Beauty is Fleeting, But a Woman Who Fears the Lord is to be Praised

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Beauty is Fleeting

I know, in advance, that this post may ruffle some feathers. My intent is not to upset anyone, but rather to gently encourage us to not let ourselves go – both for our husbands and ourselves. We’ll also be looking at our hearts and fearing the Lord.

woman praying at sunset; beauty is fleeting; proverbs 31 wife

Now, I know that we get older and bodies flab, grey hair pops up and wrinkles form. Those are facts of life, as the post title indicates and as scripture tells us “Beauty is fleeting”.

But we’re also going to look a bit deeper into this verse. While beauty is fleeting (or vain, depending on the translation you are using), what truly matters is our heart and if it is honoring to God.

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;

    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. – Proverbs 31:30 (NIV)

If you read Proverbs 31:210-31, you may notice something. Not once, in the entire passage, do we see mention of the Proverbs 31 woman’s looks. 

Instead, we see a strong, capable woman with a beautiful heart. We know that her family praises her and calls her blessed. We know that she is hard working and committed to the Lord and serves His people. We also know that she is confident and does not live in fear. She is wise and faithful and smart with money. She is all the things that a Godly woman should be, but no mention is made of her looks.

So, let’s, for a moment, focus on the first part of the verse; “charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting”.

 

Just because scripture does not tell us how this woman should look, we should not ignore how we look. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that our looks and how we dress and wear our makeup, is of paramount importance. Rather, I am saying that we shouldn’t stop taking care of how we look for our husbands once the ring is on our finger.

Let’s go back to when you first met your husband. What was it about you that drew him to you? Perhaps, it was your positive attitude or your work ethic. Maybe it was how compassionate you are or how driven you were. Even if any of those ring true, there’s a good chance that he was also attracted to you, at least partially, by how you looked. Men (and women) are wired that way. God has created us to love beautiful things.

Now, let’s look at today. You may not weigh the same as you did when you met your husband, but do you make the same effort to care for yourself as you did back then? I’ll admit that for a time I slacked in this area. I work from home and most days just rolled out of bed and into my home office. My husband would get home from work and I was still in my pajamas. He said he didn’t mind, but I knew that at least on some level, he would prefer that I at least make an effort.

 

Beauty is Fleeting and Early Rising

After prayerfully considering what and how to change, I started to get up earlier. (See this post on rising early and having a more productive day). Now, as soon as I wake up, I take a shower, dress for the day (not in pajamas!) and put on very limited make-up. This change had more benefits that I had imagined when I put it in place! Not only is my husband pleased to come home to a put-together wife, but my confidence has soared! I feel more secure and honestly, am more productive. When I look put together, I feel put together.

When the kids are crying, the dog got into the garbage and we popped the zipper on our favorite pair of jeans, it’s easy to say “ah, forget it. I’m wearing sweatpants”. I get that. I really do. But and hear me out on this one – what kind of message is that sending to your husband? Is it saying that everything else in life is more important than him? That dealing with life’s daily crises take priority over looking and feeling your best for your husband?

When you started to date your husband, how did you look and act? Did you dress up and wear cute heels? Did you put on makeup or perfume? Did you “do” your hair before he picked you up? Has anything changed? Or now, do you wear legging and flip flops, no makeup and hair in a ponytail every day?

I’m not judging you, friend. I’m not. That was me, as well. When I committed to making a change, the benefits of the change were incredible.

Beauty is Fleeting and Making Small Changes

To be honest, I don’t do everything that I used to regarding looking and feeling my best. I no longer get manicures, but I do get my hair colored (if not, I would be nearly all grey and personally, I’m not quite ready for that!).

I no longer spend tons of money on clothing (I buy a few pieces a few times per year and always on sale) I no longer wear heels every day, but rather sandals or decent shoes (after years of flip flops my feet yell at me when I wear heels). The point is, you don’t have to spend hours and tons of money on looking good for your husband (and yourself), you just need to try.

