It’s Wednesday, which means it’s time to think about marriage!

Last week Terry over at Ornaments of Grace was talking about wardrobe in a wonderfully honest and humorous post. Here’s part of what she said:

The other morning as I was getting dressed the husband said to me: “You need to go buy some clothes.” I responded that I really didn’t want to spend money on clothes. To which he responded, “Buy some clothes.” That’s all he said. He’s a man of few words. I got a little concerned because while I knew that I was well overdue for a shopping trip (aren’t MOST moms?), I didn’t think I was so horribly dressed as to be commanded to buy clothes and buy them now! Being the open minded gal that I am I decided to take a second look in the mirror. I was in my standard weekday uniform: jeans, t-shirt, and flip flops. It was at this moment I noted my problem.

For the record, the problem wasn’t the blue jeans per se. My husband rather likes the way I look in a pair of jeans. The problem was the lack of effort apparent in the t-shirt, flip flops, ponytail, and no make-up that accompanied the blue jeans. I had become a carbon copy of the jeans, t-shirt, and birkenstock wearing soccer moms typical in my suburban neighborhood. What’s worse, I’d promised myself years ago that I would never do that. Of course, I felt that way for all the wrong reasons, being fashion conscious back then, but I felt it nonetheless. You may remember me telling you before, I hate uniforms!

Go read the whole thing.

Terry brings up something we all need to think about. Men are visually stimulated. We may think that’s stupid, or silly, or shallow, but they are. We can’t change that. And I think every man wants to feel that other guys are jealous of him. He wants his wife to be good-looking, and supportive, and a good mom, and fun, and all kinds of things. All of those are important. But I want to talk about our appearances first.

Do you take trouble about what you look like, or are you totally overwhelmed? This week we finally took the trouble to put all our family portraits on the wall, and it is amazing how awful I looked when the kids were young compared to what I look like today. Today I have time to put on makeup, and do my hair, and dress well. I didn’t then.

Or did I? Maybe I just didn’t make it as much a priority. I have other friends who managed to do it. I wish, looking back, that I had taken more care about my appearance then, because I probably would have had more confidence, too.

Terry also mentions that we often get dressed up on the weekends, when we’re heading out, then on the weekdays, when we’re just home with the kids. But who should we be dressing up for? Shouldn’t it be our husbands? And isn’t it fun to make yourself look good?

When I speak to women, I use a “Nightgown” prop. It’s hideous. It’s oversized, it’s flannel, and it leaves everything to the imagination. They say a little mystery is a good thing; this is way too much. When I hold it up, everyone laughs, and everyone gets the picture. Of course, some people wear flannel like this because their husbands insist on keeping the house at 50 degrees at night, and to those men, I like to say, “if you want to turn the heat up in the bedroom, you might want to actually turn the heat up.” But for the rest of us, what do you wear to bed? Do you take care to wear something attractive? Or do you just look dumpy? Because if you look dumpy, you’ll feel dumpy, too.

My daughters and I love watching What Not to Wear, and I think what we love most about it is the personality transformations by the end of the show. These women, who were docile and passive, have become assertive because they know they look good. There’s something to that. When we put in the effort, our whole demeanor changes.

So what do you do if your closet is full of clothes but you don’t look good in any of them? Get rid of them. It’s better to have five outfits that make you feel wonderful than thirty that make you feel awful. It doesn’t matter if you bought it on sale. It doesn’t matter if you’ve had it forever. Chuck it. Fight the Frump!

Spend some real money on fewer clothes, rather than a little money on tons of things on sale. Or go shopping at consignment stores, where they sell second hand designer clothes. I’ve picked up a ton of things there, and the owners of such places are often very helpful about putting things together.

Now, what about make up? Maybe you’re not a make-up person, but I think a little lipstick never hurt anyone. And remember, everyone should be wearing some sunscreen foundation or moisturizer everyday anyway, so you may as well put something on your face!

As for hair, go get a really good cut that suits you. If you can’t afford it, try one of the beauty salon schools in your area. They’re often cheaper, though they take longer. And you can have a friend highlight your hair. It can be like you’re teenagers again!

What about weight? Let’s get honest here for a minute. Women gain weight. We just do, especially after pregnancy. We’re not meant to be size 6 forever, and I think slightly pear shaped is our natural shape after 40. But that doesn’t mean that we should just accept it and eat whatever we want. I think we owe it to ourselves to watch what we eat and get a little active, even if it just means taking a brisk walk every night after dinner to talk with our hubby. You don’t need to be super-thin; and what makes a woman attractive is often her attitude. Dress in nice clothes and feel confident, and twenty or thirty pounds won’t matter as much. One hundred will, though.

Perhaps this post seems like I’m nagging all of you, and I don’t mean that. I just think that if women put as much effort in looking good for our husbands as we do for strangers, our marriages would be infinitely better. And we’d have awfully happy husbands!

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