September 1, 2010

What is beauty?

I read a wonderful talk by Douglas Callister entitled Your Refined Heavenly Home.  It touched my heart and made me truly desire for a more refined, beautiful home and an atmosphere that is more heaven-like.

There is one part, however, that I'm troubling over.  I've discussed it with my husband, but still cannot find a decision I'm happy with.

"We must not “let ourselves go” and become so casual—even sloppy—in our appearance that we distance ourselves from the beauty heaven has given us. Every man has the right to be married to a woman who makes herself as beautiful as she can be and who looks in the mirror to tidy herself up before he comes home. Every woman has a right to be married to a man who keeps himself clean, physically as well as morally, and takes pride in his appearance."

So, I'm guilty of "letting myself go".  I have long hair that I wear in a ponytail or bun every day.  I wear jeans and t-shirt and am more than a few pounds overweight.  But I've decided I want to change.  For myself.  

Every day I'm trying to do something to make myself more "beautiful" physically.  The other day I plucked my eyebrows.  Because I'm so loving, I won't include a picture of what they looked like before.  I'm also trying to wash my face and use good products to help my skin look more attractive.  And exercise is going to be my new best friend.

I'm trying.  I want to be a refined woman.  I want to feel like the daughter of God I know I am.

As I was discussing this with my husband, I asked for his definition of womanly beauty.  I wanted to know if it was "beautiful" to have a nice haircut, to wear neat and comely clothes, have lovely skin and be in shape.  Or did make-up need to be involved?  I'm not against make-up.  I actually have a lot of it (my sister-in-law is a Mary Kay consultant and I personally keep her in business).  But I don't have a lot of time and energy to use it right now.

Since my time is limited I wanted to know if using the 15 to 20 minutes it takes each day to put on make-up would be better used in exercising so that I am healthy and have a lovely girlish figure.  He replied that I should be able to do it all - exercise, fix my hair and wear make-up and that without the make-up it wouldn't be considered "beautiful".

I'll be honest and say that I ended up raising my voice at this point.  A part of me chafes that for a woman to be beautiful she must wear make-up.  A man is considered handsome without it.  Part of me is unhappy that I can't be considered "naturally cute" or whatever.  It's sort of like I'm not good enough unless I have it.  I should probably let you know that my husband is a wonderful man, and regularly tells me he loves me and that I'm beautiful.  In fact his nickname for me is "Pretty".  But it still bothered me.

Can women be "beautiful" without make-up?  Can a well-dressed, physically fit, smiling woman be considered beautiful?  Has our society so indoctrinated us with artificial beauty that we can no longer appreciate natural beauty?  Or is all the make-up actually a part of refinement and loveliness?


  1. Makeup is not part of refinement to me. I will not wear a mask or a hat every day (make up and hair color). I will exercise, eat right, brush my hair and be dressed in nice clothes (my nice right now is a t-shirt without stains and jeans worn with a belt so they aren't falling off or sagging). Yes I look nicer with makeup BUT it costs money and time that I will not spend. Plus I want to be loved for me and not the stuff I put on your face. I think I understand what you're husband is trying to say but yeah, its still frustrating. Good luck!

  2. I agree that make-up is unnecessary. Sure, it can enhance beauty, but noone should have to wear it to feel beautiful. The other things--I do think it helps leaps and bounds to have nice hair, dress nice and try your best to be in shape (the latter I'm still working on). Too many married couples let themselves go, and I think it's a shame.

    But back to the make-up thing. Jeff and I are the opposite. I like to wear make-up (it takes me five minutes to put it on every morning) but Jeff prefers little to no make-up. I've toned it down a little (he hates eye shadow, but doesn't mind eye-liner or mascara) to make him happy because I want to please him, but also myself. So it's sort of a compromise.

  3. as much as I hate to admit it, I know I look better with makeup and when I look nice I feel better about myself. And when I feel better about myself, everyone in my family benefits. For everyday I just need a coat of mascara & tinted lip balm; that was our compromise. The rest helps, but those two make the biggest difference and take a small amount of time.

  4. I was at a scout camp with (can't remember how many) people for a week this summer for family camp. The showers were totally off for over a day because of water issues. But let me tell you, even in all that dirt, there were some beautiful people there.

    True beauty comes from the inside out. There are plenty of people that try to fake it and paint it on, and yes, I hardly go a day without my mascara. But true beauty cannot be faked. Plenty of times I've misjudged someone based on appearance, but once I get to know them the glow from inside far outweighs anything on the outside. The principles there are true - yes, we need to take care of ourselves - but there is a difference between tidying yourself up by removing the shirt the baby spit up on and brushing your hair, and a facial overhaul.

    (Really good talk by the way!)

  5. I don't wear make-up. Can't be bothered. But I know that glowing, healthy skin, and shining eyes are beautiful. That comes from healthy insides, both physically and spiritually.

  6. Interesting thoughts, I struggle with is so much easier to do the "ponytail-sweats-T-shirt-no make-up" thing. But I do find that I feel better when I get dressed and do my hair. I get lazy about it at time, thanks for the reminder. :)