I could live in a hessian sack and he wouldn’t notice. Maybe if I turned into animated character he’d notice me, but that would probably be the only time.

      • oh girl – you have no idea what I’ve been through. I know what pregnancy can do to a persons hormones. I spent 6 years suffering from post-partum depression and it’s after effects. I was suicidal because of it. Trust me, I know. I’ve lived on that street.

        I don’t judge a person on letting themselves “go” by their weight. But I will admit (because I know I’m not perfect and to say that I never judge would be a lie) that I do judge people on the amount of effort they put into their appearance. If one who is even 150 pounds overweight (I’m thinking of a girl specifically in my town that I know) but puts effort into looking pretty, finding nice clothes, putting on make up, wearing some modest jewelry – she’s *stunning* – she I have not judged as “letting herself go” because she still puts effort into how she looks. But when one runs around that same 150 pounds overweight, in worn out flip-flops, spaghetti strap cami with no bra and wrinkled elastic shorts, uncombed hair, it screams “I don’t care!’ Try as hard as I do to not judge, but it’s just plain unattractive. And I’m not even a man! It’s no wonder why men would say they don’t like it!!!

        • What I was trying to say but wasting words in getting my point out – make an effort to make yourself pretty without losing weight. One doesn’t have to be a supermodel “perfect” body to be attractive.

          • Thank you Lily!

            Nothing changes until one takes responsibility for change. If change is not necessary, like in Sheila’s case, so be it. But to discover if change is necessary, one must be vulnerable to both ask for constructive criticism from their spouse and friends, and be willing to accept it… moving forward from one place to another in life step by step.

            I live is So. Cal where very few women are over weight…and vacation each year in Wisconsin where lost are obese. Blame it on the weather if you like, but to blame it on hormones and pregnancy is not real. It is much harder to stay heavy when everyone around you is generally in shape.

            “I do not find you attractive anymore” should be met with a gentle response…. “So what can I do to make myself attractive to you again and will you help me to achieve it?”

            One might find that what he really means is that the way she is making herself up and carrying her moods is much more unattractive to him than her weight. All things she has control over. If he is just being mean, or not understanding, then communications is still in order to work through the issues.

          • Yes, you are completely right. My husband has told me in the past that I was unattractive. But what that was in response to was two fold: one my attitude (easily changeable), two my appearance (again, easily changeable). Once I put effort into those two things, viola!

  21. Butterfly wings… What a wonderful brave post. Being obese myself… Having lived through horrific childhood abuse and having my mother try to kill me several times. I am just thankful I turned out to be a good person who is not abusive myself. I eat you much cause I have a lot if issues that can’t be fixed with a band aid. Society hates me cause I am fat. Blames me for things beyond my control. I have list 100 pounds over and over and I put it back on. Losing weight is easy its keeping it off that is hard.
    I am dealing with so much that it is a wonder I haven’t had a stroke. Or even killed myself. But no society only cares about how I look not who I am. And this women is what? 25 pounds over weight and some if you are crucifying her over that? What a shame. We have a heartless society.. No wonder we are where we are today. People are heartless.

    • ButterflyWings says:

      I just get so frustrated at times for being judged. I have been knocked back for many jobs over the years purely due to my weight. My husband doesn’t notice or care, but other people say horrible things.

      They aren’t there with me when I constantly have to fight the horrible cravings that come with one of the medications I take – they have no idea what it’s like to be constantly painfully hungry. Yet they judge me for eating at all. I’m on what dieticians like to call “healthy eating” rather than a “diet” but it’s just a fancy name for a diet in the end. But it involves 5 small meals rather than three big ones because that way I eat less overall and it stabilises my blood sugar levels. Yet so many people attack me for being a “pig” for eating 5 days a day and accuse of making it up that it’s medically advised (yet one only has to look into dieting and many diet programs point out that 5 small meals is much healthier than 3 big ones). But it’s easier for them to attack than to help – that’s humanity – it’s easier to tear down a person than build them up sadly.

      I do find it really sweet that my husband keeps nagging me about not pushing myself exercising. I’ve had so many trips to the doctor in the few months we’ve been living together because I’ve pushed on exercising when I should have stopped and it’s sweet he worries. But I’m too scared of gaining weight so I push on harder.

      What frustrates me is that after losing 8kg (just under 20 pounds) last year when I was finally able to stop one of my medications, my weight just plateaued again, and even making myself exercise more hasn’t led to the weight budging at all.

      I do know part of it is stress and lack of sleep and both of those effect my weight,but at the moment, there is nothing I can do about the stress, and the sleep issues are mainly related to the stress and the issues causing the stress. But I’m hoping if I can fix those two issues, maybe hopefully I can lose more weight. I’m also waiting to see a specialist about the gyno/hormonal issues and hoping that treatment may help lose some more weight. But it will be at least 6 months before a specialist will see me due to long wait times to get in.

  22. happywife says:

    This shouldn’t be about whether it is unhealty, sinful, or unattractive to be 5, 25 or 250 pounds overweight. The husband here made a very hurtful comment to his wife. Whether that was his intent or not is not the issue… she was deeply hurt. He apologized, yes, but is still refusing sex. THAT is the issue. He has not shown that he is willing to sacrifice for his wife and love her unconditionally. Her weight is irrelevant at this point. It sounds like she is willing to move forward even while she is still hurting over his comment (“I find myself propositioning him for sex, but he often says no.”) That doesn’t sound like a repentant heart on his part.
    I agree that this couple should seek counselling. There is damage being done in their marriage that needs to be tended to.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m trying to respect Sheila’s one comment thing…but I want to make this point.

      Obviously you are correct. A huge part of this is the refusing of sex. I think the reason people are going where they are going whether that be weight, porn, dress, attitude, hurtful words, etc is because they are trying to get to the reason behind the refusing. I’m the biggest opponent of refusing from either spouse but if we don’t make our best guess at why that is happening the questioner is not helped.

      And lastly, Sheila please delete this if you want…but the whole judging thing. That is what we are being asked to do. Make a judgement about a situation. Are some of those judgements rub each of us the wrong way because of our certain situations, yes…but there is someone on the other side of that situation that is obviously being rubbed the wrong way also. Trust me as a male commentator here I almost always come out on the minority opinion…surprising huh since I am the opposite gender! Very few of us have the opportunity to walk in another’s shoes, especially the other gender’s. If I took everything Sheila and you gals said to me personal I’d long ago taken a long walk off a short bridge. For some reason when I’m arguing a point from either the bible or male perspective some of you think I’m telling you that you are a bad person…I’m not. I’ll never meet you and while I care because you are brothers and sisters in Christ and we will all share heaven some day it really isn’t any skin off my back. So while I agree what this guy said made him look like a boob…that’s the way we guys are. We just say it. I can look at a guy at work and say you smell, you got one enormous nose, dude lay off the pie….that’s men. Do we need to learn to be more gentle with our women, yes. Do our women need to learn to not be so sensitive, yes.

      • very true!

      • ButterflyWings says:

        Anonymous we must hang out with different blokes.

        If I said to my husband or my brothers or any of the guys I know “hey you smell” or “you got a big nose” they’d run out and cry and hide in their bedroom for a week.

        About a year ago, I said out of concern to my brother “Hey X, I’m really worried about you, you weigh more than me these days” he cried and wouldn’t talk to me for weeks.

        Not all guys are the blunt macho stereotype.

        The thing I struggle with personally is the hurtful comments my husband makes (not about weight or looks thankfully) isn’t because “that’s the way guys are”. He’s painfully sensitive and even when there is absolutely no criticism in something (even sometimes things that are compliments), he will take it as an insult eg if I say to him “I think that shirt makes you look really nice (or hot)” he will twist it into thinking that I’m saying anything else he wears is ugly and that means that I’m actually saying he is ugly. He is blunt with me with some incredibly rude and hurtful things, but he has such low self esteem that even when people compliment him, he takes it as an insult and gets hurt.

  23. @Happywife:

    Well stated!!

  24. Danielle says:

    I agree that the refusing sex is the issue right now. He made a hurtful comment, but it was honest. It sounds like it was hurtful because of the content it self, not because of the way it was said. I think it is very important to be honest and that was a good thing. Could he have said it in a better way? Maybe, but I really don’t think it matters how that is said, it would be very painful either way. But I still think that it was good that he was honest, especially if he wants to try to work on it. I think that should be the main goal. Find out what each other thinks should be done about this and work on it. Go to a counselor if needed. But talk to each other and never stop trying to find ways to love and help each other love. If he doesn’t want to try to work on things then I think there is a bigger problem, but right now with the information given I think there is not reason to think the worst, abuse, something bigger, etc. We have not been given enough information to judge that. Could these things be going on, yea, but if I were given the information that my husband could be up to something, when there is no other evidence, it would make things worse.

    • You’re right – the truth hurts. Even when spoken gently.

      (don’t replying here now) I’ve been on the same end of this stick, my husband has told me he didn’t find me attractive. Yes, it hurt. It hurt because he did say it meanly, but even had he said it with a bouquet of roses, it still would have hurt. But it was TRUE. I lost some weight, and just as importantly, I changed my attitude. I quit tearing him down and started building him up. I quit belittling him and being disrespectful and began honoring him. I’m NOT saying I’m perfect. No one is, and anyone who says they are is lying.

      In the end, I didn’t lose dramatic amounts of weight, just 18 pounds, but my entire attitude and heart changed, and THAT made me attractive to him just as much as the 18 pounds lost (and I’m still ~40 pounds overweight).

