More Bad-Good Advice: My Conflict with my Current Book Choice

respect vs. modesty
Is it disrespectful to my husband to not put more effort into my appearance?

Welcome  This week’s “theme” is marriage and advice that can be both good and bad.  I spend a lot of time reading Christian self-help books, seeking improvement both with my individual self and in my marriage and family roles.  My current book choice has me in conflict.  Please join me in this discussion, as I would love to have others’ opinions and perspectives.  We’ll close out today with a dinner recipe that is nutrient-dense and full of Mediterranean flavors.  Note-I may receive compensation from advertisers or affiliate links in this blog.  I am not affiliated with any of the authors or their publishers listed in this blog and the following discussion is strictly my opinion and not that of any affiliates or advertisers.  For further information, please see my terms and disclosure page.

Food For Thought  I enjoy reading, but most of my reading is nonfiction, and much of that falls under the “self-help” category.  I have read some books, especially in the past few years, that have had significant impact on my life.  I can truly say they have made a difference in my life and helped me become a better, more sane person.  I certainly have favorite authors too.  Lysa TerKeurst, Pam Farrell, and Sharon Jaynes have all written books that have inspired improvements in my life, spiritually and mentally.  The book I’m currently reading is the second one I have read by Sharon Jaynes, and I’m struggling with it, specifically one chapter.  It is a book that is written to help us become better wives, being everything our husband needs us to be, so that he can be the man God intended for him to be.  I’m on board for most everything in the book, which offers great suggestions and affirmation for some of my behaviors I already have as a Christian wife.

If the words are written to help make our marriage relationship more spiritual and uplifting to God’s plan, what am I having so much trouble with?  Chapter 8 of Becoming the Woman of his Dreams is called “A Picture Paints a Thousand Words” and it’s a chapter that addresses our physical appearance.  I just wrote a post a couple of weeks ago that talked about how much I don’t like to shop or fuss with make-up or hairstyles.  I shared that saving money in these areas was beneficial to our household and saves financial disagreements between my husband and me.  I also have shared in some previous posts how I struggle with low self-esteem and have had to work on not comparing myself to others, including appearances.  Can you imagine my disappointment when I read a book to seek help and wisdom that says if I neglect my appearance I am being disrespectful to my husband?  I am certainly guilty of having brief moments or behaviors that may fall in the disrespectful category, but I never would have thought my not wearing make-up, walking around the house in sweats, or putting on a few (or more) pounds would fall into this category!

The author knows she is going to ruffle some feathers because she opens the chapter stating she’s going to be treading on thin ice with some readers.  But she also points out what research, and the obvious, already tells us: men are visually stimulated by attractive women.  I’m not going to argue with this statement, but what I would like to believe is that men with strong Christian beliefs and morals, or even just plain ol’ good guys, are looking for more–attributes that reflect strong, noble character.  Remember the “wife of noble character” in Proverbs 31?  In verse 30 it says “Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”  I have always thought this meant I should be concerned with more important things than my looks.  I’m not saying I shouldn’t take care of myself and try to be healthy.  I know 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 talks about treating our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit and honoring God with our body; however, these verses are in connection with Paul’s warnings against sexual immorality, not decorating our bodies with make-up, fine jewelry, and expensive clothes.

This is where the conflict came from (p. 60): “Because when we decide that we don’t care how we look, we are in essence telling our husbands that we don’t care about them.  We are disrespecting his needs and desires.”  I was so troubled by this chapter, my husband and I had a very lengthy discussion.  Of course, being the great guy he is, he said all the right things, like how beautiful he thinks I am and he doesn’t mind when I don’t wear make-up or keep my hairstyle current.  I did ask him to weight in a little further, so his perspective would be represented on this blog, but he is just one man out of millions.  He said the following: he does not consider my disinterest in my appearance disrespectful to him or his role as my husband; he likes when I dress nicer and wear make-up when we go out for date night or other couples outings; he does not expect me to wear make-up or jewelry everyday when I work from home; he expects me to dress comfortable for home; he’s glad I don’t spend thousands of dollars each year on hair, make-up, and accessories; he does not want me to become obsessed with this topic, because she offers, in his opinion, a twisted perspective.  So, just like the advice I discussed yesterday, what works for one couple may not work for another.  Just another reason that my husband and I are probably the perfect match for each other–I can be myself and not worry if he thinks I’m being disrespectful or lazy with my appearance.  But just in case, I fixed my hair and put on make-up to blog from home today!

Today’s Scriptures  Ecclesiastes 3:10-11 “I have seen the burden God has laid on men.  He has made everything beautiful in its time.  He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”

1 Peter 3:1-5 “Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.  Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes.  Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.  For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful…”

Mediterranean Inspired Dinner
Balanced and flavorful meal with plenty of vegetables and lower in carbs.

Today’s Recipe  Mediterranean Burgers with Roasted Vegetables, Couscous, and Spinach (serves 6)  Just because I don’t love getting dressed up and wearing a lot of make-up for my outer appearance, doesn’t mean I don’t try to take care of the inside of my body.  Fresh air, sunshine, exercise, plenty of water, and nutrient-dense meals are all beneficial to my physical well-being, keeping all of my internal functions working properly.  These healthy habits can also benefit my appearance, leading to clear, healthy skin, hair, teeth, and nails.  That sounds like a win-win!  Today I have a nutrient-dense dinner recipe with Mediterranean flavors.  There are nutrition benefits in lean poultry, onion, olive oil, spinach, whole grains and fiber-rich garbanzo beans.  If you want to go meatless, serve the roast vegetables, couscous, and spinach without the burgers, and get your protein by doubling up on the beans.

  • For the Roast Vegetables

    Roasted vegetables
    Tossing vegetables with garbanzo beans, olive oil, and seasoning makes a delicious and healthy side or even main dish!
  • 1/2 pound baby carrots
  • 1 medium head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 medium squash, yellow or zucchini, cubed
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into chunks
  • 1 can Garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 TBS Greek seasoning (I shop for spices at Penzy’s, and they have a great Greek blend)
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Place all cut vegetables and beans in large bowl.  Add olive oil and seasoning, tossing to coat evenly.  Line a large (18 x 13) baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Spread vegetable mixture evenly on baking sheet. Roast in oven 40-45 minutes.
  • For the Burgers
    Mediterranean burgers
    So much flavor, so little fat!

    1 1/2 lbs. ground turkey or chicken

  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh spinach
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped black olives
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta
  • 1 TBS Greek seasoning
  • Combine all ingredients in large bowl.  Shape into 6 patties.  Cook, about 6 minutes per side, on non-stick skillet sprayed with cooking spray.
  • For the Couscous
  • 1 5.8-oz box whole grain couscous
  • 1 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp Greek seasoning
  • In medium saucepan, bring broth, olive oil, and seasoning to a boil.  When a full boil is reached, remove pan from stove, add in couscous, stir, and place lid.  Let stand for 7-10 minutes.  Fluff with a fork before serving.  I like to saute’ some spinach in olive oil and garlic to serve with this meal to boost the nutrition and vegetable content.

So you can form your own opinion about the author’s perspective, I have provided a link to the book I reference in today’s post, as well as the first book I read by the author.  These links were active as of 8/9/17 at 4:00 pm CDT.