I will never forget the day that I first saw Michael.
It was September 2002. My college, UT Dallas, was playing SMU in a soccer game at the SMU stadium. I was at the game with my sorority sisters, my then boyfriend, and some of his bruhs (that’s frat speak for bros). Jackopierce was playing live. Around halftime, I noticed this guy. My eyes tracked him as he walked past me and took a seat a few rows behind me. Since I was sitting on our home side, I knew most of the people around me. But not him. With his crispy clean white shirt, clean-shaven fair skin, and copper wavy hair he seemed out-of-place amongst the scruffy faced, cargo short & frat shirt wearing other guys. The more I looked at him, the more I was intrigued. He was nothing close to my ‘type’. I normally picked those darker haired frat boys. Keyword= boys. Something about him, though, kept drawing me in. I had to keep looking at him. I turned to my sisters and said “Look at that guy! Have y’all ever seen a hot redhead????”, as if he were equivalent to the Lochness monster. The more times I turned my head during that soccer game to look at him the more things I noticed that I couldn’t get enough of. Like how he looked so intently at the people he was talking to. Like how his eyes would sparkle when he smiled. Oh and those dimples. Mmmmm. Those dimples. Then I noticed further down. He had on jewelry. Not silly Pac-Sun stuff, but a real watch and even a bracelet. Kinda like a grown man, not a boy. And it wasn’t just his looks. There was just something almost magical about him. Even from a distance I could sense his charisma. This guy was like no other I had ever seen.
Weeks went by and every now and then I would see him… Michael, I heard was his name from some friends. Our paths would cross every now and then and every single time it was like I was struck by this magnetic field. I could not look away. Eventually, my then boyfriend and I broke up. Michael and I formally met. And the rest is history— and for another story on another day.
It’s been 12 years since that soccer game. I still feel just as attracted to my Hot RedHead as I did that day at the soccer game. No, not every singe minute of every day of the past twelve years, but overall, he still just draws me in.
So how does that happen? How, 12 years later, do I still think he is as hot as ever?
I have held him as my Standard of Beauty that entire time.
Standard of Beauty
In the beginning God created woman from man so that she could come alongside man and be his help mate. His intention was that one man and one woman would join together for eternal marital bliss. When Adam woke up from a deep slumber to meet Eve, she was the first and only woman he had ever seen. Regardless how she looked, every woman who came after her would be exactly that– after her. She was beautiful because she was a.) not a reptile or four legged animal and b.) because she was all his! He held her above all the others. She set the bar. She was his Standard of Beauty.
Your husband or wife, for no other reason other than that they are your husband or wife, is to be your standard of beauty. Of course, over twelve years Hot RedHead has changed. He isn’t twenty years old any more. He has traded in the crispy white shirt for Crossfit t-shirts and gym shorts. His face is not freshly shaven every day. And that head of copper hair is not as wavy (or thick) as it used to be. He has changed. And so my standards change. Mark Driscoll says it best “If your wife is skinny, then you are into skinny. If your wife is not skinny, you are into not skinny.” I am called to love my husband exactly as he is. He is to be the one that I set above all others. He is the one that no one can compare to.
As humans we always long for things we can’t have or things we may think are better than what we already have. We hear about how a friend’s husband bought her a nice gift as an apology from a fight and we want that instead of the verbal apology that we got. We notice another dad we know who is really hands on and involved with his kids and long for that while ours is more hands off and career minded. Living in the Dallas area, the “I want more” syndrome seems to be pretty common. We are really good at being pretty. Most women I know (myself included on some items) get regular hair color, pedicures, gel manicures, eye–lip–_____ waxing, eyelash extensions, botox injections, and hair blowouts. The men are no different. We have a store in our mall that sells $40 shaving cream. There are a handful of high-end grooming salons that cater specifically to men. No joking there is almost always a man getting a pedi when I am there for mine. Gyms and tanning salon are on every corner. Ladies are having home parties for skinny weight loss wraps or spray tanning. Yeah, you can go to a friend’s house, take your clothes off and stand in a pop up tent in her living room while a lady airbrushes you with bronze. And, yes, I am guilty. Don’t judge. High end shops and trendy boutiques are within arms reach whenever we need something new. We love us some us. We have this desire to be prettier and/or better than everyone else. There’s so much competition for our spouse’s attention and we perpetuate that cycle by constantly stepping up a notch.
