Coastal commented a boundless post on the fat, single Christian.
I’m actually not going to beat the dead horse but let previous posts of mine speak for that. The three big elephants in the Christian dating and marriage room, BMI, Overweight and attractiveness, Maximizing the chances of Christian women to find a spouse, and the most recent A lesson in false humility: Christians are allergic to healthy lifestyles.
My comments on Practical ways to improve your attractiveness and desirability for a Christian spouse have been removed before on Boundless. However, I threw up a comment over there in the theme of Women need flavor with food. We’ll see if they approve it.
Edit: just kidding… their login system sucks so I couldn’t even login to post. I’ve leave this comment here anyway. If someone wants to copy-pasta over there I don’t mind.
Let’s look at this from the different perspective.
Should a Christian man with no job, no ambition, who is mooching off his parents, playing video games all day, and dresses shabbily with poor hygiene reasonably expect that he will be attractive to women and go on a date with one?
Of course, the obvious answer is no. There’s a reason why this is a ‘trope’ for an unattractive man.
The modern Church has done both Christian men and Christian women a disservice by lying or deceiving (or maybe those words are too harsh?) us about what is attractive to men and women. Hint: it’s not godliness and/or character. If it were, Paul would not have had to tell the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 6 to marry believers and not unbelievers. If godliness and good character were attractive, everyone would be attracted to Christians. That’s clearly false.
What are men and women attracted to? Women are attracted to confident, ambitious, successful leaders. Men are attracted to physical beauty. That they are ‘Christian’ is a qualifier. Paul states in 1 Corinthians 7 the only reason given in the NT to marry: “it is better to marry than to burn.” What do men and women burn for? The traits listed above in this paragraph.
Genesis 1 provides the framework. Genesis 1:8 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the [al]sky and over every living thing that [am]moves on the earth. The commands of God are directly related to what we find attractive. Woman was created (Gen 2) as man’s helpmeet and to help man multiply in the earth. Beauty is a proxy for healthiness and fertility. Men were commanded to rule and subdue the earth: hence, confident, ambitious, successful leaders are likely to do that.
The Scriptures are clear that men are attracted to physical beauty, and that it often gets them into trouble. In Song of Songs, Solomon lauds the Shulamite’s beauty the entire book without mentioning her character once. Solomon got himself in trouble with worshiping other gods because of his large harem. The story of Abraham and Pharaoh and Abimelech where Sarah is so beautiful that other men covet her. David and Bathsheba. A large chunk of Proverbs is devoted to warning about beautiful but deceitful women. Beauty is what attracts men, but beauty without character and godliness destroy men.
Likewise, it’s no surprise that Scripture tells men that they are to be Protectors and Providers for their wives and families. An ambitious, successful husband can easily provide for his family such as in 1 Timothy 5:8. A confident leader won’t back down from Protecting his wife when necessary or sacrificing himself as Jesus did for us. He will also be able to lead his family well such as described in Ephesians 5.
The problem, from what I’ve seen, is not solely that the modern Church parrots false narratives about what is attractive to both men and women. That is definitely harmful. However, there is the issue that makes it seem like godliness is mutually exclusive with the traits that attract the opposite sex. For example, beauty is somehow mutually exclusive with godliness, which 1 Pet 3 does not say at all. Another example is that a successful, ambitious man may be looked on as ‘too worldly’ because money is evil when it is the love of money that is evil in 1 Tim 6. This is a problem because these things are false. You can be beautiful and godly. You can be a confident, ambitious, and successful Christian leader.
We need to do a better job coming alongside those who are struggling to tell them the truth in love and giving them encouragement and support to help them develop the traits that the opposite sex wants in a mate.
After all, if you meet your perceived ideal spouse today will they want to be with you? Are you their ideal spouse? If not, what can we do as Christians to help each other get there instead of giving mindless platitudes about how you’re good just the way you are or shuffling it under the rug.
How can we help you lose weight? How can we help you workout and become more fit? How can we help you dress better? How can we help you be more successful? How can we help you learn to be a better leader? What dreams and goals have you put on the backburner? How can we help you pursue them?
Of course, the first step is always if the person in question wants to change.
In general, I’m quite dubious of what it actually means to ‘speak the Truth in love’ to Christians like that because they claim anything that ‘hurts their feelings’ as unloving. I gave it my best shot.
