What if My Husband Doesn’t Find Me Attractive? A Round-Up

"My Husband Doesn't Find Me Attractive." How to process this hurt and decide how to deal with it.

Last weekend I caused a bit of a hullabaloo by posting a Reader Question that said, “I’ve gained 25 pounds since we had kids, and now my husband doesn’t find me attractive. He wants me to be skinnier. He apologized for hurting me, but he frequently turns me down when I proposition sex. What should I do?”

There were some not very helpful comments left on that post, and I thought it was an important enough subject to revisit and post some of my thoughts! So here goes, in no particular order:

1. Don’t Mess Around with Your Spouse’s Confidence

Being attractive to your husband is HUGE. If your spouse tells you you’re not attractive, that’s devastating, and it’s hard to recover from. We’re supposed to delight in our spouses, not tear them down. So this is something that is likely best to keep to yourself.

That being said, sometimes we do need to be honest. Let’s say your husband has gained a tremendous amount of weight and sex is now just plain uncomfortable (I like to be able to breathe, for instance). Or perhaps you have gained 150 pounds and he does find it difficult to become aroused just seeing you now.

How do you handle that?

Address the health issues. Be part of the solution–like cooking better meals, initiating walks after dinner, and finding active habits to enjoy. If your spouse is  severely overweight, talk to him/her about how you don’t want him/her to die early, and you think that part of loving your spouse is taking care of yourself so you’re actually here to help raise the kids and see the grandkids and share old age with. But don’t make it into a “I don’t find you attractive” issue–or “you need to be skinnier” issue. In general, that’s not helpful.

No spouse should tell the other they're not attractive! Read on.

2. The Onus is on the Husband to Delight in the Wife; not on the Wife To Make Herself Delectable

Proverbs 5:19 says,

Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight;

It does not say, “Make sure YOUR breasts delight HIM”; it says to him, “delight in your wife.” Biblically, the onus is on the spouse to stay enthralled.

And that verse was directed at an older, married couple, too, where likely gravity had taken its toll!

3. That Being Said, We Are To Try To Delight Our Husbands

I believe that part of loving your man and helping your man is being as attractive as you can be. After all, you’re the only woman he’s allowed to look at and take delight in! So make sure you’re attractive to look at!

That does mean keeping in shape as much as is realistic. Watch what you eat. Incorporate as many active things into your life as possible. Eating well does not take any more time than eating poorly, and so it’s a blessing we can give our family and our husbands. Choosing to walk places or choosing to take up biking as a family are all good things that can help us keep our weight manageable.

But even if you’re not a size 2 (and very, very few of us are), you can still be attractive! Fight the frump everyday. Get dressed. Wear clothes that flatter (and you can do that even if you’re plus-sized!). So much of being sexy is about attitude, not just what we look like. If you’re passionate with your husband, and you present yourself well, you’re choosing to love him.

4. Let’s Not Forget the Main Thing

At the same time, let’s not forget the point of this life.

1 Timothy 4:8 says:

“Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.”

So there’s nothing wrong with exercise; but let’s remember that our lives should not be about creating the perfect body at the expense of other things. I weigh about 22 pounds more today than I did when I was married. I walk a lot. I eat well. I exercise moderately. For me to get back to the weight I was when I was married would require a tremendous amount of effort. I’d have to be at the gym likely for about an hour and a half a day.

Is it worth it?

I don’t think so. I’m not saying exercising is bad; for many people, it’s their stress relief and their hobby, and that’s wonderful. But I have other hobbies. If I were to exercise for an hour and a half a day, that time would have to come from somewhere. Should I write this blog less? Should I stop writing my next book (or take about 3 times as long to write it?) Should I speak less? Should I homeschool my daughter less?

In other words, there are opportunity costs. And right now I think speaking and writing and spending time with my kids takes precedence over trying to look like I did when I was 20.

Now, if I were 250 pounds and this were a serious heath issue, then I’d feel differently. But we must weigh the costs, and not see the whole weight issue in a vacuum. When people tell someone, “just lose the weight”, you have to look at how difficult that would be, and whether it’s actually worth it. Much depends on the weight you’re starting at, and how realistic that target weight is.

So if you’re really hurting because your husband wants you to lose weight, think about it logically like this. Is it a health issue or not? Would it require a tremendous amount of effort? Is he only attracted to skinny women because he watches porn? Don’t immediately take on the guilt of gaining weight until you’ve put it in perspective.

5. Our Bodies Aren’t Supposed to Stay the Same

For someone to tell their spouse “I don’t find you attractive anymore because you don’t look like you did when we married” is a little harsh, because our bodies are not designed to stay the same. They are designed to slowly fall apart. That’s what aging is. After you have babies, you sag. You have stretch marks. You are bigger. You just ARE.

And as you age, you get moles. You get more hair growing on your upper lip and chin (where did THAT come from?!?!) Your veins start to stick out.

Your metabolism slows, and while you could eat a ton at 20 and stay 120 pounds, now you eat less and you’re 145. That’s what our bodies do.

Maturity means recognizing this and delighting in having a spouse to grow older with, not in expecting that person to stay 20.

He has made everything beautiful--even you!

He has made everything beautiful–even you!

6. We Put Way Too Much Emphasis on the Perfect Body

Sex is supposed to unite us in multiple ways–spiritually, physically, emotionally. The physical is only one. And when we put so much emphasis on needing the perfect body in order to make love we’ve lost the point. We’ve cheapened sex.

Yes, the body is important, and yes, we need to do what we can to keep ourselves attractive to our husbands. But that does not mean looking like you’re 20 when you’re 35 and you’ve had 4 kids.

By the time you’re 35 and you’ve had 4 kids, sex should be about celebrating who you are together. It should be a way to relax. It should be a way to cement your relationship as you parent together. It should be about saying, “I’m still crazy about you.” It should be ALL of those things.

Unfortunately, in our pornographic society it’s all too easy to think that “sexy” means a certain body type. And when we constantly feed our minds with what those bodies look like, through consuming media or even porn, then it’s hard for our spouses to measure up.

We MUST fight against this.

If your spouse is telling you that you aren’t attractive and that they don’t find you sexy, then perhaps it’s time to sit down and have a big talk about what intimacy really is.

You can make a commitment to get healthy and to keep yourself attractive, but that’s only half the story. It’s also about recognizing that godly intimacy is a meeting of bodies AND souls, not just bodies. And if you say, “your body isn’t attractive, so I don’t want to make love”, you’re also basically rejecting the soul. God designed sex to help us feel like one SPIRITUALLY, not just PHYSICALLY. So if you say, “I physically don’t want to have sex with you,” you’re also saying, “I don’t want to feel like one with you.” That’s harsh. And it’s wrong. And it means that you’ve bought into a shallow version of sex.

31 Days to Great SexMy 31 Days to Great Sex book can help you work through this, because it shows us how sex can unite us spiritually and not just physically. And there are exercises to reclaim that part of your sex life. I also walk through several days where we talk about what to do when each other’s bodies aren’t as attractive as they once were. So if this is a struggle in your marriage, pick it up!

Weight is a really complex issue. I do think our marriages are worth the effort to look good, and to stay within a reasonable weight (definitely NOT what you were at 20, mind you!). Your spouse SHOULD matter to you, and making love is a huge part of marriage. Continuing to try to entice your spouse is a huge way of saying, “I care about you.”

Nevertheless, sex is best and most meaningful when it is not just about the body. Put too much emphasis there, and you buy into the world’s idea of sex. And that just cheapens it.

And that’s it–all my thoughts on the subject on what to do if your husband thinks you’re not attractive! I think I’ll keep putting up Reader Questions once a week, but I’ll answer them instead and set the tone. A number of you have said you appreciated the feature, so I’ll keep it up there. I think if I set the tone, the chance of the comments becoming too outrageous is a lot lower.

Comments

  1. Sheila, you completely hit the nail on the head with this one. I love your take on it. If you set the tone with an answer like this with the reader questions, I think there definitely won’t be discord. How can one argue against the points you made here? :) Thanks! This definitely made me see things in a clearer light. You said everything perfectly.

  2. Awesome roundup.
    I don’t understand some of those other comments. I find my wife more attractive now than ever, despite having given birth to 4 children (including 1 c-section and one breach delivery), stretchmarks, scars and all. Despite the fact that she looks very tired these days from being up with a teething baby while continuing to home-school our children.

    So often, I just look at her and think: How did I get so lucky, not only is she smart, but she’s gorgeous! What did I do to deserve this?

    And besides, I’m the one in the marriage that needs to lose the most weight.

  3. Jrmiss86 says:

    I love this! I have always struggled with my weight, since I was a teenager, and I am finally starting to lose some of it, two kids later. Not because my husband wants me to, but because I want to! I am the one who is constantly worried that I won’t be attractive enough.