If you normally wear sweats or leggings for comfort, consider a sundress or skirt – both are comfortable and look great.

If you normally wear sneakers or flip flops, consider sandals or flats.

If you normally put your hair up in a ponytail, let it dry naturally.

Maybe you are thinking “my husband doesn’t care about any of this, he loves me the way I am”. You may be right, but I’d be willing to bet that he would also notice and appreciate if you made an effort to look good knowing it was for his benefit.

Don’t ask questions like “do you think I dress ok?” or “does my wearing sweats bother you?” Men, despite what modern sitcoms tell us, are not stupid. They will answer those questions in a way to avoid hurting your feelings or starting an argument.

Why not ask him what he thinks? Ask specific questions like – what color do you think looks best on me? Which way that I wear my hair do you like best? Which of my outfits are your favorite? Listen to his answers and make changes accordingly. He will notice and you will feel a renewed confidence in yourself.

I’d be willing to bet that when you make these small changes to look your best for your husband, that he will notice and that your marriage will benefit.

Remember that while beauty is fleeting, it’s not hard and will pay dividends in your marriage.

But a Woman Who Fears the Lord is to be Praised

Make-up and clothing are nice (and, as mentioned above, can show your husband that you care), but it is our character, what is inside, that truly make us beautiful.

The second part of the verse is “but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised”.

While we want to take care of our bodies and look good for our husbands, we need to put more focus on fearing the Lord. Loving our Heavenly Father. Striving to be more like Jesus.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve spent many an hour putting on make-up and “doing” my hair throughout my years. I try to at least look like I have it all together. Well, kind of (hehehe).

But the most important part of my beauty routine is spending time with God.

That’s right. Reading my Bible, praying, singing worship music, studying His Word. They are the most crucial component of taking care of myself and my “beauty”. Beauty comes from within, truly.

Perhaps, if we spent more time:

  • Reading God’s Word than fussing over what to wear
  • Praying and talking with our Heavenly Father than trying to achieve the “smoky eye” look
  • Seeking to please Him, rather than impressing neighbors and friends by our newest wardrobe addition

Then, perhaps, our inner beauty would shine through to the outside.

Scripture also says:

Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— 4 but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. 5 For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, – 1 Peter 3:3-5

Let’s not put more attention on our outer self than on our inner self. Let’s not put more attention on what we look like than on how we serve others.

We’ve heard it a thousand times, “Don’t worry about man’s opinion. Focus on God,” “Present your real self. Be vulnerable!” The math is simple. If we focus on God, then we’ll be more concerned about working on heart issues versus appearance issues.

We’re willing to become more transparent and real. When Jeremiah 29:11 becomes real, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope,” we get can excited about Kingdom outcomes not this world’s outcomes.

This is a great challenge for each one of us, including me. We can become less focused on the outside if we remain connected to God. The key is deciding that He is going to be our sole source of acceptance. Proverbs 31:30 reminds, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.”

If you have fallen into the trap of seeking to get your needs met through focusing on your outside appearance, I encourage you today to decide to receive God’s acceptance into your soul. It’s all you really need.

When our heavenly Father approves of us, then when we see beautiful people parading around us, it won’t make us feel unworthy because our spirit is being nurtured and fed by the Father’s Spirit. Scripture tells us that we are “complete” in Him (Colossians 2:9-10). Dictionary.com says “complete” means to lack nothing; be full; finished; to make perfect. You are complete in Him! Believe it.

It’s a balance, my friends. Let’s not “let ourselves go” but make an effort to look good for your husband, while being in fellowship with the Lord and fearing Him.

Ultimately, we do not want to make an idol of our appearance, but rather while trying to take care of our outer bodies to please our husbands, focus on our hearts and seeking Him in all we do.

Which camp do you fall into? Have you stopped trying to look good for your husband or do you try to please him by dressing and looking your best? How do you focus on your inner beauty and your walk with the Lord?

Tell me in the comments below.

