“I don’t think I’ll ever get asked out.” The email in my inbox was wrought with sadness. “I don’t think I’m pretty enough. Guys want pretty girls, and I’m not anything special in that category.”
This is what the author of that email believed to be true. Sadly, thousands of other women believe this, too. But are the cards really stacked in favor of the “perfect 10”? Are godly guys looking for a type of beauty that isn’t realistic for many young women?
I wondered this myself in my single years. Our culture continually assaults us with its perceptions of what beauty should be. Both men and women unconsciously accept these stereotypes. But Christians are called to live set apart from the world; its ideologies, worldviews and standards aren’t the lens we use for our lives. Godly men are called to view women with respect and dignity—but they are still human. I set out to discover whether the Christian guys I knew cared as much about appearance as our culture indicated they did. What I found might surprise you.
Men are biologically wired to be drawn to feminine beauty.
In her book Through a Man’s Eyes: Helping Women Understand the Visual Nature of Men, Shaunti Feldhahn shares some interesting facts concerning the scientific makeup of men:
“[Men] are instinctively drawn to savor [beauty] because it would feel really good to do so… Although neuroscience shows that the very first reaction is instinctive and biological rather than voluntary, the next step is a choice.”
God designed men to appreciate female beauty. In marriage, this is an amazing part of their biological makeup; it enables them to completely enjoy and please their wives! But because of sin in this world, godly men must fight to keep their biological tendencies within God’s design. Our world has twisted their innate appreciation for the female body by removing it from the context of marriage through porn and extramarital sex. Christian men are called to separate themselves from these twisted versions and instead dedicate themselves to pure eyes and thoughts (Christian women are called to this as well).
Because men are attracted to feminine beauty, their very first reaction—as Feldhahn says—is to be instinctively drawn to it. But godly men recognize that instinct isn’t always the right choice. Beauty has a divine definition, and that’s the beauty they seek to embrace.
Godly men appreciate beauty as God—not the culture—defines it.
Nowhere in Scripture do we see women being described in terms of what she “should” look like. Sarah, Rebekah and Bathsheba were all described as beautiful, but it doesn’t say “with flat stomachs and layered hair and a perfect tan”! Our culture has created these requirements for beauty and told us that guys only desire women who look a certain way. That may be true for men who accept a cultural standard, but it doesn’t take into account the men who are seeking women who put God first.
That said, the Christian men I interviewed did note that they look for women who place a priority on health and fitness. They weren’t concerned about exact weight, bra size or appearance, but whether or not a woman is a good steward of the body she’s been given. Several noted that life’s changes tend to make working out and eating well more difficult as time goes on, so they look for women who make these things a regular habit before marriage and kids, since they are likely to continue those healthy habits even when they have a family. Many guys looked forward to participating in these activities with their wives, and even teaching their children about healthy living. The simple truth is that a guy who takes care of his “temple” will look for that in a potential spouse.
There is a big difference between a guy looking for someone who exemplifies cultural standards and a man who wants a partner whose priorities echo his own. Godly men appreciate beauty as God defines it: the beauty of individuality and the faithful stewardship of physique.
Godly men place spiritual and emotional maturity above outward appearance.
Above all else, a man who truly loves and follows the Lord is looking more at the heart of a woman than at her body. There are plenty of guys who call themselves Christians but aren’t walking with Jesus on a daily basis. There are guys whose exposure to porn has influenced their ideas of what women should be. But the man who walks in the redemptive grace of Christ will always place spiritual unity and emotional maturity as his first priorities in a mate—as should you!
Rather than fear what guys think about appearance, have confidence in the Lord’s provision. He knows your value; He gave it to you. You are not measured by how many guys ask you out, but by the atoning work of Christ and the fruitful life you live because of it. Be God’s woman, and God’s man will appreciate all you have to offer.