    • My wife has the same concerns and nothing I do seems to be able to dissuade her. It took her many years to stop hiding her body from me. She doesn’t seem to be shy/ashamed being naked in front of me now, but she still doesn’t see how I can find her attractive. I can’t speak for your husband, but most husbands I talk to are still absolutely enthralled with their wife’s body, and I don’t know any models…

  4. Anonymous says:

    I understand what you’re saying, but I can’t help but cringe a little. Weight is not usually as simple as spending more time at the gym. There can be complex emotional issues to deal with. I pray that the 250 pound women reading this will take it in the spirit in which it was intended, and not as a discouragement.

    • AnyMouse says:

      You are right. Excess weight can be very complex to deal with. I’m nearly 100 pounds overweight. But after much reading and research and realizing the medical field doesn’t know everything about the human body and is actually wrong about cause of obesity, I’ve changed my focus: now I want a healthy body, whether it is skinny or fat. The reality is that many skinny people are not healthy, and many fat people are. (And also the reverse, I get that too.) I’m blessed. My husband still finds me attractive, beautiful, even. He is absolutely supportive in helping me with my health, and not worrying about the weight.

      Husband pressuring a wife to loose weight isn’t going to help. Neither will telling her she’s unattractive. Supporting her and loving her through this, well, that’s priceless. That is what the wedding vows were about.

      • Amen! Well put.

        • Anonymous says:

          Sheila, I just saw your note on Facebook about negative comments and I really hope I didn’t hurt your feelings with what I said this morning about cringing a little. Weight is such a sensitive issue and I knew that if you had put my number in there as one to be concerned about (instead of the 250), I would have been devastated by that – not because of what my husband thinks, but because I have trouble seeing myself as attractive. After reading the other comments, I see I am not the only one who struggles with this. I re-read the post again tonight ignoring the number and it sounds totally fine – really balanced and encouraging. It’s funny how certain things can cause such hangups. I’ve been reading your blog for a long time and really appreciate your ministry. For every time I comment in a way that (I hope) is a polite disagreement, there are at least 10 other positive comments elsewhere on other posts.

          • Oh, no, not at all! I was talking about a different thread! I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings, too.

      • It is not complex, emotional or any other nonsense. It only became complex and emotional in the last generation or two. Being overweight is a result of overeating junk. It is a choice of pleasing activities, eating the cupcake, or pleasing results, being thin and not eating the cupcake.

        • This is not true. I have cut all junk out of my house. No pop (though I do splurge on the rare occasion we eat out). I try to buy healthy, whole foods. I try to avoid chemical laden processed foods. I don’t even buy juice, because of its sugar content. I drink coffee or water. I eat what my children eat. I do not feed them junk, and I don’t want it in my house. And yet, I have put on even more weight over the last 6 months. I can attribute it immediately to two things, though there may be other factors: Stress and inactivity. And why? Because I lost my job and I’ve been spending the last 6 months studying 6 to 8 hours a day to earn a license required to get re-employed. It’s not always a matter of “junk”. My husband has put on weight as well, and it’s not because of what he eats. We’ve narrowed it down to stress and his lack of sleep. (He works night shift) Stages of life come and go, and we have to try to live as healthy as possible within those stages. I pray that when this time of raising young children with very little money, and very little free time, changes- hopefully my habits will change as well. Lets also not forget that hormones play a huge role in weight- and our food supply is riddled with growth hormones. It starts with making a conscious effort to live a healthy lifestyle, but it doesn’t happen overnight.

          That being said, my husband rejects me and has rejected me for years. Is it my weight? Possibly. I have to be willing to accept that. But he is sinning by refusing to meet a need that only a husband can fulfill. And in doing so, he opens the door to temptation. The hardest thing to learn in all of this is learning to rely on God and trust Him. I have to remind myself daily to take my thoughts captive, and not let the hurt and rejection become my focus. It is hard. It’s more than hard- it’s painful, devastating, tormenting. And trying to “make” myself attractive when I feel so bad is a tall order- and a daily struggle. So before accusing an overweight person of eating too much junk, take a hard look at yourself and ask God if you are being judgmental or unloving in your way of thinking. I guarantee if you take the log out of your eye first, you will see more to the story.

      • beccabellaboo says:

        I totally agree! Just because a woman is overweight, does not mean she is not healthy. I know and have seen thinner less over weight women in worse health and worse shape than heavier set women. I work in the medical field and I have seen all health types with all body types. I am in great health, but am over weight. Yet, my thighs are more tight than some skinny women I have met.
        The first step for your partner/significant other loving every curve on your beautiful body is YOU loving every inch. I’ve always been a thick girl and I have internally fought myself with my self-esteem. The only way for it to ever end well is for you to truly love yourself.

  5. The Bible commands us to “render due benevolence” and not to deprive each other so either spouse who is depriving the other of sex is going against God’s clear command.
    Lori recently posted…Don’t Dictate To HimMy Profile

  6. Sheila, LOVE this! This is why I love this blog. You are so right on in your answers, and advice.
    My husband has gained a great deal of weight this winter, I am more concerned for his health, but I am still as attracted to him as ever. Because I am attracted to his heart, first and foremost.
    His porn addiction that was disclosed years ago,(and since then being kept under control) has left me with scars that I struggle with…feelings of insecurity and all of that that goes with it…even though he tells me he finds me so beautiful, it is still a struggle.
    I love what you wrote here, it is so perfect for what I need to hear, and share with my husband.

  7. Love. <3 As a couple who is recovering from my husband's porn addiction, we have really struggled with this… Thank you.

  8. I really appreciate the balance in this. We should both be trying to delight our spouse and we should both be delighting in our spouse. We are also to be good stewards of everything God has given us, including our bodies, and I think it’s important to do what we can to stay healthy, without it becoming an idol. I remember a lesson in a Beth Moore Bible study (forget which one) where she talked about weight. She gave the example of a woman who used to be a size 2, but her body changed over the years with some health issues and she found herself at a 16 (or something). The woman talked about how the “perfect number” for her was wherever she could live life without being obsessed either way. If she wanted to be a size 2/4 again, she would have to be obsessive about exercising and eating. But if she allowed herself to stay a 16, then she knew that for her, that meant she had become obsessive about eating too much and slacking on exercising. So the perfect number for her was somewhere around an 8/10…she could exercise a reasonable amount to stay healthy, but also enjoy food in a disciplined moderate way.
    Elizabeth@Warrior Wives recently posted…Addiction, Rage & Waiting For His HeartMy Profile

  9. I didn’t find my husband attractive when we met. I offended his mother by admitting this.

    I did not find him physically attractive then, so I fell in love with HIM, and it was at first sight. There was a connection that I cannot explain, and for me, it was not at all physical. He was the exact opposite of my “dream man” (whom I would never have been able to talk to because I would have felt too self-conscious, shy and awkward). I loved who he was on the inside rather than the shell that would change over the years, anyway. He was already balding at 22 years of age. No surprises there!

    Now, he knocks my socks off and I think he is the most handsome man ever, though he is overweight (I do not even register this when I look at him). During intimate times, we both feel young, fit and attractive. Go figure. It’s God at work.

    Maybe because of this, I cannot fathom finding my husband unattractive now. NOW is the time that love is blind — not to the personality quirks or the irksome habits, but to the exterior that means nothing in the scheme of marriage relationships.

    It is definitely what’s inside that counts.
    Amy recently posted…Working Marriage OvertimeMy Profile

    • Anonymous says:

      I felt the same way about my husband when we first met. I was attracted to him, not his looks. Over time and getting to know him better, he’s become incredibly attractive to me – to the point where I can’t imagine that I didn’t feel that way before! Since that turning point, he’s also lost 55 pounds of excess weight. What a hottie!

  10. I know you kinda talked about it, but I think our attitude makes us attractive or not attractive just as much as weight. Granted, men will first be drawn to the physical (that’s the way they are), but as wives, we need to make sure we are edifying and building them up, not tearing them down. If we are always being disrespectful with our words and actions and always belittling them or trying to boss them, that’s pretty darn unattractive.

    I guess I’m just speaking from my experience in my own marriage when my husband told me I was unattractive. Oh,it hurt! But there was truth to it. I lost 18 pounds as well realizing that just as much (if not more) was that my attitude towards him was just plain ugly. All he could see when he looked at me was the woman who was belittling him and frankly being a witch. I changed that and oddly enough, despite still being overweight, he says all the time now he finds me attractive.