  25. Everyone is shooting in the dark without knowing what she looks like.

    I don’t even know if she’s 125lbs or 275lbs. “25lbs heavier than we got married” could be anything.
    Athol Kay: Married Man Sex Life recently posted…Pinterest and DisinterestMy Profile

    • You’re right; I cut too much. I actually received three emails almost the same from three different women this week telling almost the same story, so I thought I’d publish it and take out too many details because I wanted to make it generic for all. This particular woman is a size 8. She used to be a size 4. The other two who said almost the same thing didn’t volunteer their sizes. So some may be much larger; and some may be smaller. Many, many women have this issue, though, regardless of size.

      • ButterflyWings says:

        Size 8 isn’t even overweight! If it’s the size I think it is, that’s the same as an aussie size 12. That’s a beautiful healthy weight on an average height woman.

        I look back at photos of me at that size before I got sick and am amazed at how incredibly skinny I look. I cannot understand how any man who isn’t incredibly shallow would be put off by a size 8 woman.

        • I’ve NEVER been a size 8. Even when I was in HS. I’ll be honest and say I’m a 14. I’ve been up to a 20 in my life. I felt as unattractive as my husband thought I was. And that’s okay. He’s a man, he’s a visual creature. To try to change that would be to change the way God created the male species. (that does not give men permission to have wandering eyes or view porn, or anything, but as women we must accept it as the truth and do our best to make sure we provide our husbands something they want to look at so they aren’t tempted to look elsewhere – I don’t mean to obsolve them from sin, but we must be honest with ourselves as well as women).

          Perhaps this info is irrelevant because some would say “well, he’s just been a jerk.” Perhaps. Perhaps, there is more to it that we don’t know.

          But as I said above (and I think maybe I said it poorly because weight is just one issue in being attractive I believe), one can make themselve look beautiful without being a size 0.

          The attitude that we carry ourselves with can be as big a turn off as our appearance. Are we respecting our husbands? Are we building them up? Are we encouraging them? Are we praying for what we can change in us to make us more attractive? Are we praying that we be selfless? Are we honestly evaluating our own sin? Are we being as proactive as we can be in our appearance?

          Or are we nagging them constantly? Implying they are worthless? Or a poor provider? Being disrespectful? If yes to any of these, it has great bearing on their view of us.

  26. As you can guess, I totally disagree with Butterfly. Your situation may be the exception to the rule… which I refer to, especially thyroid issues. Check out iodine deficiency… but in 80%+ of situations in America a person 25 pounds overweight is due to overeating and lack of exercise. Many a woman around the world has more pregnancies than in the US yet they are skinnier by far. Doritos, Big Macs, eating out, few salads, chocolate and all the “just a little” sugar treats are the cause of most people’s weight problems.

    Many of the commenters on this post read their own experiences into a simple comment “I do not find you attractive anymore.” No other information is given.

    It is very possible that the husband watches his wife snacking, not making good healthy dinners, choosing to indulge in sugary treats and all the while saying, “I only had a half a piece of cake!” You have seen it and so have I where people who should not be eating sugar and greasy things will excuse half the extra calories as if they did a good thing eating only half a desert.

    If pregnancy is such a big issue to being overweight, nurse longer if you possibly can which is God’s cure; but no, too many women give it up way too early, or eat more instead of letting the fat fall off. Also, if pregnancy was such a unique issue to being overweight, and women need some sort of free pass, why are there so many overweight men in the US? Do they all have thyroid problems too?

    No, sin in a creeping thing. It begins small and continues to grow one inappropriate bite after another. Give up all sugar for three months and go on a two mile walk each day and the vast majority of overweight people will quickly fall within normal weight. Remember, ALL sugar means reading every package and putting aside anything that says sugar or honey or fructose. Instead eat fruit and use Stevia in things to create healthy alternative treats.

    The bottom line is that we need very few calories to live and survive, and yet we all love to eat. If food were not so plentiful as in other poorer countries we would have a lot less fat people. Let’s stop reading one’s own life into this one question and deal with it in a realistic way. Unless her doctor says it is a health issue, her husband has every right and obligation to say to her, “Honey, lose some weight.” But then he needs to support her in it with accountability, praise and appreciation for her efforts, even if they do not immediately pay off. Changing eating habits is not easy, but it is the cure for most people who have made themselves unattractive with carrying fat.

    • ButterflyWings says:

      Bootsy being able to nurse is a gift not a guarantee.

      I spent five months trying to nurse my daughter but she was simply unable to. Complications from her birth led to health problems. It didn’t stop me from trying until she was 5 months old when I was diagnosed with a serious condition and put on medication which is extremely toxic that comes out in breastmilk.

      Yes I know way too many women who quit breastfeeding too early – and even many more who never try in the first place. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t many women out there who would dearly love to breastfeed but cannot either because they are unable to or their child is unable to.

      For me, it was an unimaginable shock. I never even considered the possibility my child wouldn’t breastfeed. (Then again, I never expected her to be born a month before her due date or to have complications that nearly killed her and left me seriously injured and probably unable to ever have more children either). I had nappies, I had clothes, I had baby furniture, but never considered we would need to buy bottles and formula. Being able to nurse a child is a beautiful gift – but one only some women are blessed with.

      If by some miracle I manage to conceive again, I already know medically I’ll be forbidden from breastfeeding – the medications I take won’t do damage during a pregnancy as the placental system removes them from the baby’s body through my liver and kidneys – but after birth, the baby doesn’t have the protection.

      I know my case is rare – in fact I’ve yet to meet anyone my age who has evan half the medical problems I do. I worked in aged care for two years, and I always found it amusing that not one of the residents I cared for had as many medical problems or took as many medications as I did and they’re all aged 80-100. But rare still exists and even if rare is one in a thousand – there is 7 billion people in the world so one in a thousand adds up.

      I know you’re not judging, but some people do – they assume all overweight people are the same and that’s not right.

    • I have to say Bootsy, I am glad I am not married to someone like you.You make me thankful for my own husband. I read your comments to him, and he was appalled. When I got married I was a healthy weight and a size 10- a whole size bigger than at least one of the women struggling with her husband’s comments. Four babies later (one is 5 months old) I am 25 lbs heavier and about a 12/Large. My husband is about 10-15 lbs heavier and has quite a bit less hair on the top of his head. We both still find each other attractive. He tells me I am beautiful ALL THE TIME. I think the issue here is mutual respect and love, not weight. As we age, our bodies change. We tend to gain weight, lose/gain hair in places, and lose our youthful appearance. I know my husband will love me when I am old, wrinkled, and gray because he didn’t marry me just for my appearance. He married me because he loved the person I am. I think these women need to get to the root of the issues with their husbands even though it may be painful. Talk it through with a pastor or trusted counselor. Maybe the issue is how she treats him in other areas, or maybe he has some issues that he needs to resolve. I highly doubt it is only about weight. I hope you ladies can find the answers to your problems and heal your marriages. It will take lots of love and prayer! (and as a side note, I have spent 5+ years of our 8 year marriage nursing little ones. Fat does not melt off for some of us. Often a woman’s body clings to some extra weight- usually about 5-10lbs.- so a Mother can still make milk in times of “famine”.)
      Brooke recently posted…Tops and Nighties for My Little PeasantsMy Profile

      • I hope I don’t sound too harsh in my comments. I just don’t agree with you. I did get a chuckle out of your comment about being from Southern California and vacationing in Wisconsin where the fat people are…I am from Wisconsin and, yes, there are lots of fat people here! ( more than 25lbs fat ;) ) The weather has something to do with it, and probably the beer and cheese. :D Six months of cold, snow, and confinement will do that to you!
        Brooke recently posted…Tops and Nighties for My Little PeasantsMy Profile

        • I understand Brooke,
          I lecture around the world on many topics, but one of my favorites is on choices. Life is made up of many choices, some big, most small. How one chooses in life generally takes them to where they end up… and weight is no exception.

          Now remember, I did say generally, and I understand that life’s circumstances and sometimes others influence our ability to choose, but for many, they simply have not thought about the God given power of choice, and they blame everything and everyone for where they end up in life.

          Choice number one for the believer must be the cross, and accepting Christ completely as Savior and LORD. The rest falls into place as we make Him Lord of all things in our lives. Being a Christian is not a free ride, which I can see you fully understand, but are believers willing to give all areas to Him? Even weight and what they eat and how they take care of His temple?

          Yes, there are some exceptions to the rule, but for too many it is not an exception, but it is self deception. We want to excuse what we know in our own heart is just not right or healthy. It is great that you and your husband are committed to loving each other no matter what. That is what your choice leads you to… and true love is a choice. I am married to a sick woman the past 25 years and I love her dearly. I am happy because I am able to live out my purpose and values in life, not because of my difficult circumstances.

          All that said, someone needs to sand as Paul did for Christ and speak the truth, allowing each person to judge for themselves how they can make God’s truth alive in their own lives. We must accept where we are in life, poor choices, sin and all… and ask ourselves what can I do today to glorify God with all of my being, including my body. Am I a good example to my children in what I eat, and who I live life? Or a I filled with one excuse after another, all the while hiding poor choices? No one can no that but each person… and I still give off too many excuses, but at least I am trying to deal with the truth in every area of life.

          This women in the example would be best served with perhaps modest sympathy, but then a challenge to evaluate herself and her past and present choices. There is no condemnation here from me. Just asking the question, “Are we all truly trying to be the best we can be, or does being overweight in the church continue to get a free pass, has forever?” Perhaps her husband as her leader should have a strong vote in her choices.

          I love Door County!

  27. And I thought this was a Christian site. Ugh;( just like being in church.

    • Danielle says:

      What do you mean, Mimi?

