Monday, August 19, 2013

My Weight Made Him Stray

I have written before about the lies that we, as women, believe about ourselves.  This lie hits very close to home for me, as I have battled gaining then losing, gaining and losing again, over and over again.  And recently, I have been hearing these same sentiments from other women lately and I just can't let it go without writing my thoughts on it.

Here is the lie:

If only I hadn't gained all of this weight, then my husband would want me.

Or what about this one:

If I were as thin as the women my husband sees in the pornographic films or pictures online, then he would not have left me.

Or this:

If only I had kept my pre-marriage/pre-baby figure, then my husband wouldn't have needed to have an affair.

Ladies, listen up!  This is important!  For MOST men, your weight has absolutely nothing to do with the choices he has made to have an affair, become steeped in pornography addiction, or pulled away from you emotionally.

If I had read this even two years ago, I would have had trouble believing my words.  Because back then, I didn't understand.  I didn't know who I was, or what defined me.  I thought it was my looks and my weight that determined how my husband viewed me.  Even though my husband (when I would press for any kind of affirmation throughout our marriage) would tell me he thought I was pretty or say that I wasn't fat, I knew better.  Because what I saw in the mirror was anything but beautiful and thin.

Before and during the affair, I used to have to beg my husband for compliments.  Regarding my looks, my ability as a mother, my worthiness as a wife.  For whatever reason, my husband struggled to use his words to compliment me.  I had another man telling me that I was beautiful and wanted, and I STILL needed my husband to reassure me.

One night, a night I will likely never forget, I was feeling really down.  Kris was still steeped in addiction, and I was weary from hiding a double life.  And yet, something in me longed to hear my husband affirm me.  It didn't matter that someone else was telling me the things I had longed to hear for over a decade.  I wanted my husband to tell me those things.

I wanted my husband to want me.

To think that I was the most beautiful woman in the world, no questions asked, no need to think about it.

Let's face it.  Every woman wants a man who thinks that she is most beautiful person in the world TO HIM.  I tried to express this to Kris that night (like many other nights), in a desperate attempt to explain how much I needed him to speak words of encouragement to me, specifically regarding my physical appearance.  I think that I believed if he would just give me that, I would be able to walk away from the affair.  

And I don't intend to say that my desire to hear these things is the way it should be.  I realize now that I was placing unrealistic expectations on my husband.  I was begging him to give me something that ultimately would not bring me the fulfillment I thought it would.  In retrospect, this comes as no surprise to me.  After all, I was begging my husband to fulfill that need in me that someone else was already giving to me.  That's messed up!

Because I didn't understand that only God could fill that void deep in my heart. I was still expecting my husband to do what only God could.

That night, my husband's intellect, mixed with a very skewed view of women, got the better of him.  Instead of telling me that I was the most beautiful woman in his eyes, he essentially told me I wasn't.  It wasn't in those exact words, but he spent what seemed like an hour talking to me about how different women are beautiful in different ways, and he never did set me up above those beautiful women.  If anything, I was only on the same level with them, if even that.

I was so hurt.  And I just knew that ultimately, it was my weight that forced him to look at pornography.  I believed that my weight must be disgusting to him and he couldn't possibly see me as beautiful, because the women on the internet are near perfection.

Oh how wrong I was.  It was never about the other women.  It was about a need for Kris to relax or forget about work for a while, or the desire to give in to the temptation just for sake of seeing those images one more time.  It never had anything to do with me or my weight, or any other character flaw that I had.  Kris' choice to look at pornography was not a direct result of my weight, or even my actions as a wife in general.

Throughout our recovery, I have watched as my husband's mind has been purged of the improper images that filled it for so many year.  Having his mind cleansed has allowed Kris to see me.  To really see ME.  One night, shortly after I came home, we were laying in bed.  He looked down at me and said "You were there the whole time."  It was like these blinders came off and he was able to see me for the first time, and realize that I had been there all along.  And if you ask my husband now (I just did!) if he thinks I am the most beautiful woman in the world (depending on the world-thank you Flight of the Conchords), he will be quick to reply enthusiastically, "Yes!"

Furthermore, he compliments me now.  He makes me believe that he wants me and that he sees me as beautiful.  He assures me, because I ask more than I should, that he loves me just the way I am, regardless of my weight.  And Kris is not one to say something just to appease anyone.  He's honest.  And I believe him now.

But I don't believe him simply because he is more vocal.  I believe him because I have learned that my worth isn't found in his eyes.  Do the compliments help?  Absolutely!  But what really matters is understanding that I have value in God's eyes.  God doesn't see my face.  He doesn't see my weight that has fluctuated for the last 15 years.  Do you know what God sees?