  11. Michelle says:

    I am literally crying as I read this. I KNOW that my body isn’t what it was when we married. I LIVE in this body everyday. I have never told my husband that he is unattractive. Even though he could stand to tone up some himself. I have always tried to make him feel desired and wanted sexually. I have gained 100 lbs in the 19 years we have been together. Some when I quit smoking (because he told me he didn’t want to have sex with me because I stunk). Some after each of our three children were born. And some since I had to begin some rather unpleasant medications for a diagnosed RA. YES, I fully take responsibility for the weight gain. Depression and other things are definitely a factor in the weight gain. After I quit smoking, he still continually refused to have sex when I tried to initiate. We may have had sex 6 times in the last 10 years. And each time I tried to initiate it, he would tell me that I was unattractive and he didn’t want to. The last time I tried to have sex with him, he pushed me away and said that he just didn’t find me attractive and would prefer if I just left it alone. So, I no longer initiate anything. I sleep on my side of the bed and he sleeps on his. I guess I should be grateful he at least still sleeps in the same room. But it hurts my heart, every single day. Cause I know that this is not all about the physical aspect.

    • Sara Robins says:

      I am so sorry, Michelle. Your husband is choosing to be an unloving person :( Do you have anyone to talk to about all this? If not, New Life Live is a great resource http://newlife.com/. I am praying God, who loves you just the way you are, surrounds you with help so that both you and your husband can love each other better.

    • Oh, Michelle, I’m so, so sorry. I’d really encourage you to get some counseling or some help, because this isn’t all right. I wrote a post about that a while ago here: http://tolovehonorandvacuum.com/2013/01/wifey-wednesday-are-you-a-spouse-or-an-enabler/.

      Your husband is not doing right by you if he is refusing you and pushing you away. And I’d really encourage you both to sit down and talk this through, because God wants so much more for you–and He really wants you to feel intimate, not rejected.

      Prayers for you,
      Sheila.

    • Michelle that breaks my heart, I hope things get better for you.

    • Oh dear that’s so terrible.

      Both my mother and my sister has RA and I know some of those meds are dreadful.
      And then you have to cope with the chronic physical pain and the side-effects and everything as well as the emotional rejection.

      I’m not married so I won’t talk about that.

      But if I may be so bold: Both my mom and my sister feels a lot better physically when they exercise. It helps both physically and with the depression. I know you probably don’t want to and feel overwhelmed and probably your body hurts, but just give it a shot.

      Swimming can be good, walking too if your hips and knees and everything is ok. My sister really enjoys low impact workout videos. That way you can exercise at home, cause a gym can be super intimidating. http://www.collagevideo.com/ is a great website. You can choose your level and type and length and everything. They have little video previews and in-depth reviews too. It’s much cheaper than the gym and the videos arrive super quickly. You don’t have to start off with an hour a day. Just 20 min 3 times a week can really make a difference. I knew it helped me a lot when I was depressed. And I still really like the instructors telling me I do a good job. :)

      Praying things get better for you.

    • Been there, done that. I now refuse to sleep in a bed that I’ve been rejected in so many times. Is he into porn? We are just starting to reveal all this stuff in therapy and I think we are freaking the guy out. Good luck, maybe something like Fireproof…mine thought it was hokie.

  12. I think the key to finding your wife attractive is to actually date her like before you were married. Date at least once a week (and they don’t have to be typical dates either). I enjoy and am attracted to who my wife is and I am also attracted to her physically.
    Chad recently posted…The GREATEST Boy Scout Shirt EVER!!!My Profile

  13. Good round-up Sheila! Be blessed:)
    Jennifer recently posted…Mommy RocksMy Profile

  14. I so agree with you. You should never tell your spouse you aren’t attracted to them, that is very hurtful but you can tell them that you are concerned about their health. I love your blog and your take on these issues. Keep up the great work! May God bless you daily!
    Regina recently posted…Day 2 of Love & Respect ChallengeMy Profile

  15. Another great post! (and yes being 70lbs away from where I want to be is discouraging at times but I’m working at it and hubby still chases me soooo….hey it’s not like he still looks the same as he did in college either! :))

  16. Heather says:

    I have a reverse spin on this problem…. I don’t think of MYSELF as attractive. I have always been overweight and was when we got married. My husband always tells me I’m beautiful, but I have a hard time believing it. I just feel so icky! I have been working out and have lost about 15 lbs, with probably 50 to go. Sometimes I have to just close my eyes during our more intimate times and pretty much coach myself through it and constantly remind myself that he loves me and my body. How’s that for a reverse dilemma..haha

    • Anonymous says:

      I am the same way!

    • Way to go on the 15 pounds! That’s wonderful. You are a strong woman. You are a determined woman. And you are a beautiful woman–your husband says so! Let his words wash over you, and his acceptance of you wash over you. I think sometimes God uses the men in our lives to be healers and comforters to us women who often have such negative body image!

  17. I married my husband at the age of 17. I was 125lbs. Well, almost 5 years later I’ve had a baby every year (4) and just found out that baby #5 is on it’s way. I’m about 170 now. Getting pregnant so close to my other pregnancies has not given me time to lose the weight I put on with my first. My husband is always saying how beautiful I am, and can’t keep his hands off (well, we do have 5 kids…;)) But I find myself feeling ashamed and trying to hide myself from him; not wanting to have sex because I’m embarrassed. I mean, he said I was beautiful at 125, how could he possibly think I’m still beautiful at 170??

    But then one day, it hit me. When I focus on myself and how much I don’t like me…it taints my entire way of thinking. I don’t focus on him, and pleasing him. HE enjoys me, and understands that having babies wreaks havoc on a woman’s body. HE gets it… So, now when he starts playing around, I find that his affections make me feel sexy. His attentions make me feel like I’m a super model. And that revelation has greatly changed the way I view myself. It’s how it should be. And I am still working on losing the weight and becoming healthier…just not obsessing over it. =)

    Thanks Sheila for this awesome post!! And I am saddened that Christians would be so nasty to each other on topics that are oh so close to alot of women’s hearts.
    Laura recently posted…Starting to Get ItMy Profile

    • Laura, you raise such a good point!!!

      Let me reiterate it and rephrase a little:

      If your husband finds you attractive and enjoys your body, that’s wonderful.

      If you, then, start hating your body and hiding it out of shame, you are then taking away the pleasure that he DOES have from your body.

      Why would you take away HIS pleasure because YOU feel unattractive? If he thinks you’re attractive–YOU’RE ATTRACTIVE!!!

      Great point, and for all the women struggling with accepting themselves, even when their husbands already do, I’d just encourage you in that direction. Revel in how your husband sees you, and let his feelings towards you be a healing balm for you.

      • Let me add this to your comments, Sheila. I’m also about 20 lbs over my wedding weight (which was actually underweight) and after 3 kids, I have tons of stretch marks and sagging skin and a scar from 3 c-sections. Even though I’m thin (about 120lbs), I still feel extremely self-conscious of the other issues and try to hide from him. He has always told me he thinks I’m beautiful, hot, sexy, whatever but I never really believed him and I showed my disbelief every time he said it. Finally, he told me that when I roll my eyes when he compliments me, he feels like I’m treating him as though he’s lying. And he’s right. I’ve had to just train my thoughts to push out my own negative commentary and focus on actually believing him when he says I’m beautiful.
        Elizabeth@Warrior Wives recently posted…Addiction, Rage & Waiting For His HeartMy Profile

  18. I gained over 100 lbs over the past 20+ years, and I wasn’t really thin when we married. There was a period where my hubby struggled a bit with my weight, but I am so thankful that when he prayed about it, God granted him the ability to love ME. We have had a few conversations that were a bit painful (I’m pretty sensitive) about the health aspects of my weight. He has loved me through the thick and slightly thinner, the back and forth, and everything involved with weight issues. Finally, I have found a way to eat healthy and not feel deprived, and the weight is dropping off quickly and relatively easily, and you know, he loves me just the same. He tells me I’m hot, but then he’s always told me that at every single size. I am assured in his love because he has loved me through it all, and now he’ll be loving some extra skin, and wrinkles I’ve developed over the years that were previously filled out with fat. He’ll love me when I get liver spots and gray hair and my teeth fall out. He’ll still be calling me hot and chasing me around with his new walker when we’re old and gray. I can walk around incognito like I’m just an overweight Mom of four getting groceries, when in reality I am the woman of his dreams. But don’t tell anyone. It’s our little secret.

  19. I love your your additional comments on the question about how we women tend to choose comfort over looking good and how that is not honoring to our husbands. I think we forget how much it means to them–not because they need it, but because it is a love language for them. I think a lot of us, especially me, can get in the habit of saying, “he’s so sex-hungry,” like it’s a bad thing, and so scorn dressing up for him. It feels dirty to us. But we fail to understand that what a romantic date is to a woman, sex is to a man. It is his relational time. Where we want to be complimented, he wants to be desired and sought after. Sex is a huge emotional deal for men. It is our way of loving our husband, comforting him, telling him we believe in him–in a way he will actually hear. At the end of the day, our words and our acts of service mean very little, because we’re just not speaking the language he needs to hear. We are wise to understand that and pursue sex and all things related–flirting, looking attractive, etc.

