Love Bestows Loveliness

There is nothing wrong with wanting a lovely garden; there is a great deal of folly in wanting a lovely garden that will tend and keep itself. The Bible teaches that a Christian husband is responsible for the loveliness of his wife. Before she is married, her father is responsible for that loveliness. When she marries, her husband assumes this responsibility. The husband’s example in this loving is Jesus Christ.

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, That He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:25-27).

God therefore requires husbands to love their wives with effect

I will discuss the importance of inward beauty … But because we live in a culture that is obsessed with external beauty, Christians have sometimes reacted and thought that any consideration of physical beauty is “worldly,” and that Christians should be concerned solely with spiritual qualities … But in fact, this is not spiritual Christianity at all … it is Gnostic disparagement of the material world …

A brief consideration of many scriptural passages demonstrates that there is such a thing as feminine beauty.

Abraham, for example had a beautiful wife.

“… He said unto Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that thou art a fair [beautiful] woman to look upon” (Genesis 12:11).

Isaac also married a beautiful woman:

“And the damsel was very fair [beautiful] to look upon” (Genesis 24:16).

Jacob also loved a beautiful woman.

“Rachel was beautiful and well favoured” (Genesis 29:17).

When husbands undertake the assigned responsibility of loving their wives in such a way that they grow in loveliness, they need to understand that the results will be visible. This does not mean that, with the right husband, all women could be equally beautiful. Some women have the advantage of a greater natural beauty, and others had exceptional fathers – men who treated their daughters right. But it does mean that a man who marries biblically should expect his wife to be visibly lovelier on their tenth anniversary – and if she is not, he knows he is the one responsible. But as the one responsible, he has to know where true beauty begins.

Douglas Wilson
Reforming Marriage, pages 53-57

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