There is a group of women who often suffer in silence. We are women whose husbands are caught in the snare of pornography.
This is a place of help, of hope, of strength.
This blog is written with the assumption that you have chosen to fight for your husband, your marriage, and your family.
The things posted here will be in the form of encouragement and help to do just that.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

There Is Beauty All Around

The other day, out of the blue, my husband asked me a question.
He said, "Do you think I'm handsome?"

It took me by surprise. I was even more surprised at the timing because I had just been reading an old journal of mine a few days before and had read a comment of mine about how someone I'd been in a relationship with during college used to declare to me, "You are SO beautiful!" And I had thought that my husband never says that to me. He will tell me I look nice sometimes, but honestly I'm usually in yoga/workout/stretchy clothes and I don't make any particular efforts on days that I'm just at home, which is most days. So I can't really blame him.

I had also, just days before, read this blog from a woman whose husband didn't find her attractive. It was called, "My New Husband: I Was Never Attracted to You". So it was interesting to me that I had read this blog, read my old journal, and had my husband ask me that question all within a week's time.

So I've been thinking about it. I've known for years that I am not a visual person. I am not one who ogles over attractive men or had posters of hunks on my walls as a teenager. I've always been more attracted to personalities than looks. I think the most attractive quality in a person is kindness. And that is what made me fall in love with my husband.

For me, the more I get to know and love someone, the more attractive they become to me. I study their features in admiration and appreciate the smile behind the wrinkles or the sweetness behind their eyes. I love the hand that holds mine tenderly.

My husband is more visual, it's one the reasons his curiosity quickly became an addiction. And from what I can tell, he's always been more concerned with personal appearance than I have. And I'm not saying that's a bad thing. He likes to present himself well and that almost seems like a lost art these days.

One of the most damaging results of this addiction is that the wives end up feeling like less than we are. We struggle with the question of why our husband needs to lust after other women. It can make us feel not attractive, not pretty or sexy. Not appreciated. This is one of the trickiest part of this situation. I will be honest, that this has not been as much of a struggle for me. I am grateful for this and see it as a huge blessing in my life. There have been a few moments where I let myself wallow in self-pity with those thoughts, but mostly I have been able to separate my husband's addiction from my personal worth. Maybe it's because I'm his second wife and I was well into my thirties before we married. I wasn't a doe-eyed young newlywed with visions of happily ever after. I was pretty independent and self-sustaining by the time we met.

It is hard to find the balance between recognizing the seriousness of this addiction, the sin that it is, without letting it weigh us down every moment of every day. It is serious. By the Savior's definition, it is adultery of the heart. So how do we not take that personally? I'm not sure, but maybe it begins with a simple question between two fragile people who both think less of themselves in this circumstance. The conversation that the couple in the blog referenced above had, led to the husband giving more thought to his wife. It led to him seeing her with different eyes. For her part, she was finding her own beauty and self-worth independent of what her husband was seeing in her.

For us in our situation, we need to keep repeating to ourselves that our husband's addiction is not caused by, added to or in any way reflective of our own beauty. And my husband's question to me is proof that even though he is the one with the visual weakness right now, he also needs to feel attractive and desirable. Maybe just looking at each other differently is critical. Not seeing with critical eyes, but with loving eyes. Seeing how the qualities we love are manifested outwardly. We can see the imperfect beauty that is unique to the person we love and appreciate it.

The day is brighter here with You
The night is lighter than its hue
Would lead me to believe
Which leads me to believe

You make everything glorious
You make everything glorious
Yeah, You make everything glorious
And I am Yours
What does that make me?

My eyes are small but they have seen
The beauty of enormous things
Which leads me to believe
There's light enough to see

You make everything glorious
And I am Yours
What does that make me?

~David Crowder Band 

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