    But you by no means have to be stick-skinny to be attractive! You do not need to be the weight you were when you walked the aisle, either. The additional comments you added to your post about potential problems like porn seems very helpful to me, but no matter the issue, it’s something to talk over. Women always act like our problems will solve themselves, but they never do: we need to communicate clearly, and use words, rather than being subtle about our feelings. Here’s what I would say:

    You are beautiful. Deep down inside you know it. If you’re having a hard time believing it, go to our Heavenly Father who loves you so, so dearly. He will give you a better perspective on your body that is healthy and positive. You need that. You need to know you’re beautiful and you’re loved, or else you will be frozen in a rut of bad habits and malcontent.

    Once you know you’re beautiful, it’s time to brainstorm. Go to your husband with your God-rooted confidence and be open. I’m so glad you communicated that his words hurt you (and that he apologized–what a man!). Ask him if he has suggestions for how you can be more attractive to him, or if you have suggestions of your own, put them forward. Do you want to lose more weight? Why can’t you? Assess several things:

    1) What is your goal? Is it realistic? Find a goal (losing 10 pounds, instead of 25, for instance) that is attainable.

    2) What is keeping you from attaining it? Brainstorm solutions to those obstacles. Do the kids take up too much of your time? Maybe he can take charge of the kids for an hour three nights a week while you go workout. Or maybe this is important enough (and sex is always important to marriage!!!) to make room in your budget to get a nanny or sitter several mornings a week so you can go on a run. Make it happen, and get his help. This isn’t your problem or his problem, it’s something for BOTH of you to work out.

    3) Find other things, besides your weight, that you can do to get the engines going between you two. Flirt. Pay attention to your outfit. Be confident and proud of how you look. (Remember, God thinks you’re beautiful, regardless of what others think!!) Get excited and be passionate; even if 50% of the time he turns you down, it’s worth it for the other 50%. As you slowly learn what you can do that works, he will slowly learn how to respond. What only works 50% of the time now may work 100% of the time later! The mind is a powerful sex organ; you are teaching him new ways of using it, and he needs to get used to that.

    Remember, it is fully possible to make things work again. Sex is vital to marriage. In the Old Testament, sex and marriage were almost synonymous concepts. And because sex is so important, God makes it so that we can always reignite sexual passion in marriage. It might be hard, and it may take a while. But you can always lean on God, who will make all things possible. At the end of the journey, you WILL have great/oftener sex, and your marriage will have grown a lot along the way. You may not see it now, but the rewards are worth the effort!
    Liz M. recently posted…Why Should I Blog?My Profile

    • Very well said, Liz.

      [Editor's note: the rest of this comment has been deleted. I am not sure why people think that insulting me in comments is a Christian thing to do or a nice thing to do. Disagreeing with me is fine; insulting me or my blog is not. And I will not publish comments like that, nor should anyone expect me to.]

  20. My wife is a bit overwieght; we are both in our 70s. Do I find her attractive? You bet I do. Whenever I hug her (and I do that quite often) I feel so young. She is devastatingly attractive to me. I KNOW she is God’s gift to me and I am so blessed. By the way I do tell her regularly how much I love her, how important she is to me and how thilled I am that she married me. In truth I am more attracted to her now than ever and I love her so much more. Her health problems mean I have to spend quite a bit of time looking after her and I have to take her to frequent medical appointments. I am glad that I can do this for her.

    • melissa says:

      That is one of the most beautiful things I have ever read! My husband feels the same way about me and tells me so all the time and I am blessed, as is your wife. That is the gospel in action…seeing marriage as not being about your own personal fulfillment but as a means to lay yourself aside for the well being of another. Thanks for sharing. You have blessed my heart!

  21. I was reading all of these comments and then thought…..why am I even here? I can’t talk about good things in my marriage. We have some good moments together, but because we’re separated we don’t see each other much, and anyway we still fight quite a bit when we talk. Sex being important is just laughable at this point. We don’t have a normal marriage at all. It’s pointless and tiring to talk about bad things anymore. It is what it is. I’m fine just cruising right now, although I know in my heart we’ll never live together again, and even if we stay married it will be like we’re not. He’ll be moving an hour away from me soon, and I’m planning to get my own place as soon as I can get rid of my debt (which will be awhile, unfortunately). And even if we get divorced, I never want to be with anyone in a romantic way again. I like the idea of being alone, just spending time with friends and family.

    So it just occurred to me that maybe I don’t fit in here anymore. But, I have gotten a lot of encouragement and prayers here, and I keep coming back because I like your thoughts, Sheila.

  22. I agree 99.99% with what Sheila is saying. My only exception would be that if, as a spouse, you’ve seen your partner continue to engage in unattractive behavior (whether refusing to eat reasonably or criticizing you in public) and make no effort to either change or acknowledge your feelings then it might be time to sit down and just flat out explain why you don’t find them attractive. It’s a last resort when someone is behaving unreasonably. Don’t do it over twenty pounds or over how the other person loads the dishwasher.
    Natalie recently posted…how marriage and food bloggers are alikeMy Profile

  23. Excellent post!!! I have much to say, to share about this. I’ll try not to take up a post-length comment.

    But I’m about to just get real.

    Early in my marriage {We just celebrated 15 years. This was probably in the first two to three years. And I’d already gone through a divorce.} we struggled with intimacy. I felt rejected often. I’m going to get real here and just share that I had very large breasts. Small frame, large breasts. As in 34DDD. I realize that some of you may be shaking your heads wishing that was their problem. It was indeed an issue especially for my size. Back and shoulder issues as well. But honestly, they just didn’t look amazing. Large saggy breasts don’t tend to excite on their own. Please take this post from Sheila to heart. Every. Single. Word. Because that alone should not an issue make. Yet it did.

    As I said, I often felt rejected. And while I want to say that I am grateful for my amazing husband, we’ve come a long way and overcome issues that I was unaware of in the early years of our marriage. But someone once told me before we got married that he’d told her, “You know I just don’t like them.” As in my breasts. THAT was not a good friend, by the way. Because how was that constructive? That stayed with me. For years. And at the particular time in my life that I’m trying so {slowly} to get to, I was overwhelmed. It’s an awful feeling to think, believe, or know that your husband does not or may not want you. All the attempts at discussing this, crying, etc were not fruitful.

    God had been speaking to me about nagging, whining. He’d been revealing to me the power of dignity. That word is powerful, ladies. And men. When we grovel, which is what we are doing when we whine and cry and plead and sometimes even nag–SO not attractive. It’s no only ineffective, it’s counter-effective. It just is.

    But one day I took my devastation to the altar on a Sunday morning. I looked akin to someone who was desperate for her very life, literally falling into the arms of a Sister on the prayer team. I poured out with great emotion that which I feared–I don’t think my husband wants me!!! The words she spoke without hesitation were completely unexpected but extremely powerful.

    “So what? So what if that’s true? Then what? What are you going to do about it?”

    There was no harsh tone. Just realization. She spoke words that needed to be spoken. Because ladies, the real thing is we need to look our fears in the face. And then say, “SO! WHAT!” The three Hebrew children prior to being thrown in the fiery furnace said, “Our God WILL save us!!! But if He doesn’t, we will NOT bow to you!” {my paraphrase} So when we look at our fear and determine that yes, it is possible that it is true. That thing we most hope to not be true could be true. And in fact, may have been verbalized to us. But what are we going to do about it? Are we going to bow to it?

    Ultimately, in 2003, five years into our marriage, I had a breast reduction. HOW-EV-ER. MUCH happened before that. That was something I’d always considered in spite of anything my husband might’ve thought. During my struggle with this and trying to discuss it as I mentioned above, he never said, “You’re right. I don’t like them.” The comment spoken before we were married wasn’t denied. It may have been embellished or maybe just emphasized by my so-called friend. Regardless, I felt strongly he wasn’t in love with my breasts. It was what it was.

    But after those words spoken at the altar, and prayer, I determined to move ahead. I prayed much and changed my OWN PERSONAL view of myself, my breasts. IT MUST START THERE. Sometimes a change is needed, maybe even warranted. But regardless, we need to love ourselves where we are. How is it that we can say we don’t like our hair, our thighs, our *insert feature here*, yet it’s so different when someone else–especially our spouse–says it? Of course I know it’s painful no matter how rational or even truthful it is. But face it!