    • Churches are full of sinners. That is why we need a Savior. Each of us has different faults and they often come out when we are close to people- like in a church (or marriage!). This is why we need to show grace and receive grace. :) I have to agree that the thread of comments on this post is REALLY frustrating. Some of the other posts have some great advice from readers.
      Brooke recently posted…Tops and Nighties for My Little PeasantsMy Profile

  28. I agree ButterflyWing. I can’t remember the last time I was a size 8!! High school? That was a long time ago way before I had a child. What a shallow man to not be satisfied with his wife. Unless she’s the height of of a 5 year old, a size 8 is usually not even in the neighborhood of fat.

    • ButterflyWings says:

      My 11 year old daughter is a size 6, nearly a size 8 now (and 160cm tall – so nearly average for a grown woman)- and she is skinny as anything. I don’t understand how anyone can find that unhealthy.

  29. I put an update on the post with my thoughts. For those of you who are subscribed to the comments, you can go read what I said there!

  30. And now I been compared to a balloon… Wow.

  31. TracyVin says:

    Here’s my take. 1) gaining weight unless by pure gluttony is not sinful. Sure we’re to do all things in moderation and remain active, but lets look at our 1st world lives and it does NOT promote moderation nor a naturally active lifestyle. In this no where does it discuss where she is in her walk with God. Maybe she gained this weight before she started it? There’s just too much we don’t know. 2.) To suggest that 100% of the effort should fall on her shoulders is also wrong. I’m sorry but this man destroyed her esteem and her standing in his eyes with ONE small conversation, and though he apologized he’s not made an effort to SHOW her that he really is contrite. It’s like saying something bad about your mom and you get offended and I apologize for you getting offended, not because I said it. That’s not a real apology, and though we don’t know what exactly he apologized for, the subsequent actions show that he’s not genuinely contrite. 3.) This woman is TRYING to initiate sex and intimacy with her husband and he’s turning her away, FURTHER exacerbating the sting of his initial rejection of her.

    Personally, it smells like rotten fish to me. If he’s not philandered, it’s in his head, at least in the looking department. I think they should seek counseling. If not a pastor or marriage counselor, at least a family counselor. There’s other issues at hand. I also agree that she should try to LIVE healthy. Eating right and moving, whether she loses weight or not, is key to being a healthy person. If she’s doing this and hasn’t lost the weight, then she’s done all she can do. I would NEVER suggest someone break themselves to satisfy the eyes of anyone, even her husband. See, being healthy even at a higher weight glorifies God more than placing her husband in God’s spot. And her husband should learn to find his passions in his wife and see her for the wonderful and beautiful woman that she is. She bore his child/ren, her body changed because THEY were fruitful. If he really was concerned with her health, he’d try to create an active lifestyle WITH her, rather than blaming her for his lack of attraction. Marriage and sex is so much more than that.

    • ButterflyWings says:

      ” It’s like saying something bad about your mom and you get offended and I apologize for you getting offended, not because I said it. That’s not a real apology, ”

      I wish I could show that to my husband. He does that constantly. He’ll be rude and hurtful and reply with “I’m sorry you’re hurt by it”, but if asked directly, he’ll say he’s not sorry he said/did the hurtful thing.

      It’s not an apology at all – it’s worse than saying nothing at all because it points out that the person isn’t sorry. They’re acknowledging it was hurtful but blaming the victim for feeling hurt rather than being sorry for having hurt them.

  32. If being obese is a sin… Then so is judging them.

    • But see, we’re all sinful. We all have sin in many areas of our lives. We all must constantly look in the mirror and *honestly* evaulate our own hearts. NO ONE is sinless. Jesus was the only person who ever walked on this earth who was without sin. Our society likes to pick and choose it’s definition of sin. We like to say that gluttony (which obesity is the result of) isn’t sin. The Bible says it is. Let me say, that in NO WAY gives any one the right to treat anyone badly because they are obese. But it doesn’t change the issue that the Bible says that gluttony is sin. Just as lying is sin.

      I am by *far* the smallest person in my family. I am overweight myself. I know I must be honest with myself and be truly honest with what I put in my mouth and the choices I make. Because of what I’ve lived with (growing up in an obese family), I know how much lying to onself goes on in our family. My mom and sister say they don’t know why they can’t lose weight. But then I would go into my Mom’s closet to get something and there were 3 packages of Reese’s peanut butter cups and Kit Kats.

      Please don’t think I’m saying this is you. I’m just saying in MY life, I’ve had to learn to be honest with myself, and see my sin for what it is. Yes, there are some medical conditions that make it very hard to lose weight. There are also just as many people not being honest.

      • ButterflyWings says:

        “We like to say that gluttony (which obesity is the result of) isn’t sin.”

        That whole statement is just so wrong sorry. Everyone I’ve met will acknowledge that gluttony is a sin. But obesity is not always the result of gluttony. It usually is but NOT always. So to say obesity IS a result of gluttony is terribly hurtful and unfair to those for who it wasn’t

  33. I was a five most my life. Depression set in and abuse issues… I am now a size 16. I am very well proportioned so you would never guess I was 220 pounds. My husband tells me I am beautiful both inside and out. He worries about my health but he doesn’t keep reminding me and he desires me.
    I am so grateful for my atheist husband. He has more love and acceptance than 99 percent of the Christians I ever met.

  34. Sheila I didn’t read all the comments but I love your revamp of the post I think that’s spot on! …. and weight gain of 25lbs is not necessarily a sin! Goodness …. yes gluttony CAN be but we don’t know that! … I’m so sorry for these women but I love your input!

  35. ;) yes… I thank god everyday for him!

  36. I am actually finding myself moving away from bring a Christian. All I sense is judgement. I really dislike the concept of telling people they are sinful cause they are depressed. And not just blue or feeling sorry for oneself. But clinically depressed. Many very depressed people eat to comfort themselves and have all their lives. And to call them sinful is unloving and cruel. And this is just one small example if why I am leaving my faith. It’s not living. It’s actually quite the opposite.

    • Mimi…. let’s face it… you probably are not even fat and your only purpose is to put down Christians and the truth. You are so hard to believe with your make believe stories.

      Someone needs to call you on it if Sheila is going to allow your unhelpful comments all over the place. If you are fat and have all the things you talk about … I love you… and if you are a skinny little troll… I still love you :). But our Christian faith does not make us afraid of confronting the truth in life. Lily seems spot on… and we as believers want to know areas we need to change in our lives, and then give it over to God to transform us “by His truth” into the image of Christ.

      Again, I apologize if you are not make believe, but you sure sound like it to me, and I find your comments so without purpose, unless they are meant to just find fault, especially with Christians.

  37. I just wanted to reach out to the women that deal with this situation and reaffirm that they ARE beautiful! God gave us different strengths and weakness, different body shapes and sizes. While one woman might have difficulty finding the motivation to eat a little healthier and exercise a little more, her neighbor might struggle with unkindness or a bit of a temper toward her husband. Who are we to judge whose weaknesses are worse? As followers of Christ we should always strive to be helpful in our advice (if solicited) and our comments to others.

    When I married my husband I was the same weight I am now, after two children. However, after my first I still had almost 30 pounds more on me than when I got married. I lost it because I wanted to, plus another 20, but still haven’t lost that 20 after my second. Through my weight struggles my husband always told me I was beautiful, desirable, and sexy. Why? Was he lying? No, I think he showed strength of character by showing loving kindness to his wife. I’ll take him at his word that he did find me attractive then, but if not it is not a lie to look past the body of your spouse to find the beauty within. Attraction is deeper than just what your spouse looks like!

    What I can think of to suggest to those struggling with this kind of issue in their marriage is to work on your friendship. Date again. What he claims he lacks in physical attraction can be overcome by attraction to his wife’s wonderful qualities! Ladies, we have so much more to offer our partners than just our bodies. When we got married, we gave our lives to another person. It was a commitment to honor, love, and support another person as you grow and learn together. It was not a contract to remain the same.

  38. Wow bootsy. Wow. You know I don’t care if you believe me or anyone else here. I am not a troll or trying to be mean, I will not sit here and defend my life to you. I have been through hell and back and then abused by the very people who Snyder me. If there is a troll here… It’s certainly not me.

    • OK… I stand corrected… I am truly sorry for your difficult life. I am one who tries to be kind and generous to all people, yet I know that the greatest kindness you can give to people is to speak the truth in love. I know how hard it is to try to lose weight and not have it come off… and I have cried watching my girls struggle to keep their weight under control eating what seemed to be like birds. I mentioned Iodine earlier, and it seems to be doing wonders giving them energy… but all must find a good doctor or alternative doctor to be tested for thyroid antibodies prior to starting in on iodine treatments. Look it up… and keep up the battle as best you can for the sake of your long term health. It is so much easier to battle the difficulties of life with Jesus living inside of you. Give your life to Him and find the love and acceptance you so desire and missed out on in childhood. He is all we need :).

      With my love,

  39. And I am fat. I am considering lap band but am afraid of that route as well. And I am done here. I don’t need to be called a fake and a troll and told oh I still love you. I had enough if that in my life from my parents. I don’t care what you or anyone else thinks. I posted my hurts and my issues cause I wanted to express my self. But all that I got was that used against me. So so typical. I so done here. I won’t allow anyone to hurt me anymore. No one.

    • So sorry….

    • Didn’t you say you were a 16? That’s hardly enough to consider the lap band. I don’t think they’d consider you for it. That’s hardly above average in the US, average is a 14.

      When I was in HS I heard the father of Drew Brees speak (sorry -can’t remember his name). The whole point of his motivational speech was “the ideas in your head rock your world.” There is so much truth to that. Just because you think you’re fat, doesn’t mean you are “fat”, unattractive, and the like. Believe in yourself, believe you are pretty, make yourself pretty (flattering clothes, some jewelry, some lipstick and most importantly a pretty attitude). Believe it and you will be it.

      A local business has had a sign up for a while. “Don’t believe everything you think.” At first I thought it wascrazy. Then I realized it had some substance, especially in what I thought of myself. Don’t believe everything you think.

