If We’re Honest About Physical Attraction
We did an online poll for my visit with on-air personalities Woody & Jim today on 107.5 The River in Nashville. The question was, Which is most important to you? The choices were: 1) your mate takes care of his/her body and keeps looking good, 2) your mate fulfills your sexual desires but lets his/her body go, or 3) your mate trips and falls under a bus. (The last one was there because Woody and Jim are hilarious…)
60% choose number one — the attractive mate
33% chose number two — sexual desires fulfilled
7% chose number three — mate under a bus (hopefully they were kidding)
The numbers aren’t surprising. For years I’ve taught sessions to those who work with marriages and discussed with them the role physical appearance plays in marital satisfaction.
In the counseling world one of the secrets that typically doesn’t get talked about in public is the number of husbands who love their wives but are no longer sexually attracted to them because they are overweight.
Talking about that on TV or radio tends to rile listeners who feel that it is prejudiced toward people who struggle with weight. I certainly don’t want to offend, but the truth is — whether we like it or not — physical appearance matters from the time we first meet until we die.
As I employ the word appearance, I must broaden that to include all five senses. In a survey I did a couple years ago, the greatest physical deterrent to a wife’s being attracted sexually to her husband was hygiene. They were turned off by cigarette or cigar breath, unshaven faces over the weekend, coming home dirty and doing nothing about it, or, (dare I say it) certain smells that the human body sometimes makes. In short, women were just as concerned about the man’s physicality as were the men about the women’s.
So what do we learn from all this?
It is never okay to let yourself go. Thinking, Well, we’re married now and I don’t have to watch the calories as much, or worry about exercizing as often is not wise. Though our appearance changes with age, the truth is that we should be as physically attractive as possible for our mates as long as we both live. Why wouldn’t we want to do that for the one we vowed to love and cherish?
So what do you do if you’re not physically attracted to your spouse? We’ll use weight as an example.
First, assure your spouse several times every day that you love him just as he is and that you are committed to be with him for life (this, of course, applies to husband or wife).
Second, open your heart and explain how you feel about his weight or whatever the physical issue is that can be improved. Be honest about all your emotions.
Third, ask him if he will commit to diet and exercise for you as well as for his own well being. Help in every way that he will allow. Encourage him to seek reputable professional guidance.
If you work on this together, with honesty and openness, you will bring attraction back into your marriage.