    There is something incredibly beautiful about a woman who owns who she is. Every single part. {Look up this season’s winner of Survivor and hear what he has to say about his second season on Survivor and how he changed his outlook.} There is something amazing about a woman who carries herself well, knows who she is in Christ, recognizes her weaknesses, shortcomings, and flaws, yet sees the beauty God placed within her. It is undeniable. It is EFFECTIVE!!!

    It made a tremendous difference in my life. Otherwise, that breast reduction would’ve been ineffective. Or counter-effective. I would’ve felt like maybe he loves a “repaired” version of me. Blah, blah, blah. You know how the female brain can tear apart this stuff.

    Get real with yourselves. YES, we may need to make some changes. And I’m not saying that you should all go consider any plastic surgery of any kind. PLEASE know this. As I mentioned, I had tremendous problems with my back and shoulders and thought it was all due to being a Nanny and picking up children. Just know who you are. Because no matter how genuine your heartache, the crying, the pouting, the withdrawing, does no good. It makes things far worse for both you and your spouse. Run to the Lord with it. He can handle.

    I pray today you will know that you are fearfully and wonderfully made. AND take Sheila’s words to heart. She covers every single point. Her Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex does this as well. Very thorough.

    THANK YOU, Sheila, for talking about the hard stuff.
    Rena Gunther recently posted…Operation Mind ScrewMy Profile

    • Challenges says:

      Thank you for so candidly sharing your story and perspective on this. I am seriously considering having a tummy tuck to rid at least part of my body of the obvious signs of my past and present weight gains and losses. Before reading this, i hadnt considred the battles I may face emotionally or mentally after. Thank you for sharing this. I think i have a lot to pray about.

  24. Thankyou for posting this again, this exactly where I AM in my marriage while it did hurt to be told by my husband that he finds me less desirable than in the beginning ,I value that he was able to be that honest. I have lost 11 pounds since he told me this. I honestly wasnt happy with my body and was just ignoring it instead of doing something about it. I pray though that after I lose all the weight i have to lose that he will at least know that I am trying to be more attractive and healthy for us and above all God!

  25. Sometimes..you just stop being attracted to someone you are with though, with or without marriage it happens and you cannot make yourself find them attractive.It does not matter if he gains weight or losses it all, because it has to do with his personality and how we have just grown apart as people over time.It does not mean he is not a good person or that I am not, it just means once something is truly lost then it is truly gone and can’t be found.It happens and if this is happening to anyone else out there just be strong and think to yourself, can I live in a sexless marriage and just be content with who I am with in other ways.Sex will eventually leave a relationship, due to old age and illness, so it is not wrong that you would want to stay if you are not attracted to them sexually as long as there is some form of love.The big question is, would that be enough to stay or not and that depends on the individual and also the other person in the relationship.There would be nothing wrong with leaving or staying but also consider the emotions of your partner in your choice.If they are happy in a sexless relationship and you can handle that then fine but if either one of you have doubts or can not handle this I would think about moving on.You can move towards a single life for awhile or indefinitely or later on find someone that sparks that interest within you again, just make sure this time that it is going to last and you know the person very well before committing.I suggest many years or you might acquire several failed marriages.

  26. I love this post. My husband, who is amazing in so many ways, has voiced that he finds me less attractive than he used too. I have had a baby and I weigh 112 lbs instead of the 108 that I did before I was pregnant. He has told me that he wishes my breasts were smaller, that he wishes my rear was different (more like it used to be), that he would like my waist to be narrower, etc. he does tell me that he still thinks I’m beautiful but he has admitted that there are things that he would like to change about my body physically. This is difficult for me. I only weigh four pounds more than I used too! I’m 22 years old. My body isn’t perfect but I think I look great. My stomach isn’t quite as firm as it used to be. I do work out but I am not always able to as much as I would like. As a mother that stays home with our son and also works from home I don’t have the time to be in the gym enough to have a “rock hard” body. My husband and I have talked about it and I have expressed to him how I feel. That even if I was in perfect shape, we all age and what then? He admits that him wishing I was different is wrong and that he never should have told me. However, after a few years of feeling like he isn’t satisfied with me and knowing he wants me to look different, I don’t trust him to not hurt me. Trying to be intimate with him even on an emotional level causes so much pain for me, never mind on a physical and sexual level. I feel like he doesn’t appreciate me. Now that he knows he shouldn’t have said anything, I feel like from now on he may always “say the right thing” concerning how I look but I think I’ll always feel as though it may or may not be true and that he just knows better than to say what he really thinks. I just don’t know how to move on from this. I don’t know how to be intimate with him anymore and to trust him with my heart.

  27. This article brought years to my eyes. I am in fact a size 2… But a short curvaceous size two who has given birth four times. I diet and excersize and am doing everything I can to ” make sure my husband delights in me” he tells me I’m the love of his life but I’m fat and the biggest girl he’s ever been with. That I have a long way to go and it’s crushing me. I want sex to be about intimacy but I think he wants it to be something much more tawdry and its destroying me… I’m a pretty girl am other men find me attractive but if I bring that up when he tells me I need to work on my belly he tells me to sleep with them then… I’m scared he will stray and I’m hurt that he lusts after women that are a different from me as can be…. He tells me he wants me under 100 lbs… How do I heal this rift? At 5’3 and 122 I’m pushing it as it is… I can’t be 20 and he wants that. Help!

    • Google “malignant narcissism” you may find that you are in a relationship with someone who has impossible standards. They set these standards so high, so that you will have to fall short. This allows them to continue with their bad behavior, because everyone always fails them.

    • ErinMarie…not to disrespect you or dismiss your concerns, but a size 2 is NOT fat. At all. I was a similar size to you when I was younger and people told me I was fat, but now I realize that my body was close to perfect.

      It is true that smaller, more petite women tend to show weight gain more easily. I should know from personal experience. But I can tell you that a size 2 is not fat, and your husband should respect you and love you for who you are.

      You are his wife and a mother of 4 children. He either has very unrealistic notions of beauty, or he is intentionally trying to lower your self-esteem. I would use harsher language to get my point across but I don’t want to be disrespectful to you or anybody else on this blog.

      Anyway, my point is that you are a beautiful woman and he is not acting the way a loving husband should. His words are hurtful and he needs to shape up, no pun intended. It is not your body that needs work, Erin, but his attitude. I hope you will be able to work through this situation and find the answers you need. His behavior is abusive.

  28. I’ve been with my boyfriend for 6 1/2 years now and I think he complimented me maybe 3 times ever. I feel like I have excuses for him on why he never says anything sweet towards me. It usually doesn’t bother me but when I think about it from time to time it kinda hurts. When I get decked out and put on my make up and do my hair different and wear my awesome heels (which is rare) I feel so good but deep down I always wonder and wait to see if he says anything.And he dont :(. He just starts talking about him. So lately I’ve tried to hint around like “what do u think of my make up or shirt or whatevr” and hes like oh yea……. I tell him is it cool or does it look ok on me? Basically begging to hear a compliment but nothing. He just cuts the convo short and starts talking about him and his friends and his video games. After I get dressed up like that I feel so ugly and empty just for a stupid guys approval!

    • Maybe it’s time to consider if there is any future in this relationship. If he doesn’t make you feel good about yourself, he’s not interested in your feelings and emotions and only talks about himself, is this really someone you want to be with?

  29. Hi there to all, I appreciated reading this as well as the comments that were in response. I would like to present an idea to the conversation that being attractive to your spouse and making a serious endeavor BECAUSE you love him, is a sacrificial act and a blessing to a marriage. Most men have a strong sense of need for an attractive wife, and I believe if we really love our spouses and it’s our desire to bring them pleasure, we should mutually fill each others needs. I feel bad for the guy who always gets dumped on because they are not allowed to say that they aren’t attracted to their wife. My husband and I have open honest communication, where we don’t hurt or wound each other by being honest (not brutal honesty) but in a loving open way we are able to speak to each other about these type of issues. A great book on this is called His Needs, Her Needs: Building an affair proof marriage, by Harvey. Excellent book to have a mutually satisfying marriage built on sacrificial love for one another,… including making sure you are attractive for your husband! It’s KEY! Bottom line, if my husband isn’t attracted to me, I want him to tell me!!! I want to meet his needs within the context of our marriage!

  30. Challenges says:

    This posting and the comments that follow bring tears to my eyes. I love my husband and I KNOW that he loves me… but I am really missing that intimacy in our relationship. He isn’t attracted to me. I don’t blame him. I don’t even like how i look. I did for a couple of months after losing 85 lbs by working out at the gym. Then i got pregnant and gave birth to our daughter who is such a joy. I wouldn’t want that to change but I am sad that the weight didn’t just melt off. I am again up about forty pounds and i feel devastated. I hate it in fact. I feel weak and utterly discouraged. I love him so much. I want to feel and look healthy. All I can say is that it is much easier to feel motivated and encouraged when your husband at least compliments you. It is so heart breaking to me. I cant be mad at him though. He has watched me struggle constantly with my weight and past. I just wish this struggle could be behind me and that i could somehow fast forward to get there.