      • ButterflyWings says:

        Lily it depends on the doctor and the person’s height. I am a size US18 and average height (165cm) and one doctor I’ve seen is pushing me to get a lapband.

        But for so many reasons I have told him no. My best friend had a lapband done and she is now stuck at 240 pounds and eats 1-2 small snacks a day total food and cannot lose any more weight. The lack of eating has destroyed her metabolism and her health is suffering from the lack of vitamins and minerals. Not to mention she vomits literally dozens of times a day because of it. It does work great for some people, but for others it destroys their health.

        Also, the reason my regular GP and all of my specialists have recommend not to get it (the doctor pushing it was just a guy I see when my regular GP is away) is because getting a lapband only works if the problem is excessive eating. The theory behind getting one is it makes you eat less, you stop overeating and therefore lose weight.

        It doesn’t work if someone isn’t eating too much and their caloric intake isn’t the issue. So for me, it’s been medically ruled a waste of time.

  40. I’m sure it can be a little devastating when your husband says something like that. While I can’t understand exactly how that feels, I was a lot larger than normal after I had my kids and it was tough for awhile, but I made the decision to lose the weight. My husband never said anything about my weight, but I know he wasn’t used to me being that weight. For me it was going back to work. That really helped. However, if you’re struggling with your weight, one of the best things you can do for now is work with what you’ve got. Without overwhelming yourself, do everything you can to look good to your husband, (with the weight). Maybe it’s getting a new hairstyle or clothes/night clothes that will compliment where you are at this stage in your life. It may be adding a little mascara or lipstick. That depends on you and what hubby likes. Sometimes it’s not the weight, but it’s what we do with it. I’m still struggling with getting my stomach to go down, but I wear clothes that “cover” the “pouch”. Hopefully that will go down, but until then, I will wear clothes that will work with where I am right now. You shared how you feel with your husband and that’s good. It’s good he apologized to you, but it can still be hurtful as you said. One of the things that have helped me when my husband has said something hurtful is constantly reminding myself that God loves me. God loves you too with with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3). Sometimes when you feel hurt and lonely in your marriage, the only comfort you have is God’s comfort. Tell God how you feel and ask Him to give you wisdom on how to deal with this situation. Also, ask Him to heal you. Communication is key. I would also suggest prayerfully talking with your husband to see where his expectations are as far as your appearance. At least he’ll see that you want to work on looking good to him. Remember that men are very visual when it comes to women. Maybe the two of you can come up with a plan on how to work together on your getting where you want to be. You should do it for yourself first and then for hubby because you want to feel good about you! :)
    Tiffany Godfrey recently posted…Marriage and Communication Series: Why Money and Marriage Talk Cause ConflictMy Profile

  41. Fools go where angels fear to tread….so here I go…..

    1) Make an effort to lose weight. Workout, run, bike, P90X, all of the above. Do what you can. No miracles required, just put in some effort. And as payback for your husband’s insensitivity, drag his butt along, too! Odds are he can stand to lose a few pounds and the exercise-induced pain will help him appreciate the effort you are making.

    2) More important than weight loss is presentation and attitude. Also known as: Do the best with what you have.

    About five years ago, while walking down the aisle of a home improvement store, I encountered one of the sexiest women ever. She was a larger woman, someone I normally wouldn’t have paid much attention to, but she was wearing a bright, printed sundress that flattered her figure, cute shoes that helped emphasize long, toned and tanned legs, and she walked past me with a confident, sensual casualness that no man could refuse or fail to notice.

    In short, she was stunning, and had I not been married, I would have asked her out on the spot.

    So, the moral of the story, don’t get hung up on the number staring back at you from the scale. Keep it under control, as much as possible, but focus like a laser beam on presentation and attitude. If you feel sexy, act sexy, believe you are sexy and desirable, then so will your husband.

    If you feel, act and believe you are “meh”, then so will your husband…even if you have the perfect body.

    At the end of the day, attitude trumps weight 99.99% of the time.

    Good luck.

  42. Yes. I am a 16… Sometimes 18. Depends. I am 220 pounds and 5 ft four. I am considered morbid obese but I don’t look it. I carry it very well. I work out everyday… At least a half hour for years. I haven’t been to McDonald’s in years. I have two donuts once a week. I tend to over eat healthy food. I don’t sit and graze all day. I have a thyroid issue and take meds. I have several diseases but you won’t know it. I have muscle and look good for my weight. By gubernatorial insists on me having lap band. But I am scared too. I have no health issues with bp… Diabetes or heart. Or even cholesterol. Cause I eat very healthy food.
    Yet I Am morbidly obese.

    • Well, if it’s any encouragement to you, my brother in law is 6’7″, weighs like 250 pounds and has virtually no fat on him. He’s very very lean. And yet every doctor tells him he’s morbidly obese. One can’t look at just weight when determining health.

      The flip side of that is my brother (biological) is well over 500 pounds. He went to the surgeons at UW to have gastric bypass and they told him he had to lose 10% of his weight first. Personally, I think it was to get his mind into the game before the surgery. He needed to get into the habit of eating healthy and moving his body before they would do the surgery. Sadly, he hasn’t made any progress. He doesn’t have much time left, and he’s only 40.

      You can always get a second opinion from another doctor. You do carry your weight well. I’m 5’3″, 173 and am a size 14. Loved it when my doctor told me last week I needed to lose weight. I told her I’ve already lost 18 pounds in 6 months. She said okay, just keep it up. My blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol are also great.

      But I feel like this is getting off subject, so I’ll be quiet now.

      But as Mark just said “At the end of the day, attitude trumps weight 99.99% of the time.” That is so TRUE.

  43. Sorry… Meant gynecologist… Hate word check…typing in my iPhone does instant word correction!

  44. Yes. I do agree with that. I do dress very well with accessories and can use color and style quite well. I have my own look that is all my own;) I also get expensive haircuts and color my gray. I wear little make up cause my husband prefers that. I wear coco channel every day.
    However… I don’t think you should have to do this if you don’t want too. I think how a woman carries herself us her own business. I am a Libertetian who believes in freedom to live as you want. As long as you harm no one… It’s your life. It’s your right.
    But I do agree that when you let yourself go at any weight. People will look at you funny. If you take no pride in you. Don’t expect others too. Just how we are… Sadly.
    One reason why I prefer my dogs to humans.

    • I see what you’re saying. But I know my husband likes it when I put on some makeup (a natural look, not a hooker look LOL). He likes perfumes (although – I don’t wear them often because many fragrances are hormone disrupters and I am too sensistive to them to use them). I know it’s important to him, so I put it on occasionally. I dress nicely for him and for me. For one thing, I feel better about myself when I do these things. But also, I know it makes him happy. And making him happy makes me happy. So it’s worth it to me.

      When we both do things we know the other likes even if we don’t necessarily want to do it, it’s an act of sacrifice of self. It benefits us both when we think beyond ourselves to do what pleases the other. I don’t mean in a perverted controlling way, but in a self-less, put the others needs first. I certainly can’t expect him to put me first and make me happy if I’m not willing to do it myself.

      Ultimately, we need to find our fulfillment in Christ. No one person will be able to fill us. We live in a fallen world. We are ALL sinners. Only Christ and his unending love is sufficient. But in our sinful human state, we can still think of the other first. Even if it makes us uncomfortable. Isn’t that the meaning of sacrifice? If we do that for our spouse, it will be easier for them to do it in return.

      In serving our spouse, with a good attitude and self-lessness (again, I’m not talking about a perverted service or servantude) we are serving our Lord.

  45. I am sorry that this woman has been hurt. I felt the same way in my first marriage. Then I found out why. He had been unfaithful many times over 25 years and he became cold to me and blamed my weight. I was attractive and never more than 30 pounds or so during the first years. I had a heart attack under the stress of the break-up. He was running from the Lord and looking in all the wrong places for love. I hope this is not your case, but I know pornography as well as cheating changes men. Love in Christ.
    Mary Ann Young Robinson recently posted…So It’s Going To Be Mother’s DayMy Profile

  46. Ok. Yes. This is my last post too. I feel so sorry fir your brother. I don’t believe anyone wants to be that big. People tolerate a lot if discrimination when they are fat. I hope he can get motivated. He is no doubt depressed I bet. I been there.
    I have lost iLife weight in weight watchers. Took me two years and three years to gain it back. Done that many times.
    But as this is my last post cause I realize we are off topic…I will say I agree. Much is how you carry yourself. And not allowing anyone to put you down… Is worth gold.

  47. I didn’t read the comments after reading your update, Sheila. But I do have something to say about this that I hope will be helpful!

    I too have gained 25 pounds – not from having kids, but from medication side effects. I was underweight before (and don’t want to be that skinny again!), so I’m not actually overweight, but I am definitely heavier than I have ever been, and have been for over a year now! This was making me feel very self conscious.

    So…what I started to do, just for me! Not for my husband. Not for anyone else. This was all for me. And actually, my goal isn’t even to lose weight, more to get healthy – if I lose weight in the process, ok; if not, that’s ok too. I started working out intensely. I do advanced pilates/very vigorous calisthenics, HIIT, and cardio. I do videos on youtube (check out blogilates on youtube – it’s so much fun…I do the advanced stuff because I already had a background in pilates, but there are lots of beginner workouts too), usually around 45-75 minutes five days a week, and let me tell you. When I am dripping with sweat and my muscles are screaming and I’m letting out choice words, but I keep going until the very end – that is the best feeling in the world. And I feel amazing all the time now. I haven’t lost any weight – I’ve only been doing this for three weeks. But I’m so much more confident. I walk like I own the world. ;) My attitude is much better, I’m much happier. Actually when I’m out places I notice guys watching me, which I haven’t seen as much since I gained weight. That’s not important, but what I’m saying is that confidence is definitely sexy to guys.