You may enjoy this look at Proverbs 31:30 by Dephne Madyara

 

For more reading on looking your best for your husband, check out these articles from Crosswalk.com 

For the previous verse in this series, see this post.

If you want to dig deeper, check out my book, The Complete Proverbs 31 Wife:  A Verse by Verse Exploration of What it Means to Be a Proverbs 31 Woman in Today’s World.

In Him,

Sue

beauty is fleeting

 

Susan is a writer, speaker and the creator of Women of Noble Character ministries. She is passionate about helping Christian women deepen their walk with God through Bible study and creative worship and strengthen their marriages.

She lives in rural North Central Missouri with her handsome and hilarious husband and a myriad of dogs, cats and chickens.

Susan runs on Jesus, coffee and not enough sleep.

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28 Comments

    1. Thank you very much and God bless you…. I m 56 my husband 62 been married for a long time,.. love each other and your thoughts were great I’m gonna try some ……

  1. I can relate, when my family started asking was I going somewhere when I put on jeans and tshirt, I realized that I was not taking care of myself properly. Since I do not work anymore;disability, I started not really caring to dress.
    I now stay in whatever I put on for my day out, going to Bible study or Wed nite church. I probably need to step it up a bit and make an effort to look put together.

  2. Sue, this is really awesome and helpful.I will share your text with other women as well, I believe it will help them as its helping me.WoW

  3. Wellp I feel a wee bit convicted! Lol Thanks for this post! I have been letting myself go. Hair in a bun, no make up, legs unshaven…and comfy clothes have been my go to.. for a while now! Wake up earlier and shower? Aright!! I’ll give it a go! He deserves it. Going to make more of an effort tomorrow!

    1. I hear ya, sister! I had felt the same way and started to make changes. Not only did my husband notice and appreciate it, but I felt better, too! You’ve got this 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Honeztly, no, I did none of that when he ased me out or asked me to marry him. I was almost always in t-shirts and jeans (and no, not feme ones; big ones to hide, let’s say, what I didn’t like about my body that most men liked entirely too much.)

    No makeup either. Just me. I tried once, just before we dated, to get him to notice I was wearing mascara…and he didn’t care! Lol

    Men don’t care about this stuff nearly as much as women do, IMO. Sure, be healthy, but don’t fall all over yourself if your hair and makeup aren’t done. Because that’s a modern-day standard, and has zip to do with Biblical living.

  5. I completely agree! I too went through a phase, I stay home with the kids all day and some days I just rolled out of bed moving and didn’t take time to get dressed, showered, or even do much with my hair. He noticed, never said a thing, but he noticed. Then one day, after some Bible reading, I decided to make an effort, some days it was 30 mins before he got home, but I made an effort. He noticed! Again, he didn’t really say anything, but he noticed. He noticed me again. He noticed I made an effort. He smiled more. There was just something, but I noticed that he noticed. Some days the effort is more than other days for a million reasons, not all days are the same. Only on date nights in summer does he get the hair down, but where we live summers are extreme. He says he doesn’t care, but he still notices and he smiles with his eyes, and I notice.

  6. Unfortunately, it is my husband who is like this, when we first met he would put some effort to look nice and attractive to me, but sadly, since our relationship got more serious he literally intends to not listen to my hints about the looks i find him attractive in, or about the ways i feel that i want him more. He intentionally dresses differently than what i love, and leaves his neck and half head to grow,,,although i told him many times how attractive he looks when he is groomed and shaved. It has just disappointed me so much.. especially that he may do all that for example for his work, but for the 3-4 months of break, the least he cares about is my opinion.

    1. Hi, Natali – I’m sorry that your husband isn’t making an effort. It could be many things – perhaps he is a bit depressed, but knows he needs to groom for work while he doesn’t really have to other times. Maybe he’s gotten a bit complacent. Have you sat down with him to talk about it? Before you do anything, pray, then pray some more. If, after talking about it, he’s not receptive to change, consider talking with your pastor. Often when one partner stops making an effort, it’s due to underlying issues and not necessarily that they don’t value their spouse’s opinion. I’ll be praying for you!