    • Challenges…I’m in the same boat, although we don’t have children. But after 4 years of marriage, my husband seems to have lost interest in me. I was a size 4 when he met me and in my early 20′s at the time. I am now 30 years old and overweight. I find myself unable to lose this weight, no matter what I do. Apparently I have a thyroid problem and PCOS, in addition to some other health issues. We’ve been taking daily walks since September but I don’t see any progress at all. I’m sad, frustrated, and I feel ignored by my husband. He refuses to be intimate with me unless he feels like it…we now have sex once or twice a year (yes, a YEAR) if I’m lucky.

      I’ve also developed a painful, ugly rash all over my back and sides. It looks like cystic acne, it leaves scars, it bleeds, and only contributes to my poor body image. I feel so ugly and unwanted. I don’t want to hurt my husband but I’ve had thoughts about seeking attention from another man. I haven’t acted on it, but I’m only human and I need to feel like a woman. I need to be desired by my husband. I need him to see me as beautiful and to want me. As it is, I feel rejected. He would rather watch sports and play chess on the computer than be intimate with me.

      I don’t understand. I gained weight but I’m trying to do something about it. I’m not gorgeous but I’m not hideous either. I don’t nag him or belittle him. I shower, try to fix my hair, wear a bit of makeup. I just don’t know what to do.

      • MB,

        I have thyroid problems as well as PCOS. Would you be willing to discuss these over an email instead of here?

        AG

  31. I want to start by saying that my husband never directly said he didn’t think I was attractive, however he doesn’t make me think I am. Really he never has. The past few years have been incredibly hard and to sum things up the best I can a lot if what you said up there are all things that broke us or our bond apart per say.

    I was diagnosed with uterine cancer at 30 3 years ago had to have a hysterectomy, a year of treatment, by the end my husband had become so distant and spiteful I didn’t understand. I was getting myself back and I had list him. I was feeling better than I had in years and he pushed me away. He was angry, hurtful and just downright everything that was nowhere near the man I married. My grandfather who was like a dad to me was given 3 weeks to live which was very hard on me, my husband wasn’t in the least bit consoling. His hatefulness grew, I would beg him to love me. I cried myself to sleep many nights he didn’t care. I didn’t understand. Until I found it. He had been watching porn. He replaced me with porn during one of the most difficult times of my life and when I came out of it rather than be there to celebrate my defeat he made me feel hated. This confrontation was May 2012. The hysterectomy was May 2010.
    I was so angry. The way he treated me and made me feel over that! I told him I was leaving. Because I wasn’t being verbally and emotionally abused while he spent hours in the bathroom with whatever. And then he breaks down cries begs me not to leave swears he won’t do it again that he was addicted…. I told him to answer me one question, why or how could he treat me so horribly and let me cry and just look me in the eye with so much hate and now tell me this. His answer “I don’t know” to this day I have no explanation and that has made it hard to fully move on. It’s hard to get closure especially with where I currently am.
    My grandfather fought until Dec 3rd 2013. Losing him was devastating. But I’m getting by. In Feb I had my first mammogram. I’m one of those lucky people who is BRCA 2+ I was supposed to have had a mammo 3 years ago but I couldn’t do it. It came back questionable, then I had an MRI, it came back with 2 rumors in 1 breast 1 in the other. I had a referral for a breast surgeon/oncologist. He’s one of the best in the world. That’s a plus. So he says the bigger tumor on the left would need to be removed to even biopsy it’s so deep and looking at your blood work and the pattern of these I’m sending you out if here with a breast cancer diagnosis. And you have a few options… Of my options the one my husband and dr pushed me hardest for was double mastectomy and reconstruction due to my BRCA 2+ status and the fact that I’ve got a 70-90% chance of getting breast cancer as long as I have boobs. The good of that option, no chemo and prob no radiation. I wouldn’t need any anti estrogen since I have no ovaries. So at 33, almost a year to the day, 2 days after this was posted I lost my boobs. I have implants now I’ve been through 3 surgeries from then to now and it’s miserable and painful and it sucks and ugh. I’ve gained weight from the trauma of this, my immune system is crap and I feel so emotionally and physically drained. And once again my husband is drifting. Not quite to the angry stage but I don’t know how to talk to him to get him to understand what I need.
    Everything you said up there, the boobs, the exercise etc I can’t do. I’m not seriously overweight. I’m 5’7 and 150lbs but I was 135 so I notice it. My face looks tired and I don’t know how to undo that. My doctor said to stop stressing because I’m wearing my body out. But I don’t know how. I’m embarrassed by my body, my husband hasn’t tried anything sexual with me since before my first surgery. He’s supposed to help me massage the implants so the muscles will loosen up and hopefully relieve the pain so basically massage my boobs, he falls asleep, if I put on makeup and clothes and stuff he doesn’t notice. He doesn’t make me feel like he thinks I’m still beautiful or my body is still acceptable to him even though it’s not the same. And that along with the past is literally eating every inch of me inside. He’s never complimented me really. So I shouldn’t expect it now but I don’t know that I can live much longer without him helping me through this part somehow. I need suggestions on how to deal with the impossible to talk to non communicator and how to approach him about how it would make me feel if he’s repeating the past right now because it feels like a bad sequel is just beginning :(

    • Sounds really rough! I am going through something similar. I think in our situation the best thing to do is to continue with life with as much a positive attitude as we can muster. What I have ended up doing and I don’t know if its the best thing is, I just let him live his life the way he wants. My husband that is. He ends up rarely spending time with me, he does his own thing. We hardly ever have conversations. Etc. On my end, I go on with my life. I do what is required and I make sure I do enjoy what I do, whatever it is. I started taking up painting again. I started really working doing voluntary work and I keep myself reading the Bible and spending time praying. This is the time we have to take up loving our husbands unconditionally. They are going through a hard time; their ‘hard time’ in turn hits us and hurts us. But, hey, God is there. We need to learn to rely on His comfort and words. I feel a little wistful and a twinge of sadness at times. But I thwart it away just as quickly and I focus on the good things in my life. Sometimes I have to literally count them. I don’t expect anything from my husband anymore, even when I fall sick. I try however, to love him the best way I can and to understand that he too is battling something. And I pray against the spiritual forces that are trying to divide us permanently. I also take stock of what I can do and what I just cannot change. And I work on the things I can. Weight wise its not much because I do not have the luxury of time or the money. But like you, I am not obese.. and I consider myself quite attractive. But, I try to be there for him even if he is not there for me. Like I said, I stopped expecting him to ‘do back’ the good I render him. It really helps. Remembering that you are beautiful and the beloved of the King really helps. Although its not quite the same. But it helps. Hang in there and pray much!! Stay positive about yourself!!!!!!

  32. Im 27, married only for two years now and with no babies. Ever since my husband and i were dating he had issues with my weight. My weight has varied through the 5 years weve been togethe. When we met i was a size 10, had a size 6 phase somewhere in between and now bavk to a 10. He quite frankly has told me more than once he isnt attracted to me. I dont recall ever being less than a size 6 in my adult life. I feel ashamed of not being attractive, i barely even get a “you look nice” every day i get comments about eating too much or unhealthy. I know im not a super model and some weight loss would be good for my health, but before i got married i was always the pretty faced, fun girl guys wanted to hang out with, even if ive never been skinny. Now i just feel ugly and completely unappreciated. I love my husband, i knowhe loves me… we have an amazing friendship, but lately it seems thats all there is. When i try to talk about the intimacy issue, he always backfires with the weight issue… like intimacy doesnt mean anything BUT the physical part. I pray for change, i know i must change some unhealthy habitS, but i just wish i could feel loved and accepted.

    • I am also a size 10, Nicole. I was a size 4 when I met my husband. How tall are you? I am only five feet tall, so a size 10 looks chubby on me…I’m trying to lose weight and be healthy again.

      You are beautiful, whether your husband says it or not. Try to work on being healthy. Do it because you deserve to be healthy and happy, not just to fit into smaller sizes. Maybe call a friend and see if you guys can take walks together. You said that men found you attractive before you were married? Well, I’m sure you are still attractive despite the extra weight and your poor self-image (due to your husband’s behavior).

      I am a size 10 now, like I said. I’m not happy about it and I don’t feel pretty at all, but men flirt with me anyway. There is this cute Indian guy down the hall who flirts with me and it cheers me up a bit, although I’m married. A woman doesn’t have to be skinny to be beautiful. You simply need to work on being more healthy and loving Nicole for who she is. You said you have a pretty face? I notice that despite my weight gain, my face is much prettier now than it has ever been. I bought some new makeup yesterday! Take the time to doll yourself up…fix your hair, put on some mascara and lipstick, and find something that brings out your positive features. Whether that is your eyes or your smile or your cleavage. Put on your favorite music when you’re alone and dance. Just enjoy being feminine and being a woman. Put some sexy red polish on your toenails.

