Do too many of us women “let ourselves go” once we’re married?
Last night we held a bridal shower for close family and close family friends at my house for my oldest daughter, and we got talking afterwards.
And today I’m in a chatty mood, so I thought I’d share some of our thoughts, some of our conversations, and a few pictures.
Last night, at the shower, we played a game I made up called “match these romantic quotes to movies”. It was actually pretty fun–I might write a post on things to do at wedding showers after all this is over and provide a download. Becca’s had about 4 showers, so we’ve had lots of samples of different games I could share with you! (UPDATE: You can download the “name that movie quote” bridal shower game here).
But at the end of the end of the evening we got talking with Donna, a friend of mine but also an especially close friend of the girls since she was their youth leader for years.
(Seriously–can you see why I need the photography bundle? Why are my photos always blurry?!?!)
Donna’s a newlywed herself. During the shower I was passing around a notebook so that everyone could write in marriage advice (Katie’s to her sister: “Don’t get pregnant on your honeymoon!“). And as we discussed all of it after most people had left, we got talking about how far too many women let themselves go.
Now I am not trying to shame anyone this morning.
I know that many of us deal with weight issues. I know that many of us are exhausted with little kids, and really–everyone should get a pass while the kids are under 18 months old. Seriously. It’s tough.
But at some point you’ve got to let yourself be a woman again.
Rebecca said last night, “Of course your husband is supposed to love you no matter what and always find you beautiful no matter what. But do you really want to test the ‘no matter what’?” She’s got a point. I mean, how would we feel if he tested it for us?
When we say those vows, we’re not just vowing to stay committed our whole lives. We’re vowing to create an assume, dynamic marriage our whole lives–inasmuch as it depends on us.
And I think that means making some effort to show that you still take pride in yourself and in your husband.
You still think of yourself as a woman first. You still respect yourself.
And always wearing yoga pants or sweat pants and shapeless t-shirts and shapeless ponytails or stringy hair just doesn’t do that.
It really doesn’t.
I wrote a blog series a few years ago called “Fight the Frump”, and on day 1 I showed how I can make myself look perfectly presentable–nice clothes, jewelry, basic makeup, fluffed up hair–in under 4 minutes. It doesn’t take a lot of time.
Behold the before and after pics:
That’s it–just four minutes.
In fact, it takes no more time in the morning to put on a flattering top as it does to put on a shapeless t-shirt. It takes no more time to put on a pair of jeans that fit nicely than it does to put on a pair of sweat pants (okay, maybe you have to do up a zipper with a pair of jeans. But that’s not too much to ask). And, in fact, in the summer it takes less time to put on a pretty sundress than it does to put on ugly shorts and a baggy t-shirt!
And when you take care in your appearance, you feel more motivated throughout the day.
You walk with an extra spring in your step! It’s like Flylady, the housekeeping wizard, always says: “Put on your shoes!” When you have shoes on, you feel like you’re at work. And then you actually get stuff done.
This isn’t even a weight issue. There are enough clothing choices available that you can find clothes that flatter–just watch a few episodes of What Not to Wear. It’s all about whether or not we’re willing to put in the effort.
Whenever I talk about this I inevitably have women say, “my husband doesn’t like me to dress up. He likes the girl next door look with no makeup and with jeans, not skirts or girly things.” And perhaps that’s true. Some people can pull it off nicely. But honestly: look at those two pictures. Which one would most husbands feel more comfortable with? Which one would a husband feel proud to walk out of the house with?
I think men should think we’re beautiful even without makeup, but that doesn’t mean that we should never put in an effort for him to say, “I want you to see that I still want to look good for you. Sure, you’ve promised you’ll love me no matter what, but I love myself, too, I love our marriage, and I want you to be super proud!”
That’s just one bit of marriage advice we talked about, but I think it’s an important one.
Here’s one little thing that I do, that I thought of after writing all these posts on fighting the frump! (Blogging about marriage really does make you more intentional about your own marriage!). Every night, about 15 minutes before Keith gets home, I go upstairs and put on a bit of makeup and change into a really nice shirt or a sundress, if I’ve been wearing more leisurely clothes earlier. I just like to greet him at the door looking my best. Not because I’m an object, and not because I’m being shallow, but because it’s part of how I can honour him.
What about you? Do you struggle with letting yourself go? Do you find this is a common problem with women that you know? How do you “fight the frump”? Let me know in the comments!