    I can’t imagine someone saying what your husband said to you – that is truly horrible. My husband has never said anything bad about the way I look (he’s really good about that), he only says good things, but we have a huge set of issues in our sex life anyway. We actually went for a month (until today) without having sex, not my choice, and I have just had to learn to deal with our situation in a healthy way without stressing too much – something exercising really helps with. But, today when we had sex, my stamina was much higher, ….well I don’t want to get too graphic, but suffice it to say that I felt a lot stronger doing it because I have been killing my abs and legs and butt, so it was a lot more enjoyable to be on top. So there’s that too!

    Anyway, do check out blogilates on youtube. The fitness trainer is super cute and her workouts are super fun. Things like that will make YOU feel better, and in my opinion in rough marital situations (especially involving sex) that is extremely important. You can’t change what your husband does – trust me, I have tried so hard and it never works! – but you can do things to make yourself feel amazing no matter what the stupid man does. ;) Going all beast mode is the best therapy.

    • (just posting again because I forgot the check the box “notify me of follow-up comments” :) )

  48. TracyVin says:

    I’m a very over weight woman. I have gained almost 100lbs in 4 years. I never had energy. I ate healthy, and I would lose about 15lbs and it would come right back on, with NO changes to my diet. I drink 1 cup of coffee at most per day, otherwise it’s strictly water. In that 4 years, I had a c-section, which split open and I had complications with the incision a year later (as in it wouldn’t heal up and would have little pockets open up and “weep”. During ALL this time, I was forbidden by my doctors to do any workouts that used the core. (UM HELLO! ALL of them worked out your core!) We thought that having an infant and toddler running amok (he’s running from 6am-10pm) was the cause of my resulting fatigue. Went to the doctor, was put on b12 shots, nothing. Extremely high doses of vit. d, nothing. Super multivitamins, nothing. I tried to work out, because working out SHOULD energize you so you can work out more and/or have energy for the day. I developed a bleeding disorder and my iron dropped to dangerous levels. I thought I was developing narcolepsy, that’s how tired I was. I was put on iron pills and birth control pills to stop the bleeding. I would still pass out, I still bled, and I developed a blood clot in my leg. (I’m a free bleeder by the way). So I had to switch from pill to IUD to stop the bleeding, be put on a daily aspirin dose, and still I was tired and would sleep. And this entire time, I would do weight watchers, I use measuring cups and spoons for serving spoons. I would keep my daily caloric intake at the bottom of what was suggested by a nutritionist. I am a whole foods eating fool. Like Michael Pollan says, if I’m going to eat junk food at least make it myself. And during this time, my weight continues to balloon. Enter this past December, I start having symptoms of a bad stomach virus. Upset tummy, and general malaise. I couldn’t stay awake though. After the third day, I had my Mom take me to the ER while my husband kept our son, and I found out I had a hernia with an incarcerated bowel. I was less than 24 hours from death. A 16 inch incision and 5 day hospital stay later, I’m home, not holding anything down, can’t even handle anything more than broth and water. I only lost 5lbs. During my surgery, God talked with me (and I considered myself a Christian before, SNORT!) and he impressed upon me that I was NOT glorifying him. And I needed to love myself as much as I loved others. That I needed to go to the doctor because I was dying, something else was slowly killing me, and He couldn’t save me if I wasn’t willing to save myself. I found out I have a genetic form of sleep apnea. Something I’d had my whole life (I was told that I’d snored since I was a toddler), and it was doing irreparable damage to my heart and IT was the cause of my exhaustion.

    My problem is, people are basing the assumption that she was always Christian and she’s far along in her walk with God, and that she’s gluttonous. Having a “come to Jesus” talk happens suddenly and you’re forever changed from it, but weight loss takes some time, and it isn’t always easy, especially when you put yourself last after God, husband and children. It’s taken me 2 months to notice a real difference since getting my cpap machine. And with no other changes in my diet, I’ve lost 6lbs. I’ll take it. It’s slower coming off than packing on, but it’s all good. Lots of prayer goes into this and being mindful and trying to put good things in, so that good things come out. But it’s irksome because I eat 1 oz and 5 lbs pack on, whereas my cousin IS a glutton and weighs only 87lbs at 4’10” and 27YO. She could WIN an eating contest. Just to eat a small fraction of what she does would positively end any idea of me fitting through a door. So please, don’t assume gluttony is the cause just because you see fat. There’s metabolic disorders, hormone disorders, lack of good sleep, stress, and many factors that determine our body shape and propensity to cling to those pounds.

    We need to advocate healthy living FIRST. Weightloss is a byproduct, body toning is a byproduct, feeling more comfortable in our skin is a byproduct. The most important thing is to live healthy, as best as we can.

    • I’m so happy that you have found the cause of your exhaustion, and that you’re living healthy! I’m proud of you. :) You’re right, there are lots of things that can cause weight gain, not simply gluttony (or laziness).

    • ButterflyWings says:

      I wouldn’t describe it as gluttony, but when I was a teenager, I could eat anything and not gained weight at. I chose not to pig out because I wanted to be healthy, and if I did eat poorly I would feel sick (although not gain weight).

      Then around my 19th birthday, I had a series of events. I got married and my husband insisted on birth control to not have children – I reacted very badly hormonal birth control (which I started a month before the weddingin preparatoin), gaining 10kg in less than a week (had to have my wedding dress let out the day before my wedding). It reacted badly with pre existing health conditions that flared up badly. And a sporting accident two weeks before my wedding, meant I went from exercising vigorously approx 2 hours a day, 6 days a week, to barely being able to walk while I waited for surgery (I spent half my wedding day on crutches).

      After my wedding, discovering my husband’s financial issues (he turned out to be a drug addict and deep in debt) meant that there were days where I was lucky to have one meal a day because it was all we could afford. there was little chance to overeat in my first marriage – in fact, I was lucky if I got to eat half the calories of a healthy diet – but it didn’t stop the weight gain.

      Sadly I understand all too well the limitations doctors put on injured people. Much to their frustration, I ignore all my doctors when it comes to exercise now. Being told not to exercise other than “water walking” (walking back and forth in a heated therapy pool) a few times a week is not good enough for me. If I don’t exercise more vigorously, I will gain weight and I’d rather be alive and in a wheelchair in a decade, then dead from the complications of gaining weight. It’s a no win situation when you’re injured and ill.

  49. Catherine Francis says:

    I can’t resist chiming in here. I’m a health and slimming journalist here in the UK, and also have written a short introductory book on tackling weight problems. I’ve also personally lost over 70lb (not to mention lots of gaining and losing over the years). First of all, 25lb really isn’t a huge deal. The healthy weight range for any given height can be as wide as 30lb. So if you started out at the bottom end of your healthy weight range, you could gain 25lb and still be within your healthy weight range. So let’s not make a drama out of 25lb.
    Also, the men on this board might like to bear in mind that women’s and men’s bodies do not process fat in the same way. Women are meant to have a higher body fat percentage as men, and they genuinely don’t shed weight as easily. So don’t be too smug about your lean physiques! And as many ladies have pointed out, pregnancy and hormones have a huge influence on body shape. It’s meant to. That’s how babies survive.
    Weight gain is also not just about gluttony. Quite aside from the medical issues, our bodies are programmed to gain weight when food is abundant (and to crave high-cal, high-fat foods) to make fat stores for the coming famine. Of course in the modern Western world, food shortage is rare – but our genetics haven’t caught up with that fact! For the same reason, our bodies are designed to hold onto fat reserves as tightly as possible, dropping metabolism to do so when we diet. Also, people have different body chemistries – some people put weight on much more easily than others. That’s not an excuse – it’s a fact. In fact, it’s believed this may be so that during times of famine, the larger people would survive in order to breed again, and ensure the survival of the species. Yes, friends, the large people amongst us are the reason the human species hasn’t become extinct!
    So it’s not easy to lose weight. It can be done, assuming no major medical issues, but it’s really tough. When I lost my 70lb, I did little else for a year and a half than plan meals and exercise. It would have been much harder if I’d been living with a spouse, and harder still if I’d been trying to look after children. People do manage it, but don’t assume that it’s as easy as all that.
    Regarding the ‘sinfulness’ of weight gain, that’s like saying it’s sinful to become mentally ill or face hardships in life. It’s pseudo-spiritual nonsense. The truth is that major weight gain is rarely about greediness. It’s almost always a symptom of unhappiness, finding comfort in food (which has an effect on mood – sugar gives us a high; carbs have a soporific effect), self-medicating your depression and low self-esteem, and so on. Many overweight people veer between having an eating disorder, and disordered eating (it’s a fine line). Being told you’re sinful, greedy pigs, unattractive, lazy, etc will ONLY make the situation worse. In my own case, I gained the weight during a fairly short period after my mother died (I’d been caring for her for five years of cancer), I was caring for another sick family member, working long hours, and in a miserable unsupportive relationship where I felt ignored. I was depressed, life felt chaotic, I felt ugly and I had no time to look after myself or exercise – and I self-medicated with food to buy me a little short-term happiness (yes, I was a Christian – it doesn’t make you immune to unhappiness). Comments from a partner about becoming unattractive can ONLY make the situation worse, and an unloving partner is often one of the root causes in weight problems, not the other way around.
    I tried and tried to lose the weight, but it wasn’t until years later when some of those other issues changed that I was able to concentrate on looking after myself a bit and losing the weight. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
    What I’m asking for here is a little bit of kindness and sympathy here for people who are dealing with issues you know nothing about – and turning to food to numb the pain (better than alcohol or drugs or many other ways of numbing pain, which are also damaging to the people around you). People know how they look, and they don’t need anyone to tell them they’re damaging their health – they’re not stupid, and they feel the effects every day. But a bit less abuse and fewer nasty jokes would be a start. By saying those things, you only push people further into misery and self-medicating through food.
    And by the way, the guy who crowed about walking 3 miles a day – don’t be too smug. Three miles isn’t an impressive distance to walk. I walked more than that every day just to get to work when I was over 70lb overweight. In fact, if that’s the only exercise you do, I’d classify you as inactive and suggest you start doing some real exercise, for the state of your health. You know, anything less would be sinful… ;-)

    • I was going to say that 25 pounds isn’t a big deal, too, but I wasn’t sure if that was true in most cases so I didn’t say it…..but I do know that in my case it really wasn’t at all! Thank you for the rest of your post, too. :) You’re right, there are root problems behind weight gain – weight is only a symptom.