      Try to consult a doctor if your weight is related to a medical issue and see what can be done. Take walks or try swimming or even a dance class…some activity you might enjoy. What also helps me is looking at images of women with a similar body type to mine and realizing that female bodies are wonderful, because we come in all different shapes and sizes.

  33. So much of the article focuses on being overweight, not taking care of your body, etc. What if you eat healthy, work out hard and have a toned, strong body, and your husband still ignores you? He never has told me I am unattractive but he has shown no sign that he finds me attractive anymore either. I am completely devastated and feel like I am going to be a dried up old woman before I am even 40 years old. I have great faith in God and this is a huge challenge for me that I cannot find a peaceful solution to. I don’t know how to make this NOT MATTER.

    • Heather,

      It sounds like you’re doing all you can to take care of yourself. I imagine how frustrating it is to be ignored and feel unloved despite your efforts. Have you told him you feel this way? Be honest and express yourself to him completely…don’t hold back.

      I am only 30 and unfortunately I’m not the thin, sexy girl I was when we first met. But I still try to be a good wife and I try to look my best. It hurts when I am in the same room with him and he ignores me unless it’s to talk about sports or watch a TV show. We take long walks together on the weekends, which I enjoy, but he refuses to be intimate with me unless HE is in the mood. I find him very attractive…I love to look at him and flirt with him and tell him he’s handsome. Sometimes he tells me I’m pretty, but it is obvious that he doesn’t mean it.
      When we do have sex, I really don’t enjoy it to be honest…I might start to like it after about 10 minutes and then boom! It’s over and he jumps up to clean himself off (sorry for the detail). With a couple of my previous partners, the sex was wonderful but they weren’t good people. So I guess this is what it’s like for some of us women.

      I hope things work out for you.

  34. What do you do if you entered into marriage knowing you we’re not very attracted to your spouse, but were pressured into marriage. I know it is wrong, but I just never stopped “shopping”. Looks are SOOOO important, for both the woman to feel good about herself with her ability to captivate her husband, and for the man to have a wife he delights in. This should never be a LIE that is just fabricated out of thin air because the bible or society say so

    To any reader not yet married and struggling with either not finding your girlfriend attractive, or a woman dating a man that she suspects is not attracted 100% to her —- don’t overlook this very important aspect of the relationship.

    • Hi Hennassy…

      I think that people should be honest with themselves (and with each other) before making the decision to get married. Being honest is important when it comes to many things…money, whether to have children, how to raise children, spiritual issues, sex, etc. Without honest communication the marriage is doomed to fail.

      I don’t see how a person can be “pressured” into marriage in Western society. It is a choice you make. Sometimes people feel that they must marry out of some sense of obligation (for example, if a woman gets pregnant) but ultimately marriage should only happen if/when two people are truly honest and committed to one another. Relationships take a lot of compromise and hard work.

      What is it that you’re “shopping” for? A new person to replace your spouse? Or have you grown bored and unhappy with your marriage? Perhaps you need to take a deeper look within and search for the answers. I agree that while looks are certainly important, they are not the most important thing in a relationship. It is destructive to put all the emphasis on looks as the key to a happy and successful marriage.
      I understand that most heterosexual men want a gorgeous woman they can show off, but pretty is as pretty does…inner beauty matters even more.

      If a man enters into marriage all the while knowing that he had very little attraction for his wife, that is definitely a problem. He was being dishonest with her and with himself. The wife deserves a man who finds her sexy and attractive, not a man who is constantly lusting after other women and comparing her with them. The husband needs to figure out why he feels this way and what he can do to fix it. It isn’t fair to stay with somebody you aren’t attracted to…let them move on and find a person who is attracted to them, so they can be happy.

      The other issue is how men have been trained to view women. I don’t mean to sound like a radical feminist or anything, but there is so much more to women than the way we look and our ability to bear children. We all want to be viewed as attractive, but we also want our husbands/partners to love us for who we are. It seems like a lot of men have very one-dimensional thinking on this subject…that women only exist to serve them or to be eye candy. If we are unattractive or started out as pretty but eventually lose our looks, we become replaceable. And this is wrong. No matter what a woman looks like, she is still a person with feelings and a heart.

  35. NakedwithSocksOn says:

    From one female reader to another. Enjoy and Good Luck.

  36. My husband has told me he finds me repulsive , because Im fat . we have been married 3 years. i am too heavy , need to loose weight about 70lbs. Im so upset i don’t know what to do. he won’t be physical with me and i worry I’ll never meet his standards . he knows he’s upset me, but keeps repeating he doesn’t find me attractive , and if i cared i should want to please him and to please him i need to loose weight . Im finding it hard to come to terms with , i know he’s right and i should loose weight, but Im just unhappy he said what he said . i hope time will mean I’ll loose weight and forgive what he said ?

    • I was 127 pounds when I got married to my husband at the age of 33. We have been married for 8 years during which I have lost 5 of our unborn children. I steadily gained weight in each pregnancy but only lost a few pounds once I lost the pregnancies. Last year we tried IVF and I was injected with a lot of hormone shots. It added 10 pounds to my weight all of a sudden and I have found it hard to keep it off. Now I weigh 160 pounds. My husband has been telling me he finds me unattractive from the time I gained 15 pounds. Now I have gained a total of 33 pounds since our marriage. My health is great and my stamina is wonderful. And although I am 41, many people mistake me for 27. He has not touched me physically for 3 years. I was devastated in the beginning and continue to feel thwarted and rejected every time he says that. It is even more disheartening when he cannot get aroused even when we try. I am not the type to be in sweatpants at home.. I dress up every day. But, he still finds me unattractive. Nobody finds me as unattractive as my husband does. Infact, I often have younger men hit on me until they find out that I am married. And being confident within myself, although I know that I would love to lose some weight, I am not obsessed by it and feel perfectly fine the way I am until my husband looks at me and makes those comments. We adopted a baby 3 years ago. Taking care of my almost 3 year old and working a part time job takes up a lot of my day and energy. Even then, I still pursue hobbies I do not want to let go of like painting, singing and writing. My husband would rather I starve myself in attempts to lose weight than be healthy. I think he has a problem. But it still hurts even when I know the problem is not with me. I have an additional problem because my libido is so strong. Due to my Faith and the grace of God, I have not succumbed to any promiscuity because I am rejected by my husband despite the strong urges. But sometimes it makes me feel tempted to explore those areas and I cringe at the thought that this is the man I am stuck with the rest of my life. One who will never touch me or look at me with Love. And I will burn in my desire every so often. And I am just 41 who has the energy and looks of a 30 year old. In a small way, it feels good to know I do not walk this alone. But it is sure a lonely marriage. Praise God for my lil one who keeps me occupied. I just try to tire myself out so much that I do not think about it. But its not a forever solution. I do make attempts to curb my diet and to exercise but to really lose weight in the manner my husband wants me to, it will take at least an hour and a half in the gym and eating a paltry amount and skip meals as well. Sigh

  37. I think I will have my husband read this article! I recently went from size 2 to size 4 and my husband won’t let me buy new jeans as an incentive to lose weight but I am lifting weights and trying to gain muscle mass but he continually makes comments about girls being prettier with skinnier legs. I feel young and pretty, I don’t understand how being size 4 can be so hideous to him.

    • Rebecca,

      if you feel pretty (like you said), that is what matters. A size 4 is definitely not fat! Your husband seems to have a distorted sense of beauty. The average woman today is much larger than a size 4. Some people also told me I was “fat” at a size 4 (I am now a size 10, maybe an 8 on a good day). Comments like this only serve to promote poor body image and low self-esteem, which can lead to eating disorders…people should think before they speak.

      I agree, your husband needs to read this and understand what he is doing to you. You are his wife and you deserve respect at ANY size. He should also realize that a size 2 and a size 4 aren’t that different in terms of clothes. It’s not like, say, the difference between a size 4 and a size 14…that is a very big difference.

      The comments he makes about “prettier” girls with “skinnier” legs? You should say something to him about men with big bank accounts and even bigger penises…sorry to be crude, but hopefully he’ll get the point. It’s hurtful when he says things like that to you. I would love to be a size 4 again! I’m sure you are beautiful and it sounds like you are in good shape, so he needs to appreciate what he has.

  38. This article seems to focus on not saying/feeling your partner is unattractive, but how do we emotionally recover once this is said? My husband told me two days ago and I’ve hardly stopped crying since. I weigh 15lbs more now than when we got married (he does too) and I’m 12 weeks pregnant with baby #2. What the heck can I do to change now! I feel like we’ll never have sex again because that comment will ALWAYS be in the back of my mind. Feeling helpless and lonely (because who could I possibly talk to this about?).

