“Men Just Need to Get Over It!”

Ame is in an ongoing conversation with some ladies who are of the opinion that it is okay for a woman to “let herself go”, minding no attention to matters of appearance (weight in particular), and that “men should get over it and love them anyway.”

These ladies appear to be in huge denial, as–when Ame brought up the scientifically-established fact that men are more visual than women–they were entirely dismissive, and demanded a Biblical substantiation that their chosen path is less than Christian.

Before we go there, we have the standard disclaimers:

(1) I have no desire to pick on anyone who is heavyset due to reasons beyond their control.

(2) We do not suggest that being lean necessarily makes you more spiritual than someone who is rotund. That “beauty is fleeting” clause of Proverbs 31 is one of the most overlooked parts of the Bible.

(3) What I am saying here about the ladies also applies to the men. The only reason I devote less attention to them here is that it’s not men who are making the argument.

Now, back to the ladies…

First off, if these women are single, they had better be prepared to remain that way for a very long time. No self-respecting man is going to marry a woman who has that attitude.

And yes, this is an attitude issue. Irrespective of your views regarding weight, if someone (male or female) takes this approach toward appearances, the chances are very strong that that person is taking that approach–and will do so in the future–toward other aspects of life. If she’s that irresponsible about her appearance, then her appearance isn’t her only problem.

And yes, that sends her marriageability quotient heading south.

If those women are married, their poor husbands may be better-off living in the corners of their roofs. In fact, those women are exactly why the PUAs and the MGTOWs have given the middle finger salute to marriage.

Proper bodily stewardship–for husband and wife–has many benefits: parental, social, medical, and–yes!–sexual. If a woman (or man), is saying, “I don’t care about my appearance, and my husband (wife) needs to just get over it!” then she (he) has some very serious problems.

And this goes beyond the egalitarian vs. complementarian understanding of Ephesians 5. Even a semi-feminist egalitarian cannot justify these ladies’ attitudes. This is because the “mutual submission” command is, at minimum, a call to mutual accommodation.

While the husband is commanded to love his wife as Christ loved the Church, the wife is also commanded to respect her husband. It is not respecting of her toward him if she “lets herself go.”

Author: Amir on April 14, 2012
Category: Christian Life
12 responses to ““Men Just Need to Get Over It!””
  1. ame says:

    “While the husband is commanded to love his wife as Christ loved the Church, the wife is also commanded to respect her husband. It is not respecting of her toward him if she “lets herself go.” ”

    i think this is a difficult concept for women, in general, to understand … that when she does not at least make an effort to take care of her physical body and appearance, she is disrespecting her husband. women tend to get not just their panties in a wad about this, but also their brains … like a ball of yarn after an army of cats gets finished playing with it. their brains have a difficult time sorting this out. sometimes, a woman just needs to do it because she knows it’s the right thing to do even if she cannot completely understand how a man’s mind and needs work.

    ***

    i have many more comments, but am going to spend time with my wonderful teenager :)

    i’ll be back here later.

  2. freebird says:

    After marriage they are “one in the flesh” so she’s making him fat too!
    Think past the literal claim here and go right to the metaphorical.
    Same as if he goes alcoholic!

  3. Amir says:

    @freebird
    Well, if she does that, it makes things harder for him and he does risk becoming what she is.

    Still, I know some guys–married to very rotund women–who otherwise take care of themselves. There are exceptions to the rule, but they’re out there.

    And it works the other way, too. I know some gals who take great care of themselves, whose husbands have, shall we say, slacked.

  4. Amir says:

    Here’s the thing: when a woman (man) “lets herself (himself) go”, it’s–with few exceptions–symptomatic of a catastrophic loss of self-respect.

    If you are in shape–trust me on this–job interviews are a lot easier. If you look your best, then you are more confident. You command more respect.

    (When I interviewed for my current job–12 years ago–I was training for my first marathon and was in better shape than anyone in the room. Trust me, it helped. In my second interview, I was in the CEO’s office, and my endurance sports enthusiasm made for some decent side conversation. Did that get me the job? I doubt it, but the confidence I had in the interview didn’t hurt, and it was a plus to gain rapport with the CEO.)

    That’s not to say that heavyset people don’t succeed; they do, and I see it happen. But it is more difficult when you are out of shape.