      I laughed when I read that part about three miles being nothing. Haha. That’s so true, especially walking. I used to walk that much to go to the shop on nice days – not for exercise, just to pick up a few snacks! I’d take my tote bag with me. One of the shirts I want for my birthday says, “Your Workout Is My Warmup.” ;)

    • ButterflyWings says:

      Walking three miles is subjective. In my work, I can walk double that or more in a single shift. But in saying that, I also had to take high doses of extremely strong painkillers to do that and my doctor forced me to cut back my hours by putting a limit of how many painkillers he would prescribe because the painkillers would allow me to walk that distance but only at the cost of extreme damager (ie literally not being able to walk the next day at all, and only able to walk short distances for days after).

      I must admit, I wish I could walk 3 miles easily. I have the fitness to, but not the legs to be able to. It’s why I stick to cardio work at the gym that is more upper body than lower body, and do a lot of weights and boxing. Also, every nutritionist and trainer and doctor I’ve spoken to really push the idea of weight training these days because it builds up muscle which in turn burns fat faster. It’s why in my previous job, we tried to encourage our elderly residents to do weights – particularly those who were wheelchair bound and were struggling with weight problems.

      Love your post by the way

      • That’s a much more extreme version of the reason I don’t run – I have bad knees and am trying to avoid needing knee replacements later on! I don’t walk for exercise, either; I do other things that are more intense, more interesting, and MUCH more difficult ;) – and things that aren’t bad for my knees. :) I can walk long distances, but it’s hardly strenuous exercise, even though I can walk multiple 12 minute miles in a row. You’re right, building muscle does burn more calories.

        • ButterflyWings says:

          Unfortunately my knee replacements are unavoidable. I’ve known since my third knee operation 8 years ago I would need them. I was 25. However for medical reasons they won’t do them until I’m in my 50s. They just don’t do it earlier here.

          I am holding out hope for treatments being trialled that regrow knee cartilage. It won’t fix all my knee problems, but it should theoretically fix most of the damage to one of my knees (but sadly not the other).

          • Oh no! Well, my dad had both knees replaced at the same time (which everyone expressed shock about, but he just wanted to get it over with!), and I will say this to you, not to scare you but to encourage you – it was extremely painful when his body was adjusting right after the surgery, and the physical therapy is super painful to start out with but super necessary, and right afterward he wondered what the heck he had been thinking. It was so hard to see him try to make those first steps. BUT after his body adjusted and after being in physical therapy for awhile, he realized it was one of the best choices he had ever made! He can do anything now, he can get out of bed in the morning without pain, he can play with the grandkids, he can take the dogs on walks, he can get up from the chair without having to psych himself up for it, he can do his gardening, he can live life. His life has improved so much. The pain before his surgery was so bad that his doctor actually prescribed him morphine pills, and he doesn’t have to take any of that anymore! I highly recommend that you do it as soon as you can. Be prepared for the pain, but while you’re going through it remember that it won’t be long before you’ll actually be able to run without pain if you want to!

          • (I don’t know how far off you are from 50, but if you’re a lot younger hopefully they’ll make an exception)

          • ButterflyWings says:

            I’m 33 and no exceptions – unless I could come up with tens of thousands to pay for the operation myself. Neither the government nor my health insurer would cover it. But having worked in orthopaedics myself and spoken to a lot of doctors, I haven’t found who would be willing to.

            Your dad is a lucky man. Very few doctors are willing to do both knees at once. I spent 6 months working in orthopaedics and never met any patient who was allowed to. However, at my last job, one of my workmates had both done at once and when she came back to work 3 months later, the change was amazing!

            It’s a path I hope doesn’t come about though. The cartilage regrowing that is being trialled in some hospitals sounds promising. I’m waiting to get into a specialist where I’m living now to see if I can get into a treatment trial. Here’s hoping and praying.

  50. Catherine Francis… What an educated and very well thought out response. How refreshing! Thank you! Happy Mother’s Day to all!
    Mimi

  51. I don’t understand how telling our men that they must accept us and love us as we are is any different than them telling us they don’t find us attractive. What are we both after? Change. They’re telling us they want us to put effort into changing our appearance to make them happy. We’re telling them we want them to change their attitude and the way God hard wired them (they are visual beings). We are both telling each other to change. Why is it right for the woman to tell that to the husband but not vice versa?

    We don’t know enough about this situation to identify sin on either party. As wives, we can analyze our hearts and see where we sin and repent.

  52. Carolyn Dahl says:

    Sometimes the faults we see in others is nothing more than our own personal frustrations with ourselves being reflected back at us. Maybe the weight isn’t really what is bothering your husband, perhaps there is another issue at play and for some reason he is just focusing on that instead of opening up and telling you what is really bothering him.

    Maybe your husband just misses the time he used to have with his wife before the kids came… maybe he feels frustrated about some aspect of your relationship and just isn’t verbalizing it in a way that is constructive. I think the best thing you can do is pray about it, pray for your husband, but also pray for the Lord to help you understand what is going on and how the both of you can make it better. Talk to your husband and just try to work through this together.

    I’m pregnant with baby number 4 so I can relate to how hard it is to lose the baby weight. I always get to the last 10 pounds and then I end up pregnant before I can lose it! I’m sorry that you feel less attractive, I know I never feel particularly sexy with extra baby weight hanging around either! I do hope that you and your husband can work through this together and find some happiness.

  53. Others people’s weight is really none of my business. I think we all should focus on our own issues. I am sure many here do ear alot but have great metabolism. I am sure some drink too much or shop excessively. The issue isn’t her weight it’s her husbands abusuve attitude towards her.

    • Anonymous says:

      Mimi,
      I don’t want to hurt your feelings but I must say people calling this “abuse” is nuts. Just because your feelings got hurt does not mean it is abuse. In fact nothing hurts real abuse victims more than throwing around the word abuse for things that are not even close to abuse. If feelings getting hurt are a sign of abuse…you, Sheila, and a hundred other ladies on here have abused me numerous times! But that is not a rational comment by me. If you want men to do go to counseling, or get married at all please don’t go around calling things like this abuse. It is for exactly reasons like this men do not. The minute women get unhappy in modern days they are abused…nothing could be further from the truth.

      • ButterflyWings says:

        Anonymous I don’t think you understand the danger of emotional abuse. You are wrong…. nothing hurts real abuse victims more than denying that what they sufffered is abuse. I went through hell with all sorts of abuse with my first husband – physical, sexual, verbal/emotional….and you know what? it’s the verbal/emotional abuse that hurts far worse than ANY of the physical and sexual abuse. Him strangling me and trying to kill me, him raping me….none of that hurts anywhere near as bad as the emotional attacks. Physical wounds heal far more easily and quickly than emotional ones.

        It has been more than 6 years since getting my abusive exhusband out of my life. The flashbacks of him trying to kill me stopped within weeks of him leaving. The flashbacks of the verbal put downs, many about my looks, still torment me to this day.

        Emotional abuse is an insidious evil. Please don’t insult real abuse victims by trying to say it’s just about hurt feelings and shrug it off as nothing.

        To tell a size 8 woman (a perfectly healthy and good looking size) that she is unattractive because of her weight is a crushing attack of her self esteem.

        Back when I was a teenager, I was a size 6 (before I got ill and injured). I was tormented mercilessly by the kids at school for being “fat”. And I believed them. It got so bad that I attempted suicide just to escape the bullying at school. It wasn’t just my weight, but that seemed to be their favourite thing to attack. I look back at photos of my now, and I was bordering on unhealthily SKINNY. But the constant torment about calling me fat and ugly drove me to wishing I was a dead.

        It wasn’t until more than a decade later when I’d removed all bullies from my life, that I finally had the courage to go back and look at photos of me as a teenager. I had spent more than a decade never looking at photos of me because I thought I had been some kind of fat grotesque monster. And I was shocked to see in the photos that nothing could be further from the truth.

        You have no idea of the damage bullying someone about their weight is.

        • I love your post, ButterflyWings. I can’t believe that someone would think a size 8 is fat. I used to be a size 4 – well, at a couple of points I was a size 2, but usually a size 4; then went up to a six around couple of years ago, then this year I had to buy a size 8. I look at pictures of me at size 4 and I never want to be that skinny again! I don’t necessarily want to lose weight now, I just want to tone up a bit and maintain weight at least. I have nice curves now, and curves are a good thing. At a size 8, my stomach doesn’t pooch out, so how is that fat? And I’m more in shape now than I was at a size 2! This guy really needs to get his head on straight….

        • Anonymous says:

          BW,
          I was the heaviest kid in elementary school before losing the weight to become a star athlete. I was bullied and teased and know all to well what it is about. I am currently considered “obese”…I don’t think I am but I do carry a few extra pounds. I think I’m mostly the size of two men in muscle. Most jobs sites it’s me on one end of a heavy item and three on the other, but yes, I still get the “lay off the pie dude” comments. Trust me I get it.

