This story came from the book, Why I Don't Hide My Freckles Anymore: Perspectives on True Beauty. Reposted here with permission.
Six months after our wedding, my husband and I gingerly approached a topic that was becoming obvious to both of us—he was not physically attracted to me.
No, he was not gay. He was, however, embarrassed to be discussing with me feelings he didn’t have for me. He felt shallow and ashamed. He was still certain I was the very best choice for a life companion, but he had never really thought of me as attractive.
There it was: hard evidence that I was not beautiful.
I was angry and hurt. How could the one man I chose out of the whole word—the one who chose me—tell me he was not attracted to me?
I couldn’t stop thinking about it. In the mornings when I got out of bed, I felt especially unattractive. When I chose what to wear, I worried that the wrong outfit might make him turn away from me. I wondered if bad hair might generate feelings of frustration in my husband, who wanted to be attracted to me. I craved being beautiful to him, and I worried that this problem was somehow my fault.
Not surprisingly, my confidence tanked as I started to realize I might never be attractive enough for him, no matter how hard I tried. My personality started hiding, sinking deep inside of me, out of range. We talked about divorce, but neither of us really wanted that. I think we both were hoping that some miracle would come along and make me attractive to him.
A miracle did happen. But it had nothing to do with what my husband thought about me.
During this time of deep pain and insecurity, I finally realized that I was looking in the mirror in my bedroom and the mirror in my husband’s eyes instead of the mirror inside my heart. At some point, I remembered there was another mirror, and I took a long look at myself. Down deep inside me, a voice reassured me that I was actually beautiful enough. Strength I had forgotten welled up in me, and I knew that what my husband thought about my attractiveness was not all that important. I could value him without taking on his weaknesses, including his inability to see my beauty.
Something changed in me that day. I wanted to keep that strength with me, and I knew I would have to choose to believe in my beauty, even if no one else did. I prayed to overcome self-defeating thoughts, to avoid hatred, anger, and jealousy, which always bring self-doubt. I quit blaming my husband for his blindness and began being good to myself. That is my miracle.
And although it doesn’t change a thing, I just want to mention that last week, my husband began to cry. He apologized for how he felt about me at the beginning of our marriage. He says he has discovered that I really am beautiful. The problem was inside him. He can’t believe he said those things to me. He says he thinks I am the most beautiful woman he knows.
And I already knew that.
Women today are bombarded by harmful messages in society about their bodies and appearance. But Why I Don't Hide My Freckles Anymore: Perspectives on True Beauty tries to combat those negative messages. We often feel inadequate and overwhelmed by the impossible-to-achieve ideals touted in the media. And sometimes our harshest critics are the eyes looking back at us in the mirror. No matter the source, when our image of personal beauty is threatened, it's important to remember who the rightful beholder of true beauty is—our Heavenly Father.