  5. singleman says:

    That “beauty is fleeting” clause of Proverbs 31 is one of the most overlooked parts of the Bible.

    Especially once you get this side of 50. That doesn’t mean there aren’t some beautiful women and handsome men over 50. A female friend of mine recently turned 63, yet she could easily pass for somebody 15-20 years younger. On the other hand, I was shocked at how some of my classmates had aged when I attended our 30-year high school reunion five years ago.

    Regarding letting oneself go: even if one struggles with their weight or the effects of aging, there’s still something to be said for taking pride in one’s appearance. I’ve battled my weight since boyhood. I’m still heavy, although nowhere near as heavy as I was 2.5 years ago. But I also shower at least once each day, comb what’s left of my hair, keep my beard neatly trimmed and dress neatly even when dressed casually. I want to present myself as best as I can, and I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect other able-bodied men or women to do the same.

  6. Amir says:

    @singleman
    No question. I’m 45, and I’ve seen the pictures of many folks from my high school class; the results are staggering. Yes, a fair number of us have taken good care of ourselves while others have gone off the scale wildly.

    What I’m observing here though is that those who are in good shape are almost–to a person–in shape due to intentional efforts. They go out of their way to eat well. They go out of their way to make time for good exercise.

    At the same time, those who are catastrophically out of shape have almost overwhelmingly got that way over time. Maybe they got sedentary without adjusting their diet. Maybe their life changed. All during this time their bodies changed due to the vagaries of the aging process. If you don’t address matters intentionally, they will bite you over time.

    Many contestants on The Biggest Loser fell into that trap. Many of them were very athletic before they “let themselves go”. Those are always good cases to watch, because–once they get their old athletics selves back–they are very focused and achieve much.

    Still, others on that show have never been athletic and haven’t done much competing. It’s good to watch them grow, as they start realizing what they are capable of accomplishing once they combine good dietary habits with good exercise habits.

  7. Ping Jockey says:

    “men should get over it…”

    Some of us have — that’s why we’ve Gone Our Own Way.

  8. ame says:

    so much here … seems so simple, yet it kinda snowballs to complexity … and then needs to be simplified again.

    for men, it’s so logical. for women, it’s emotional. women need to unplug their emotions a bit to get a balanced perspective.

    men, in general, think of one thing at a time. women, in general, have so many ‘windows’ open we put computers to shame – they can’t keep up with us. all those windows are interacting with one another and with all the other windows that have ever been opened in the past – that’s a lot of info and emotion flowing in nano-seconds.

    my brain is often working so rapidly on so many things at one time that it’s like going from 100mph to 0 in .03 seconds when someone needs me to explain something to them, especially when giving info or directions. i have to back waaay up to explain, then i have to get back up to speed to get back on track for the day.

    so, generically speaking, if i’m going through my life, figuring out things, solving problems, multi-tasking concurrently on multiple levels, taking care of all the people and things in my life … and then someone comes in and says, “don’t let yourself go … if you do, that is disrespecting your husband,” i’m going to jolt some.

    wife, friend, mother, employee, employer, ministry … everything, though good, takes away from a woman. often, especially with babies or special needs children, there are things that must come first. a mom cannot ignore a sick baby so she can work out. a mom cannot ignore situations with special needs children so she can work out. if a mom needs to work, she cannot ignore her job responsibilities so she can work out. a woman often does not choose to be in this place, it often comes by default. also, many times during these years, there are aging parents to care for.

    if her husband approaches her with condemnation, demanding her answer why she is not taking care of herself, and why she is letting herself go, the woman will not understand. in the same way the man feels like he’s taking care of the family by working to support them, the woman feels like she’s taking care of herself by taking care of her family. i know, to men this sounds backwards, but it’s ‘logical’ to a woman. often a woman’s family is who she is, in the same way a man’s work is who he is, so in the same way a man’s work takes care of him and his family, a woman caring for her family is taking care of herself.

    when on the outside looking in, it is easy to see that a man who gives his whole heart and soul to his job, thinking he’s taking care of his family, is loosing them in the doing. when on the outside looking in, it is easy to see that a woman who gives her whole heart and soul to her family without taking care of herself, is loosing her marriage.