The issues on beauty and obesity preventing a good discussion
Instead of beating the dead horse let’s explore the different issues instead.
What are the issues? I think it’s a combination of a lot of different things:
- Beauty standards — Women are inborn with wanting to be physically beautiful for a reason. After all, it’s a good thing that a wife is attractive for her husband. The problem occurs is if women want to be beautiful for vanity via grabbing attention, power, or other men not-her-husband. Unfortunately, most Christians believe that beauty is just vain and has no purpose otherwise.
- Reality denial — this can be seen by those who call beauty shallow or those who claim beauty is subjective or a cultural construct. These are two sides of the same deception coin aimed at placating feelings at the expense of the Truth. Beauty is minimized as something that is not good, even when everything they’re saying states otherwise. After all, if fat is fine and healthy then why do you have to write long posts to convince yourself and others?
- Churchian deception — this is the Christian ought trap where godliness is good so it should be attractive, or a woman’s feeling evaluates how well a husband is leading, or women are more spiritual than men. In this case, godliness or personality or other things that women want to be attractive take the place of beauty.
- Victim mentality — Other people should change to fit me rather than working on myself. That’s somewhat of a crass way to put it, but Christianity is an inside-out change religion. Other people around you don’t change… you change because you’re God’s disciple which God can use to change other people.
All of these different things prevent a good discussion because people who overweight or obese don’t want to do anything about it but still complain that they aren’t beautiful. They put down beauty standards, they deny reality and want beauty to conform to them or have other traits be beautiful, they believe Churchian lies that godliness not beauty is attractive, and they paint themselves a victim and no one wants to come off as if they’re ‘blaming the victim.’
The majority of Christian men and women are unattractive. That’s the sad state of affairs.
‘Things that no one wants to hear’ for $1000, Alex. And ‘Things that no one wants to do anything about’ for $2000, Alex. Oh, daily double? I’d like to risk it all.
Any others I missed?
What can we do about it? Well, A detailed timeline and how to guide on the process of finding a wife is a good start for men. I linked some practical advice above that I wrote a while ago for both sexes too.
The second thing I actually wanted to talk about is actually part of one of the comments of the article:
Thank you for sharing. I have in fact found that Christian men are pickier about physical appearance than nonChristian men. At least any of the ones that talk to me. And I am not even what our society defines as fat, but possibly slightly underweight. I regularly get asked out by nonChristians who just met me and are distracted by my physical beauty (apparently, so they claim, and some I can’t even easily get rid of), and I have had several Christian men tell others or me to my face that they like everything about me and would consider me worth being their best friend, except they don’t find me attractive physically, and I have even had Christians (male and female) tell me I will not get married because I’m too skinny, and I have had many people criticize many aspects of my physical appearance, including some aspects that other people find gorgeous.
I wrote about how Christian women do this as well last year.
I believe this pickiness from both sides is rightfully placed, at least until you’re pricing yourself out of the market.
Non-Christians will tend to hook up or date and have sex and then decide if they want to be together for a while or not. When they do get married, their divorce rates are higher because of cohabitation and pre-marital sex. Their standards are indeed a bit lower when this is the case because they don’t care as much about the attractiveness or character of the other individual since they assume that even if it doesn’t work out they can move on.
Generally speaking, if you’re a Christian and believe that marriage is forever then of course you want a good deal. Your standards for who you are going to spend the rest of your life with are going to be higher. Anyone who you ask out or date you want to already know that they meet your criteria so you’re not wasting your time and they’re not wasting their time.
It’s no secret that the more ‘attractive’ you are the more you can be ‘picky.’ Pickiness — or shall we say discernment — is often given a bad rap by Christians when it’s not anything sinful. Most of the time, beyond the attractive characteristics such as beauty or confident, successful, ambitious leader, most of the qualifying characteristics such as being a Christian, virginity, godliness, character are good things that you’re going to look for. If you can find a woman or man who exhibits these godly characteristics in greater quantities it is likely that you’ll have a stronger marriage because the foundation is stronger.
This is a feature of a market and not a bug as well. Any time you add more qualifiers such as Christian, good character, godliness, kind, good father, good mother, and such you decrease the potential pool of candidates.
Basically, discernment is reframed as pickiness and something bad just like those who want beauty have their standards reframed as shallow.