          But please read my below post. You don’t understand the damage of being labeled an abuser when in fact you are not (I was the one being abused). If everytime you said something that hurt your child’s feelings someone accused you of child abuse you might look at this different. That is the situation men are in in today’s world. I take abuse real serious…I’m the felllow that told you if I was your father or brother your first husband still would not have been found, but this is not emotional abuse. Not even close. Now if he shouted at her “you’re a fat pig”…then that’s emotional abuse. But to be honest and say he is struggling being attracted to her is not even close to being emotional abuse and yes saying it is is doing a huge disservice to all.

          I understand there are a handful of you gals that have been truly abused and I’m so sorry for that. If I could go back and change that for you I would in a heartbeat…I despise men who hurt women but you cannot super-impose your hurt/feelings/fragile relationship with men into every situation. I feel for what you’ve been thru BW but you do this on every post. Your two husbands are very different from each other and very different from the majority of men and husbands in the world. I don’t mean this cruelly because other than this I think you sound like a pretty neat lady but out of the 100 men I interact regularly with not a single one is like either of your husbands. Thankfully they are the exception…first because he was a douche bag and second because he sounds like a nice fellow but doesn’t have the deep, rough, manly side to him (and that’s okay…he sounds like a good guy & you are lucky to have him but he does sound a little more emotionally fragile than most men? & not the normal level of testostrone).

          • My wife counsels women and she regularly hears from them how “abusive” their husbands are to them. With the exception of one out of twenty, by the time she is done readjusting their own perceptions so they can see clearly, they recognize that what they originally thought was abusive was perhaps unkind, or unthoughtful, maybe even mean at times, but far from abusive.

            If we accept “abuse” at such a low level of living with a difficult spouse, many a husband is being abused by his wife, yet man simply accept she is being difficult or in a bad mood.

            Yes, that one in twenty, or three in twenty, who is truly abusive does exist, but too often what is considered abuse in one relationship because of raw feelings, happens over an over again in healthy relationships and is dealt with and over in a day.

            I do have great sympathy for anyone in a truly abusive relationship, and all who think they are being abused should seek a wise counselor, or friend to evaluate if it is truly abuse, or simply a difficult spouse. But I agree with Anonymous, the facts given in this example is far from abusive, even if it is unthoughtful and unkind.

    • I agree that the issue isn’t her weight! And that her husband’s attitude is akin to emotional abuse. But having been in a difficult marriage for a long time now, and finally accepting that I can’t change him and I have to do what I can to be happy no matter what he does (which is so hard, but imperative in the long run for health and sanity)…..I think the most important thing to do is for her to take care of herself. Maybe that’s not the answer in every situation, I don’t know, but it just seems that when you reach the point that there is nothing you can do, that you have to make room for HEALTHY happiness for YOU. And that in turn will affect your marriage in a good way, hopefully; and if not, you’re still happy. I just got to the point where I had to stop allowing myself to be hurt. (Again, SO hard, and sometimes I fail at it.) I found things I love to do and that make me feel good, and I make them a priority. If my husband wants to spend time with me and talk and make love, great! If not, I have other things I can do. You can’t let someone else’s behavior determine your happiness. That comes from within yourself, and from God. Love from your husband is icing on the cake, but it’s not necessary.

      Is that bad, Sheila? Again, I don’t know if it’s applicable in every situation, but it has helped me cope and be happy. You (in general; also I) can’t allow your husband, or anyone else, to be in charge of your happiness. Find a hobby that is healthy – not something that is detrimental to your marriage, of course – and that you enjoy: exercise, do crafts, volunteer, dance, play music, create, whatever makes you happy. Something just for you, not for your husband or kids. Learn to love yourself for who you are. I like a motivational poster that I read, reasons to be fit: “To love my body for what it can do, instead of what it looks like.”

      I’m speaking from my situation, of course, but in my opinion her focus needs to be taken off of him and what he thinks/says/does, and redirected towards making herself stronger and happier as an individual. That’s attractive in itself, but the goal shouldn’t be to make herself more attractive to her spouse. She’s worth SO MUCH MORE than he gives her credit for. We are not our bodies. We are much more than that. We are souls loved by God. ….I don’t know, it’s what has been necessary in my situation. Do you think it’s applicable in this situation, Sheila?

  54. Well it is what it is. I was severely abused growing up. I can sense am abusive person or situation a mile away. Sadly. This man is rejecting his wife. That is abusive. Sorry.. It is. Whether you agree or not. That is a fact.

  55. Jenny… That is amazing and I sppauld you fir being so strong and loving to yourself because people won’t respect you till you respect yourself first and that is what you are doing! Good for you! It’s never a good idea to look for anyone’s approval. That gets us in bad situations. Only we know what is best for us. Love begins with yourself. If you don’t love you. You can’t rely live someone else. How true!

  56. I was heavier when hubby and I got married. I actually LOST weight when pregnant with our son. Then, in 2009, I had gastric bypass surgery, having lost 90 pounds. Yet that didn’t stop him from having an affair. HE cheated on a thinner me! Just like his first wife cheated on him.
    I’m definitely healthier than I was 14 years ago. I do need to drop a few pounds because last year I lost a kidney due to kidney cancer and a month ago had a partial thyroidectomy due to a goiter. I’ve suffered with hypothyroidism for 10 years. I see more Dr’s than my 89 year old mother in law. So I’ve gained about 10lbs in the last year.

    I agree with Sheila that something ELSE is going on with the husbands and they are using the wife’s weight gain as an excuse for their behavior. To justify it in their mind, that’s what my husband did when he cheated…said “I” wasn’t caring enough of his needs. No, he was laid-off while I was out supporting our family so we wouldn’t end up homeless and he has an affair.

  57. Anonymous says:

    Jenny,
    Happiness is icing on the cake…but it is not what we are called to. Yes, we find our worth in Christ Jesus…but not in ourselves. Ourselves are wretched sinners. Happiness is a great by-product of living a life that is following Christ and others (our spouse first), but if our end goal is happiness we will always be dissappointed. Selfishness never leads to long-term happiness. We are called to die to ourselves and take up our cross and follow Him. In fact we are told to be glad during our persecutions and trials. We don’t find ourselves in “ourselves” or in our self-worth. He find ourselves in Him and yes, loving our spouse. Jenny please read my post below also since you used the word abuse.

    Mimi,
    You have no idea who you are talking to nor the disadvantage men face in “abuse”. As a husband who was abused pretty severely because I refused to commit my dear wife who was sick for a long while and yet was accused by her family and friends of being the abuser even though she told them otherwise I will tell you again, the word abuse is FAR, FAR, FAR over used and it is not something you want to use unless you have hard evidence because the bias is extreme. You want to ruin a marriage and family because of a few words over the internet? We are called to a much higher level of discernment than that. Throwing words around like that is reckless, endangering and downright careless. Most women don’t take this into account because they are so rarely accused (even though women are gaining very, very fast and coming close to being equal in domestic abuse cases if you look at the hard stats and not the women hating men sites). But how would you like to be accused of child abuse? You don’t throw words around like that unless you have a lot more to go on, it’s way to dangerous.

    • I don’t think you quite understand what I was saying or where I am coming from. It is not selfishness. It is survival. To be immersed in a marriage where there is….I won’t go fully into my situation, there is more than this in my situation but that’s not the point here, anyway to be immersed in a marriage in which you are treated very badly is not healthy. You have to have outside hobbies, things to release stress, things to make you a stronger person. If you stay focused on problems, you will never survive. Trust me, I know. And I NEVER EVER said to not love your spouse. I said when you are not loved, you have to find healthy ways to cope with that so that you can SURVIVE – I used the words be happy but in my mind they were the same.

      You are telling people not to throw around accusations without knowing the full story. Please take that into account for yourself as well.

      • Anonymous says:

        Jenny,
        I’m not trying to attack you and don’t want to hurt you. I’m trying to help you understand another angle and that’s all. By your own response I took you at your word…meaning the words you used. I didn’t create a story around it. You talked about “being happy”. And “emotional abuse” in the case of the OP. As far as “being happy”…heck yes, get some outside hobbies going. Nobody is saying otherwise. What I am saying is if you shoot for happiness you’ll miss both happiness and holiness. Shoot for holiness and you’ll generally end up with both. That’s all. We live in a “me”, it’s all about me world…and that is the exact opposite of what our faith is about. I don’t know your story or your marriage…I just took you at your own words. I did not mean to upset you in the least. As far as emotional abuse…just be careful. What you said about your husband in your posts was no less “mean” than what the OP’s husband said. In other words if you hold yourself to the same standard you had just emotionally abused your husband. We have to be real careful with the words we use and make sure we apply both the same grace and the same high standards to ourselves that we do to others. Please have a great day and God bless you and your marriage.

        • What did I say about my husband in the things I’ve posted here? I said nothing specific, other than things are difficult and have been for a long time, and that I needed to become strong as an individual and not rely on him for my happiness. I’m not sure how that is the same as telling someone that she’s fat and ugly.

          • Anonymous says:

            Jenny,
            Again, i mean you no ill will but honestly do you think it’s so hard to read between the lines in saying what you are saying about your marriage and not hear “my husband is some kind of messed up selfish jerk”…if you are causing the problems in your marriage than I think you’d say so…that’s what I’d do. But to come here and say my marriage is in such a bad state that i have to get out of the house screams my husband is very bad to aweful. You didn’t use the words to be fair but that was what you were relating and how you went about “surviving” it. Again, I mean you no ill will. I’m sure you are a fine lady and I wish you the best but to be perfectly honest yes, there was not much of a difference between your post and the original poster…sorry, both my wife and i read it that way. Not trying to be mean at all but hopefully shed some light on just how precarious it is to throw words around like emotional abuse.