    • Mindy, that’s a really, really tough situation. I do think that was an unfair and unkind thing to say, especially being pregnant. But I don’t think it will ALWAYS be in the back of your mind. It doesn’t have to be. What you need to do, I think, is work through it with him.

      He needs to see:
      1. That this was an unkind and hurtful thing to say;
      2. That it is also not a fair or valid criticism considering the pregnancy, and the fact that he doesn’t find you attractive is a problem with HIM, not with YOU.

      These are both important points, and likely point to some major heart issues and perhaps even sexual issues that he has. Talking these things through with him, even with a counselor, may prove really helpful. So I’m not saying let it go, but I do think that if you treat it with the seriousness it deserves, and do communicate to him that you want to talk about it more, that may help in actually resolving the issue and rebuilding oneness.

  39. Kristin says:

    I found this reading very helpful, and of course, everyone has a bit of a different situation. My husband I are newly married, 8 months. I’m 23 and he’s 21. He’s in the army and exercises regularly. While he was deployed I gained a few pounds and when he came home, what should have been an amazing experience for us was not. I could tell he noticed the weight. Mind you I’d only gained about 10 pounds or so. Now I have been dieting and exercising every day, and I’ve noticed a difference already, and still every attempt to be intimate has failed. He finally told me “my libido is completely gone since you’ve gained so much weight and done nothing about it” I was devastated! Not only for obvious reasons but I was so proud of myself for losing weight and he didn’t even realize I was working so hard. when I told him what I have accomplished he said I’m not doing enough. This all coming from a man who’s never had a weight problem. But your suggestions on basically trusting the Lords judgment, I completely understand, but my husband is not a believer. So far in our marriage we have gotten past many obstacles, but this one is so painful I’m not sure I can be comfortable knowing that my husband doesn’t love me on the inside as much as the outside.

  40. For a while my husband was dabbling in porn-like media (explicit mainstream tv shows, movies and YouTube videos). At the same time, I was working out and getting rid of the last of my post partum weight. I slipped easily into size 2 skinny jeans, but still filled out the curves in the right places. People tell me all the time they can’t believe I’ve had 4 children. However, my husband told me he wasn’t attracted to me. Especially since my breasts had shrunk back down after breast feeding.

    I remember feeling devasted and walked into the bathroom. I looked in the mirror and God showed me how lovely I truly am. I realized several truths:

    1. I am lovely in my own right.
    2. Hubby has the problem, not me.
    3. There is nothing wrong with my body. It may not be perfect, but it is all his for the having and I take good care of it.
    4. I can delight in what sex we have even if he won’t. He’s the one shooting himself in the foot.

    So, I started being confident in my body. I gently told him a few times that his comments weren’t appropriate. “I can’t help my breast size. They are what they are.”. I enjoyed sex when we had it, flirted and showed off my body to him. Took showers with him. He ran errands with me and noticed other guys checking me out. And I prayed and prayed.

    I am happy to report that he no longer watches such things, he delights in my body, and tells me how beautiful I am and how attracted he is to me.

    Don’t accept lies. Find your worth in the Lord because even our spouse can fail us.And don’t underestimate the damage allowing the sexually explicit culture into your eyes/mind/heart can do.

  41. Michelle says:

    This article hit the nail on the head. I’ve been married 7 years, no children and am 33 years old. My husband hasn’t complimented me in years, and it kills me inside. We have a fairly good marriage, however this one issue is changing the way I feel about our marriage. I put on 15lb over the last 7 years going from 125lb to 140lb. I look after myself, exercise, dress nicely and always do my hair and makeup. I get compliments from other people, and my guy friends – but not from the person I want to hear it from. I’ve tried talking to him about this. I honestly don’t know what else to do.

    • @Michelle…I can relate. 30 years old, married 5 years, no children, hardly any sex, and any compliments I receive are mostly insincere.
      Some men just aren’t good with compliments. I don’t know if you’ve heard of the 5 Love Languages book, but it might help to read it.
      I also know that some men simply can’t appreciate what they have. They might love their wife, but their attention is elsewhere for whatever reason. It IS frustrating, isn’t it?

  42. This was awesome.

    Exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you. Now only if I could get my husband to read it. lol
    I am 20- 25lbs over weight. Been struggling with some serious health issues of late. 53 yrs old. First time ever in 25 years of marriage he has ever told me I was fat and he was unattracted to me. :(

  43. Your article was great. I have gained a small amount of weight and by no means am over weight. My husband still doesn’t want to have sex. I feel very unloved and unattractive. I’ve tried to talk to him about it but he shuts down and I get left feeling worse with nothing resolved. I do not believe there is anyone else but I’m at a loss. We use to have a very physical relationship now we have nothing. I’m so lost

  44. My husband told me he dont find ne attractive , and he dont kiss me dont hold me and barely has sex with me and it seems like everytime I try to do something to change it he asks me why im doing it and when I tell him he says im over reacting …? Wat do I do ..?

  45. I know most of you females will hate me for saying this… but before you condemn me , think about the truth in my words.
    Firstly, men should keep a good body for their wife also. Here’s the hard part….men are directly controlled by what we see. Look this up in any medical info, and you’ll see. Mens visualizations are a direct connect to the penis. The blood flow increases and a erection begins. Your husband may say ” oh, I didn’t even notice the pretty girl, or ” honey ,that extra 25 lbs is barely noticeable on you,…you carry is very well”. HE’S LYING. No matter how goofy or loving he may be, to say this…HE’S LYING.
    You want a turned on husband……act/dress/show it. You may find that E.D. doesn’t need near the Rx help compared to what you can do….. You can both be happy…both…..both. This is not a one sided deal, someone needs to start the ball rolling, why not you….you have no clue how truly powerful you actions with words can be….the cop-out is this 125 lbs over weight.. fine don’t lose 125 try the 25. If your husband is say 175-200, you better think on it. You might lose 5-10 and think that’s enough and great…but remember losing it all could add up to 200 if you keep excusing yourself….calories in count…

    • kt…I agree that men are often visual and that wives should try to look as nice as they possibly can. I understand that society is often driven by outward appearances.
      But there is often this assumption that if a man isn’t turned on by his wife, it is her fault because she has gained weight or whatever the case might be. Which is sometimes true but it depends on how much weight we’re talking about.

      We need to be realistic here…some women will never be thin or meet the conventional definition of beauty no matter what. I can exercise all I want, and I will never again have the face/body I had at 20, the time when I was in my best shape. So I try to be fit in my early 30′s and do it in a healthy way.
      One doesn’t have to be thin to be beautiful. Sometimes it helps in the way a woman is perceived by others, but it isn’t necessary all the time.

      I can’t speak for the other ladies here but I flirt with my husband. I used to meet him at the door in skimpy clothes. I wear makeup, nothing too heavy…just enough to play up my eyes and lips. I try to make my hair look nice.
      I’m seeing a doctor about my weight gain and I take long walks with my husband. Sorry if this is TMI, but I’ve always been very open-minded sexually…there is very little that I won’t do.
      I’m sure that some of the ladies here can relate to what I’m saying. It’s not simply about weight gain. Sometimes a woman can try to look good, take care of herself and all of that only to be rejected anyway.

      I believe a part of the problem is that some men feel that they are entitled to a certain type of woman and this is what leads them to look at their wife and think, “meh”. They have this idea that she isn’t enough and they can surely find “better”.
      Whereas if they tried to see beauty in their wife and cherish her and offer encouragement, they might see positive changes in her. My husband doesn’t seem to find me sexy or desirable (although I have no doubt he loves me) so naturally that makes me feel like my efforts to look pretty and act flirty are in vain.

      There was a movie called “Why Did I Get Married?” where this woman wanted her husband to desire her, but he obviously didn’t. One scene was especially sad…she put on lingerie at bedtime and then he pretty much laughed at her, making her feel even worse.
      Despite being on the bigger side she was far from ugly but because she wasn’t model-esque, her husband rejected her and made her feel dumb for even trying to flirt or be sexy.

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  1. [...] often it’s we who hate our bodies, not our husbands (if your husband has put your body down, read this post). If you can let yourself see yourself as your husband does–full of desire and acceptance–that [...]

  2. […] attracted to someone else, if you doubt that you really love your spouse, or even if you feel like your spouse is no longer attractive. Sharing these things serves no purpose except to transfer your own hurt and anxiety onto your […]

  3. […] My Husband Doesn’t Find Me Attractive–A Round Up I get a lot of traffic from Google for this one, from women who are quite sad. It is a difficult […]

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

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