    so there’s a balance. and there’s a need for both men and women to accept things to be true about the other regardless of whether or not they understand it. being able to understand each other is not necessary to work through things or to accept things. there are many things i will never understand about men, but i accept them to be true.

    so husbands need to be accepting of where a woman is, and women need to be accepting of where a man is. understanding is nice, but not necessary.

    then, they each need to be accepting and open to hearing that they, themselves, need to take a step or two back and re-evaluate from time-to-time. it’s like we’re digging for that burried bone and swear it was burried in this one place and we dig without stopping or thinking till we’re so burried in the ground we can’t see the light of day.

    when we approach each other with the attitude, “you’re wrong. i know you’re wrong. you need to listen to me because i know what is right, and you don’t,” you’re probably not going to get very far. each person has their own personality, and each couple has their own personality. care about the person first, then work through the areas that need help and/or change.

    do you want your wife with little babies to work out more? help her get some rest and relief from caring for those babies. if they have special needs that require wife/mom during this season, then chill a bit. the season will pass. for example, my first baby, not my special needs baby, was born with lots of congestive allergies and reflux. we had to hold her for months so that she could breathe. if she were to get congested while sleeping and then barf, she could drown in her barf and congestion. that would not be good. i know of food allergy babies who scream for weeks till parents find out what the baby can eat and not eat.

    this is just one example of many.

    what happens is that wife/mom gets into this caring for baby/child/parent/ whatever routine where her brain says she must be available 24/7. husband needs to find ways to both help and show her when the season is over. he may even need to come into her world and work out with her – take walks together, etc (be creative) to show her that she can do this. perhaps he needs to help out preparing meals or cleaning or whatever.

    remember, a woman’s mind is not doing just one thing, it’s doing a jillion things all at one time. you tell her she must work out to take care of herself, and she’s thinking, “okay, but who’s making dinner? who’s cleaning the bathrooms? who’s doing laundry? who’s going grocery shopping? who’s taking care of your mother? whose turn is it to stay up with baby/child? who’s paying the bills this month?” … everything in her life will come to her brain and she must choose which to put second. if she goes to work out and doesn’t get to the grocery store, will you go for her?

    these are just examples. but they’re also very real. her brain and life are full, so if you want her to take care of herself, too, and of course you do … then relieve her in some other area so she doesn’t feel like she’s dropping the ball on taking care of others.

    you wouldn’t expect your wife to say, “Okay, you work too many hours. at 4:30pm every day, you must stop working and come home, because you need to take care of yourself. If your boss comes in and says you need to complete a project, tell him, ‘No, I have to go home and take care of myself. I give too much time to my job, and I need to take time to go to the gym and work out, because it’s good for me.'”

    you would look at your wife and think she’s just gone looney! can you ever bug out early or on time and it be okay? probably. can you always? probably not. asking your wife to stop caring for someone else is the same as telling your boss it’s quitting time, and he will have to suck it up.

    so can you see how problematic this can all become? our perception of what our spouse is choosing or not choosing is rarely what they are actually thinking. we each think what we do is very important.

    it’s delicate to work though, but necessary. it takes patience and time … and it often takes trial and error.

    ***

    otoh, if you’re doing all you can to help your spouse, and your spouse is being beligerant, then there’s a whole different problem. go to biblical counseling if you need to. do not wait for the other to get help, and do not wait for them to agree to couple’s counseling. do it yourself.

    ***

    i may have created more questions than answers, but i’ve gotta go – will follow up later if i need to.

  9. Amir says:

    @Ame

    so, generically speaking, if i’m going through my life, figuring out things, solving problems, multi-tasking concurrently on multiple levels, taking care of all the people and things in my life … and then someone comes in and says, “don’t let yourself go … if you do, that is disrespecting your husband,” i’m going to jolt some.

    wife, friend, mother, employee, employer, ministry … everything, though good, takes away from a woman. often, especially with babies or special needs children, there are things that must come first. a mom cannot ignore a sick baby so she can work out. a mom cannot ignore situations with special needs children so she can work out. if a mom needs to work, she cannot ignore her job responsibilities so she can work out. a woman often does not choose to be in this place, it often comes by default. also, many times during these years, there are aging parents to care for.

    Those things are all true. I would also submit that many of these women who “let themselves go”, aren’t so much overburdened with responsibilities as they are simply making a conscious choice to punt. Again, most of the time, there are a lot of other things going on when that happens.