          • I believe you do mean ill will, and you do intend to upset me, with all of your accusations when you know absolutely NOTHING about my situation. Please do not speak to me again. I’m serious. I don’t care if you don’t like something I say, DO NOT SAY ANYTHING TO ME EVER AGAIN.

  58. juanita smith says:

    I would say it isnt you. That had to be so devasting to you and not to mention so very hurtful. Your husband is communicating something to you, but it has nothing to do with your weight. Maybe something is lacking in your marriage. Pray about ways to communicate with your husband about the deeper issues. And just know, no matter what, you are beautiful!!

  59. I have been completely shocked as of late how many female friends have told me they have friends who abuse their husbands. The ease with which the words emotional abuse are thrown around is scary. If we were to be honest (yeah, I know, it hurts), we women woudln’t be accusing our men so often of verbal abuse. I’ve heard things spewed from womens’ mouths that are emotional abuse by the definitions we use in relation to our men. But for some reason, if it’s a woman, it’s acceptable. Just saying that if we want to play that card, we best be willing to look at our own sin as well.

    Someone saying they don’t find their spouse attractive hurts, yes. But that doesn’t automatically mean it’s abuse.

    I don’t mean to belittle honest abuse. I just want to call out women in saying that if we judge ouselves the way we judge men in regards to abuse, we are JUST as guilty. If not more so. My mom spewed much more hateful abusive words to my dad than he ever said. He was a gently spoken man, but my mom, oh she spewed venom. No one called her on it. If we use the same standards, it would be abuse.

    When I worked in a day care center the director always encouraged us to get to know the families. That way we could make more accurate judgements if there ever was abuse in question. Without knowing the family, both sides of the story and more than just “my husband says I’m not attractive” we can’t immediately jump to abuse.

    Just saying, be careful what you accuse people of.

    • ButterflyWings says:

      There definitely are some abusive women… and sadly mutually abusive cases. My own mother spews unimaginable venom. Part of it is because she is mentally ill and gets paranoid that people are out to get there – but even if she honestly believed people were out to get her, it does not excuse her verbally abusive (and sometimes physically abusive) attacks on them.

      But what really has always disgusted me is the fact that my father encourages her. He’d rarely hit someone himself – but if he wishes violence upon someone, he’d encourage my mother to attack them. I try to tell myself part of it is fear that she’d turn on him if she wasn’t attacking others, but that is no justification either.

      And my exhusband ( the violent wife beating child-abuser) is now stuck with a mistress-turned-second-wife who is more violent and abusive than even he is. After years bashing me and trying to kill me, he now just stands their crying while she violently attacks him. I know he wants to hit her back – it’s not that he has a moral problem with it (he has no moral problem with it at all), it’s just he’s scared of more violence from others in her life if he does and quite simply she knows all his secrets (his drug dealing, his abuse against me) and he knows if he attacks her back, she’ll go to the police and they’ll take her seriously because of his history of violence against me.

      It’s a strange messed up world.

  60. Sheila,
    This is such a difficult situation. I think you have answered it very well in your revamped post. More than any other thing, these couples need our prayers. Making either party feel worse through mean comments only adds to the guilt & frustration. Usually situations like this in a marriage are a sign of deeper problems, communication or other types, that need worked on. I think it has little to do with the actual weight gain & more to do with communication & love issues. I will keep these couples in my prayers.
    Lea recently posted…FMS vs MS vs my symptomsMy Profile

  61. ButterflyWings says:

    I swear I must be the only woman in the world whose husband tells them to go to the gym less.

    I’m not an addict – just hubby is worried about my health because he sees the effect it has on me.

    But it’s a choice – exercise past what is safe for my health, or gain weight which is not safe for my health. I’ve tried cutting back recently because my husband keeps nagging me about it, but it’s difficult

    • Haha, my husband tells me, “You can do side bends or sit-ups, but please don’t lose that butt!” (Yes, an extremely dirty song, I know…)

    • I just thought, have you tried doing pilates? I highly recommend it. It’s a great way to exercise without hurting your knees. I can’t do squats or lunges or knee curls or anything like that (because of my knees), but there are a lot of pilates exercises that I can do, and that are super effective. (Sometimes squats and stuff are involved in pilates, but I do something else that won’t hurt my knees while the instructor is doing those).

      • ButterflyWings says:

        Jenny I do a mix of pilates and yoga called body balance. It helps my back pain but doesn’t do anything for weight loss

  62. Great advice Sheila. There are indeed many issues that cause problems with weight gain and weight loss. Right now I know someone (female) that is struggling with overweight not because she is lazy or doesn’t care about her appearance, in fact she carries herself well, but because there is a tumor in her brain that causes her to gain weight.

    I agree that we should be a little more careful in how we respond to other peoples situation. As outsiders we dont know the full story. Jesus told us not to judge but to give love instead. Let’s find a way to give useful advice.

    These issues are real nad people need encouragement not discouragement.

  63. Okay, everybody, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa.

    It seems as if there are quite a few conflicts in these comments, specifically about what constitutes abuse, and I’d like to speak to that for a moment.

    First, I absolutely agree that the term is abuse is thrown around too often. It is a very emotion-laden term, and we need to be very careful when using it.

    I also believe that one cannot look at the story I presented and say that this constitutes abuse. We do not know what else is going on, and as I said, this was a compilation of three people’s emails. There is absolutely no way, from that short email, that you could say, “this woman is being abused”. Many women on this blog have suffered abuse, and I understand that. But please, if you have suffered abuse, understand that not all marital disagreements are similarly abuse. I know you’re sensitive to it, and that’s a good thing. You need to learn to protect yourself. But many times people are simply having disagreements or working through issues, and that is NOT abuse.

    However, on the other side, no one should ever say to another commenter “you are not being abused”, or “you shouldn’t be talking that way about your husband”, because quite simply you do not know. And I can tell you, from an ongoing relationship that I do have, especially with one of the commenters, that she definitely HAS been abused and that she SHOULD be separating from him.

    We each have our own biases when we come here; please do not attempt to tell other people, when you do not know the whole story, what is going on in their homes.

    Saying something like, “it sounds like you have had a lot of difficulties in your marriage, and you feel really hurt. I think talking to someone in real life and getting an outsider’s perspective on some of these issues may really be helpful,” is perfectly valid. Saying, “you’re being abused” or “you’re not being abused” is not.

    I just ask that we all take a step back and give some allowance to each other, okay?

  64. I have turned comments off for this post. I think some of the conversation is definitely NOT helpful. There has been some wonderful advice, but also some very hurtful posts, and I apologize for allowing a venue for that kind of hurt. I’m feeling very badly about it. I just posted an update on this. I am no longer going to be posting Reader Questions. I think this is not a good forum, and too often people give advice which is actually quite harmful, not helpful. I should have been wiser before allowing this in the first place, and I do apologize.

  65. kharking says:

    I admit that I asked my own husband about what his response would be to this since it is something that we have dealt with and will again, no doubt, once I’m no longer pregnant. His thoughts:
    1. Check in on the other forms of sexual gratification like porn, looking at other women, masturbation, etc. It sounded odd to him that a pursuing wife would be consistently turned down.
    2. It might be possible for her to have issues (sinful or otherwise) with food or it might not; there isn’t enough information to know. However, he wouldn’t trust himself to be the one to discuss it since his own feelings about it would complicate the discussion too much. Let that be something that the Holy Spirit deals with–He is much more trustworthy with such a sensitive subject, particularly at this juncture. Rather than saying you’re fat and ugly (which is what we all hear when our husbands say something like that whether they mean it or not), have a discussion about how the family as a whole can be healthier. That turns it from an accusatory statement into something that becomes a mutually supported goal. It becomes not about numbers on a scale, which are misleading at best and can mean quite different things at different stages of life but about having a healthy life and body, which can benefit not only the wife but everyone. For us, that means that my husband agrees to eat the healthier foods that I prepare (whether he likes them or not) and that he makes available the time and resources for me to exercise. I then have a responsibility to take advantage of those opportunities as they are afforded to me. I admit that we have done a better job of this at some times more than others–but that is the vicissitudes of changing family life and marriage needs.
    3. What does he mean by not attractive? The question seems to focus on the weight issue but that isn’t always the real issue. It is horribly, horribly HARD to have the discussion about what the primary issues are but since it is an ongoing problem that might be a helpful to understand what is going into that. Then it becomes, as above, a mutually supported goal to understand how to help each other deal with the situation as it is and address improvements as needed.
    4. We had to learn to recognize and utilize the many facets that make up intimacy. When we started having these issues, we met with an older couple and what came out of that was learning how to appreciate the whole person and also to practice as many types of intimacy as we could and then direct that closeness into lovemaking. It didn’t start out that way and it wasn’t easy (particularly for my husband), but he did get to a point where having emotional or intellectual closeness was enough to want to connect physically and I enjoyed his appreciation of those other areas enough to focus on that rather than evaluating whether or not he was finding me physically attractive in that moment or not. We work on this together and he has needed the encouragement of a mentor and close friend along the way as the old ways of viewing each other have recurred. I would love for him to find me beautiful all of the time but I need to be happy with him finding my other qualities to be what is beautiful and appealing since those are things that I hope that will be growing in me over the years whereas the parts of me that were physically attractive when I was younger will inevitably fade anyway. Just to be clear, of course, this works both ways :).

    This was an interesting question for us to start thinking about again even if the original questioner didn’t find the discussion helpful.

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  1. […] Yesterday, for instance, I posted about a woman who had gained 25 pounds since her kids were born, and her husband now doesn’t find her attractive. One of the comments said that gaining 25 pounds was sinful, and she was defrauding her husband. […]