  7. Came across this while doing a Bible study on marriage rules and looking fir some additional resources…Am I way off by thinking this sounds like
    just SO much vanity to me??
    I don’t get it. And no, I didnt go out of my way to look nice when we were dating, or engaged. Make an effort, yes. But go out of my way – do hair, makeup, wear a dress???? Our lifestyle(s) makes those things so impractical, it would be a joke. He would hint about clothes or hair or makeup, when we were dating but also knew I had zero time or money to make those things happen. After a few years of being married and having a more stable lifestyle and income, a few of those “looking nice” things are a little more doable, but he tells me not to, says he loves me as is, is still in love with me as the girl he dated.
    Are we just that bizarre???

    1. HI, Jessi – everyone is different. We are all created unique. The bottom line is that many people stop caring how they look after they are married. They stop making the effort they made when they were dating – that will look different for everyone. If you didn’t do your makeup or wear a dress before, I’m not saying that you should do it now. Unfortunately, many women and men make an effort when they are dating then revert to sweats and not caring as much later. You do what works for you and your husband. Praying for God’s favor in your life and marriage!

    2. No I almost always wore Jean’s and shirts.
      We both pretty much look homeless. I didn’t even have my hair done at my wedding. There is zero chance of me putting that much effort in even when I go out to work.

  8. I am relatively thin (BMI great). I watch what I eat and make a moderate effort every day. My husband still wants me to build muscle (like having a toned stomach, super athletic legs, etc) and says that it would make me a lot more attractive. I would like to clarify what you meant by this article, and whether that is okay? I feel inadequate 100% of the time, and that I can only reach his full desire/standard when I look like that.

    1. Hi, Slhamin -my post was not about women who do make the effort but who have husbands who have unrealistic expectations. (I believe those husbands are dealing with underlying issues). in this post, I am addressing wives who look sloppy, unkempt, etc. or, for reasons beyond health (ie: laziness) no longer make an effort to look presentable. I hope that makes sense. Thanks for stopping by.

  9. I’m young, single, and unmarried woman but I want to comment anyway. I LIKE looking good for myself, because to be honest, putting effort into how I look makes me feel good about myself. I feel happy when I dress up. There’s so many things I wanna tell you but I’m heading off to work. Just putting my two cents out there.

  10. God created men to be more visual. As much as I don’t like this it does not change the fact. It is good to exercise a bit and take care of ourselves. We are more productive and ready to take on the world. I also believe it is important to have a special evening or day with your husband were you could dress entirely for him. My pastor once thanked his wife for doing just that. If you are blessed with a husband why not enjoy it a bit more. Maybe someone can look after the kids and you can return the favor.

  11. I’m not married, but as a busy mom I often find myself hiding from the mirror because I’ve let myself go. Last night I was up way past my bedtime looking at beauty products and Instagram models. It was discouraging.

    I needed this post as a reminder that taking care of myself is important, BUT what matters most is my relationship with Christ. Thank you for this.

    1. You are so very welcome! As I said in the post, spending time with God is the best beauty treatment, but we should take care of our bodies that God gave us. I’ll be keeping you in prayer! God bless you!

  12. I wear leggings around the house. I look good in dark coloured leggings. I don’t color my hair. The way the grey is coming through looks quite flattering. Look, there a a lot of pressures on us women and blog posts like this one are to be taken with a pinch of salt.

  13. Totally agree with your article. My husband appreciates that I stay thin and dress in a feminine manner for him. But this has been very easy for me since I have always been very much a girly-girl and love to feel dolled up and cute. It does take some extra maintenance but luckily I am a SAHW so I have ample time for my salon appointments (my nails and toes must be on point , it’s one of my quirks lol.) When it comes to apparel I am very much a skirt and sandals girl. I will wear stockings in the fall/winter but always in a skirt. My husband fell in love with me looking like this and I feel it would be fraudulent to switch up on him later down the road. Again these kind of articles are needed right now. Thank you and bless you!

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