God sees my heart.

And that's all that matters.

I know that some of you reading this really struggle with this.  Some of you have been told by spouses that you aren't giving them what they need, or you have put on too much weight and that is why they can't remain faithful to you.  Some of you have been told your entire life that you are overweight, or criticize yourselves because you feel guilt and shame regarding the weight you have put on.  I know.  I have been there.

But there is a truth you need hear, and that you need to speak when those lies come.

You are a beautiful creation.

You are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Your face, your shape, your weight--none of it matters in the shadow of the Cross and just how much God loves and cares for you.  I have heard the song "Life Me Up" by The Afters many times.  It wasn't until this weekend, however, that I watched the video.  It was very moving, and it speaks to lies that we believe about ourselves.  And the end is just so beautiful, as the lies are washed away and replaced with truth.

Don't struggle through life hating your face, your hair, your nose, your weight, or any other physical aspect.  God has created you in HIS image, and He calls you beautiful.  Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.  THAT is what matters.

Also in this series:
Lies Women Believe - Introduction
Lies Women Believe - Mom Guilt: I'm A Failure


  1. Wow. Jaime. Wow. My weight does give me issues with self esteem. I am working on that. I am one who cannot think my husband would not have left if I was thinner because the woman he is with is not thinner than me. At all. That wreaks havoc on my self esteem in a whole other way. But I KNOW my worth is found in God, and how much He loves me. Thank you so much for posting from your heart. You are so encouraging to me.

    1. Thank you for reading along and commenting. I'm so glad that you have found your worth in God. I spent 33 years not understanding this, and it has changed everything for me, now that I know!

  2. Sure men are about what they see, but for all but the most immature men it is so low down on the list that it had no real impact.

    When a man starts complaining about how his wife looks, he is:

    1) Showing his lack of maturity.
    2) Looking for an excuse to treat his wife poorly.
    3) Looking for an excuse for his past, current or future sin.
    4) Two or all of the above.

    1. Hey Paul! Thanks for stopping by and giving a man's input on the topic! I really appreciate it.

  3. I know that I am created in God's image and that He loves me but it still hurts to know my husband doesn't see me that way. I crave someone with skin on to think I'm beautiful.

    1. For 33 years I knew those things too. I was raised in the church, and even knew that I shouldn't find my value in my husband's eyes. For a very long time, I didn't know HOW to really see myself the way God saw me. I wanted my husband to give me that emotional gratification that you are longing for, and because I became so consumed by it, I chose all the wrong ways to try to fill that longing. All I know now is that in order to really see yourself as God sees you and to stop hurting because your husband doesn't see you that way/express it to you, you have to accept that God's word is true. Not just the Bible...but specifically what he says about YOU. If you focus on what God sees, and not what your husband sees, and you take captive the thoughts that say "I want my husband to see me that way" God can then work and help you to see beyond the hurt. God is enough. He was enough all along. It just took me 33 years to understand that. There is a difference, I found, between knowing something, and really believing it. Belief is what made all the difference for me. That's not to say I don't still struggle-but now when I think about how I want my husband to think I'm beautiful (because I do still struggle at times), I try to take those thoughts captive and put my focus back on God saying "God, take these thoughts, because I know that my worth and value and beauty isn't found in what my husband sees, but in who you say that I am." And God has been, and will continue to be, faithful.

  4. This is my story. We are still struggling from an affair I had and a, pornography addiction with him. How did you get past the affair? How did your husband recover from it? Thank you for sharing this personal part of your marriage so others can grow from it

    1. I got past the affair only through the grace of God. It has been a hard road, and a journey I am still on. Some days are easier than others. My husband-his recovery from the affair hasn't been as difficult as his journey living free from the bonds of pornography addiction. Every day is a battle. But we are fighting together now, on the same team. It is a battle that we are now equipped to handle, because we know who is fighting the battle for us, and who the real enemy is. We go to marriage counseling regularly still, a year and a half later.

  5. Thanks for sharing Jamie. I know I need to hear this and I think there are others who can use this encouragement.

    1. Thanks for reading along. It is a message that I needed to remind myself of too!

  6. Hi Jamie. Thank you so much for sharing your heart so openly. This post was the most clicked on at last week's Wisdom Wednesday. I will be sharing it today on my Facebook Page. I hope you'll swing by and link up again today. Blessings!

    1. Thanks Misty! I hope to have something written by the end of the day to link up. We'll see how the day goes!