Not too long ago I was in a relationship with a very sweet woman that I cared for deeply. We patiently dated for two months before I asked her to be my girlfriend. I was really excited to take this step in our relationship. I wanted to tell her how much I cared for her. I wanted to hold her hand. I wanted to tell her how beautiful she was. I kept a low profile the first two months of dating. I felt that this protected me and her as we got to know each other. But now that we were “official,” I was very happy to talk about her, show people her picture, and let them know she was mine.
As I showed people her picture though, I was often a little disappointed of what they had to say about her.
“Wow, she’s really pretty.”
“That’s your girlfriend? She’s very attractive.”
“Cool, pretty girl.”
I was a confused when I heard those words. I was borderline offended. I must have not explained well who she was. Because she was more than a pretty face and a cute girl. She was much more than that. No. You are mistaken, if you just knew her, you’d say more than just call her “pretty.”
Because I knew her, I knew all that encompasses her beauty. Her sweet voice, her gentle spirit, her passion for singing, her kindness, her grace, her brokenness, her need for Jesus, and lastly, she was very physically attractive. So to just say she’s “pretty” is selling her short.
Thinking Like a Guy
I think like a guy (not surprising, last time I checked, I was one). The thing that speaks life to me is to tell me that I’m a man of integrity. That I’m leading you well. That you love how I love the Lord. That I’m a hard worker. That I’m a good problem solver. That gives me life and respects me. So in turn, I wanted to do the same with her. I wanted to speak those same truths to her.
However, I learned something very important. When I called her pretty, she’d say, “You really think so?” And I would say “Absolutely. I mean look at you!” But I was thinking one dimensionally, like a man would think. That’s not how a woman thinks. When you tell a woman she’s pretty or beautiful, you’re not just talking about the outside. You’re talking about everything that encompasses her. Her very being. Her soul.
See Her Beauty
So when she says, “You really think so?” she’s saying, “Do you really see me? Do you see who I am? Do you see my brokenness, my faults, my talents, my character, my soul?” And to say that she’s “beautiful” speaks life into her like you wouldn’t imagine.
I was very wrong to hold that back at the beginning. I was wrong to encourage her in the way you would encourage a guy. Yes she did need that. But she also needed to be told she was beautiful.
“Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” — 1 Peter 3:7
Oftentimes when we see “weaker” we see them as feeble or less strong. But what the Bible is saying is that God made woman differently and made them in a way that they can be hurt in a different way. Particularly by men. This “weakness” is also their strength in which they nurture children and see blind spots that men wouldn’t see.
So men, your wives, daughters, girlfriends need to hear that they are beautiful. Call them, text them, write them a note, tell them every morning, randomly throughout the day, and before they go to bed. You’re speaking an identity into them that fortifies their worth that is beyond what is seen from the outside world.