    At the same time, a husband can come in and help her prioritize things and choose where to say “no”.

    For many years, I had difficulty saying “no” to people. As a result, I got stretched badly, and found myself burned out frequently.

    But I learned from that. Now, I have “no” down to a science. This week, I even said “no” regarding something that was otherwise good.

    Cubbie and I have a friend–KM–who has a very full plate. She is married, has two kids, is a dermatologist, homeschools her kids, and works with her husband on the cattle farm that they have. She doesn’t exercise nearly as much as she used to, but she’s still quite fit. She’s two years younger than I am, and could easily pass for someone in her 20s.

    She would not be where she is today, however, if she didn’t know how to say “no”. She would tell you that it’s a skill she has developed over the years, and it has been quite liberating.

    But her husband has been very helpful over the years in terms of helping her prioritize things.

  10. Amir says:

    @Ping Jockey
    That is what I told some folks in that discussion. A lot of men look at the women who say that, and they rationally conclude that marriage isn’t worth their risk.

  11. ame says:

    Amir – definitely. and this is an area where (most of the time) the better a husband handles this, the better his results. it’s one thing to say no to stuff that is outside of your family. it’s another thing to say no to things that are inside your family, and that’s where men have a difficult time understanding the heart of a woman. i am not making excuses … i am stating what is. rather than further depleting his wife by demanding more (ie: you’ve got this problem, you figure it out, i want you to take care of yourself, now do it), a wise husband will come into her heart and help her where she is.

    also, those who have great parental role models and great family support and help do better at this. i cannot emphasize this enough. most people, even in this scattered world, have family support, if only emotional via long distance. they have mom’s or sister’s or sil’s or grandmother’s or aunts or friends who are a little ahead of them to step in and help them out. these women will naturally do better all around than those who don’t have this kind of support. when this family support, though, is negative towards men, then it gets bad cause she’s forced to choose against them. not easy or fun.

    what i’m trying to say is that for men this is a logical thing … for women, it’s an emotional thing that’s entertwined with so many parts of who they are inside. are there women who punt? sure. are there women with bad attitudes? sure. but i think there would be more women who would be willing to step up if (1) they truly had a grasp on what this means to their man, and (2) had the physical and emotional support they need from their man. this is the part where a man does not have to understand the woman to help. he can just accept that this is how she is. and this isn’t just taking care of herself, this is all of marriage.

    i’ve experienced this both ways. my first husband would get angry at me for not doing things a certain way (other than taking care of my health – i was in great shape then), but he would never help me get to where he thought i should be. my new husband is willing to come into my heart and help me get to where he would like me to be. my first husband wanted everything for him. my new husband wants what’s best for me and us and our family. my first husband was so discontent with most everything i did that after awhile it wasn’t worth trying anymore (though i did, and it about killed me inside). my new husband is happy with most things, so the few he’s not, i’m willing to work on – especially since he’s patient and willing to allow me a learning curve. my first husband judged me as a person by whether or not i succeeded or failed at what he wanted; my new husband values me, regardless of whether i succeed or fail.

    i think that most women, if they really had a grasp of what their husband needs and a little bit of why, and had encouragement and support from him, they would be willing to make the effort. it may often come down to communication. out here, you and i are great at communication. but not every man and/or every woman is. they know there’s a ‘thing,’ but they don’t know how to define it or how to relate it to their spouse. it takes time to learn, and it takes wisdom to know when to get help.

    one thing i try to do with women is help them see these things in their man. often it doesn’t take much, and this light bulb goes off, and she’s more than willing to give it a shot. i think most people want to be successful … they just need the right encouragement.

  12. Christina says:

    I agree with Ame. I had a nice, long comment ready to post, but I realized my thinking style has gone way mucho in the direction of emotional.

    She is right, when it comes to the well meaning ones. Hearing the phrase “don’t let yourself go” means something else has to be let go so I can catch myself. But what on my plate can I let go? Where can I better manage my life so I don’t let myself go? Will you help me or am I doing this alone?

    Luckily, for some of us, we have help. Not everyone does, though. For some, “Don’t let yourself go” falls in with the other demands of “Keep the house clean,” “Expect dinner on time,” and “Educate and discipline children” with no compromise or help in getting there.

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