Michael and I both spend a good amount of time around other pretty people. He is in the business world and so of course there is always some good looking gal in knock-off Louboutins and a pencil skirt. We both workout at a Crossfit gym, surrounded by beautiful (and usually half naked) people. Even at church or play groups, it is still the same ladies I mentioned above. There is no way to get away from it.
I know my marriage will slowly crumble if I start to compare my husband to any of these other men I come in contact with. Whether the comparison is of a physical trait or a personality characteristic, wishing he was more like someone else will leave room in my heart for contention to grow. And when the littlest seed of contention starts, the snowballing effects can be catastrophic.
Pray for Protection
We are not blind. I cannot ignore a twenty something guy I notice at the gym with Marky Mark abs. (totally just showed my age there) I cannot ignore it when a friend’s husband is thoughtful. I can’t ignore it when a man at church is friendly, funny, or kind. My husband can’t ignore every high maintenance Dallas woman who passes him by each day.
But I can pray for protection of my marriage. Almost daily, I pray that my heart would be guarded and that I would hold Michael as my standard of beauty.
I am not really sure what my “type” is. There is some important context to be shared from the story above. I grew up a fat kid. Like I graduated HS at about 255 and topped out at 270 in college. Then one day I had enough. Armed with a gym membership, lots of ephedra, and muscle and fitness, I lost 85 pounds in 4 months. BOOM… new me.
About a year later I transferred to UTD. No one knew the fat kid. So Becca being into me was pretty stinking cool.
Now to the point of this blog. Standards of beauty. Look… I’ll be honest, when you’re overweight you can’t always be picky. I also went to a small private school in high school where the pickings were slim. My first college girlfriend, however, was tall (like 5’11 tall), brunette, very thin, and beautiful. Becca is short, curvy, and also smokin’ hot. Nevertheless, these are 2 different things. Get my drift here?
Here’s the thing that keeps my coming back to Becca. One is choice. You have to choose. Love is a choice. To “love the wife of your youth” as Solomon says is a CHOICE. But more importantly… Becca saw me. And she still sees me. I don’t mean she noticed and notices me. I mean she sees me. Like she sees into my soul. That’s what I have to remember. I don’t want anyone else to see me that way. No one can. Any other look or flirt is just bullshit. It’s a joke. It’s a lie. Becca is the only one that really sees me.
Now let’s get practical. I also don’t come home to a woman wearing baggy t-shirts, eating ice cream, and just getting all willy nilly about how she looks. Becca gets that her body is a temple. She wants to set a good example of health and fitness for our kids. Heart disease runs in both of our families. She takes care of herself. I will say it makes things easier for me. In turn, I don’t want to be the guy looking all nasty just because I am old and have kids.
Don’t get comfortable. Work for each other to be what each other needs. And I’m not trying to make this about just physical attraction. But our bodies were given to us to use for our joy at the pleasure of the Creator. Treat them with respect and use them well.
Here is a secret ladies… above all. Men want to be seen. We like attention. We buy cars and big houses for people to see them. It starts as noble and becomes corrupt. We start working to provide. We get into leadership. Then it becomes about proving a point, competing, and gaining power. We need to be seen. We need to matter.
When a husband is no longer seen because he’s lost between a job, car payments, a mortgage, that stupid Michael Kors bag you “have to have”, running his kids between multiple sports practices, no one sees him anymore. He becomes a utility that gives you kids and pays your bills. Then the curiosity sets in. “I wonder what it would be like____”. Once someone slightly attractive sees your husband the way he wants you to see him… it’s over; you’ve lost. That’s hard to fight. Physical or not, the likelihood of an emotional affair is HUGE. Now his heart is somewhere else. Hold him as your standard and see him. Guard him. Fight for him. See him.
>>>>>>>Insert Becca <<<<<<<
As a couple, we have a huge desire to share what we know about marriage with others. We believe that marriage can be amazing and wonderful. Not because we think we are perfect or have it all figured out. Everything we know and practice is because we have learned by experience how NOT to do things. We pray that the Holy Spirit would stir a passion in you for your marriage and for your spouse.