“Pastor, I don’t feel the same about my wife anymore. After nearly twenty years, she’s just not the same woman I married. Honestly, she doesn’t excite me like she used to either. Her breasts are sagging, and she has a lot of stretch marks that are a bit of a turn-off.”
I wish I could tell you that’s the first time I’ve heard that or something similar, but it’s not. And my conversation with this guy, I’ll call him Toby, was honest and direct.
“Toby, why does your wife have stretch marks and sagging breasts?”
“Uh, I guess it’s because she’s had three kids.”
“Hmmm. And they’re your kids too, right?
“Okay, here’s another question, and be honest, did you have your bald head and potbelly when you got married?”
(Laughter) “Nope! Too many late-night bowls of ice cream for me!”
“So, you’re not the same guy she married either.”
“No, but pastor, I don’t think it’s the same, I’m a guy, and guys are visually stimulated.
“I know, but in all fairness, you’ve both changed. Right?”
“Yeah, I guess so.”
As my conversation went on, I encouraged Toby with a few things that you might find helpful in your marriage.
First, remember that all bodies change. Everybody is getting older. We all get a pooch, sag, wrinkle, and gray. Visually stimulated or not, that woman you vowed to love until death is dying. Daily. (We all are.) I told Toby to love the soul of his wife more than her sagging breasts and stretch-marked belly. True beauty is far more than smooth skin and perky boobs.
Second, I encouraged Toby to see the changes in his wife’s body and even her stretch marks as marks of love. Every scar, every imperfect blemish, and every mark can be seen as a sign of love. Toby’s wife loved him enough to put their desire for a family above a vain hope of preserving her body. We choose what we want to focus on. I told Toby to focus on his wife’s selfless love.
One last thing, learn to speak your wife’s love language. Everything grows better with the right ingredients. Regardless of whether her love language happens to be acts of service, gifts, affirming words, or quality time, I’ve never met a woman who doesn’t want to hear, “You look lovely today.”
So, the next time you see her naked, tell her that you see her stretch marks as love marks. Say it because you mean it, and be prepared for a fun response. You might discover that affirmation is awesome.
I promise you, gentlemen, a change in your perspective, your focus, and your words won’t change the reality of any stretch marks, but it will change you and your marriage.
According to God, the wife of your youth is worth the effort.
Your sex life will be blessed
as you take joy and pleasure
in the wife of your youth.
Proverbs 5:18 (The Passion Translation)