“I’m tired of all this nonsense about beauty being only skin-deep. That’s deep enough. What do you want – an adorable pancreas?”
-Jean Kerr, The Snake Has All the Lines

To be quite honest, I don’t care what anyone else has to say about beauty. All that matters is that I am beautiful to my man. Because I am his beauty. He is my mirror. No one else matters.

Yet, while I look to my man to see my reflection, I am a reflection on him as well. I do not want to appear badly to others, and thus reflect negatively upon him, upon his choice for a bride. I try to dress tastefully, yet I know I will never please the majority. I try to act pleasantly, yet someone may always misunderstand. So my best crowd-pleaser is a cheerful smile. They may think Merritt’s girl has a strange sense of style, but they can at least know I am happy in his love, happy to be his girl.

“I’ve never seen a smiling face that was not beautiful.”
-Unknown

It has been said that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” and nothing has ever shown me that so clearly as having a man love me. He thinks I am beautiful when I first get up in the morning. He thinks I am beautiful with no makeup. He even thinks I’m still beautiful at the end of a very long day. He doesn’t love me because I am beautiful. I am beautiful to him because he loves me.

“I don’t like standard beauty – there is no beauty without strangeness.”
-Karl Lagerfeld

While anything is “in” these days, I want my closet to reflect not what’s in, but what my man wants to see on me. He gives me lots of compliments on my cute summer skirts, but he’s quite partial to my Levi’s. He likes my hair short. And he loves me in pink and blue.Two summers ago, I found a pink shirt at JC Penney. Merritt told me over and over and over again how much he liked it. Since then, I’ve kept my eye out for any more pink shirts that will actually go with my red hair. And of course, his favorite color is blue, the one color I never used to wear. “It goes with your blue eyes,” he said. Since that discovery, I have kept my eye out for cute blue shirts at GoodWill. Now my family comments on how frequently I wear the color. But you know what? Merritt adores blue on me. And so I wear it as often as I can, just for him.

“Plainness has its peculiar temptations quite as much as beauty.”
-George Eliot

Every time Merritt comes upon me putting on makeup, he asks, “Why are you doing that? You don’t need it!” It’s really nice to be marrying a man who likes me in my natural, freckled, pale-skinned, pimpled state. But he wants me to feel good about myself, to feel beautiful even when I look in the mirror on the wall instead of the mirror of his eyes. So I have the freedom to wear makeup on the days I feel like “the barn needs painting,” and skip it on the days I don’t.

“As we grow old, the beauty steals inward.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

While I was out shopping on Monday, my cell phone rang. “This is your reminder to eat lunch,” said the dearest voice in the world. I am thankful that my man wants me to be beautifully healthy, not perfectly skinny. He is always reminding me to eat, but he never thinks I have enough fat on my bones. I have an idea that with years, this will change. But I don’t ever want to be too heavy to sit on his lap.

“Beauty is indeed a good gift of God;
but that the good may not think it a great good,
God dispenses it even to the wicked.”
-Saint Augustine

Beauty cannot be defined, for beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Beauty cannot be bought, for beauty is not something we put on. Beauty cannot be earned, for beauty is not a reward. Beauty can only be appreciated. And, I think, love is beauty’s most ardent admirer.For to him, and him only, am I truly, completely beautiful. Because love is blind.Thus, even when I’m old, grey, wrinkled, and pudgy, I will still look into the mirror of his eyes and see the adoration reflected there and know that I am, forever and for always, his beauty.

“I hope you have lost your good looks, for while they last any fool can adore you, and the adoration of fools is bad for the soul. No, give me a ruined complexion and a lost figure and sixteen chins on a farmyard of crow’s feet and an obvious wig. Then you shall see me coming out strong.”
-George Bernard Shaw, to Mrs. Patrick Campbell

45 Comments

  1. Avatar Elizabeth says:

    What a beautiful post! I loved reading it and it will be one I come back to again and again. Such an encouragement for those of us who are unmarried not to focus fleeting, physical beauty. Thank you so much, Gretchen!

  2. Thanks for the reminder. I need it often. One way that I do remind myself to search for my inner beauty rather than concentrating on the outward, is to put away all my make up AND my jewellery for the season of lent each year (one year I went so far as to remove the mirrors from our house, but that annoyed my husband! So now I resort to posting 1 Peter 3:3&4 on them). On the first week, it’s HARD. But by day forty, I feel better about myself as a person and a child of God. I encourage anyone who reads this to try the same!

  3. This has been by far my favorite post for the six years I’ve been following the fellowship. I was delighted to see you posted it again. I even reread all the old comments!
    May I one day have a love like yours, beautiful!!!

  4. I just loved your post! I can’t wait for someone (someday) to look at me that way.

  5. Last February this post inspired and amazing conversation between myself and a girl a few years younger than me while on a high school youth group ski retreat. We talked on the ski lifts and even on the way down the hill because we were so excited. We talked about the concepts and also applied them to God and how we should “look nice” in our deeds and personality in order to reflect Him. It was wonderful. Thank you so much for posting it again!

  6. This is one of the old articles that I’ve saved to go back and re-read on occasion, so thank you so much for posting it again.

    Everything you’ve said really resonates with me. Though I would say that the cause isn’t so much that love is blind as that it really sees.

    G.K. Chesterton (I’ve noticed I post a lot of his stuff in my comments πŸ˜‰ ) wrote this love poem to his gray-haired wife while she was still young and red-headed:

    A wan new garment of young green,
    Touched, as you turned your soft brown hair;
    And in me surged the strangest prayer
    Ever in lover’s heart hath been.

    That I who saw your youth’s bright page,
    A rainbow change from robe to robe,
    Might see you on this earthly globe,
    Crowned with the silver crown of age.

    Your dear hair powdered in strange guise,
    Your dear face touched with colours pale,
    And gazing through the mask and veil
    The mirth of your immortal eyes.

  7. Avatar Sammybunny says:

    what a truly beautiful post. I loved it and sent it to my beau because this is exactly how he makes me feel. :o)

  8. Avatar This Girl says:

    I’m still in high school, but my friend always wears very pretty, fashionable modest clothing. (I’m not sure how, since most of the stores around here are . . .gross!) But I’ve heard boys comment to each other on how pretty she is, while other girls are wearing unflattering immodest of just plain frumpy clothes.

  9. Such a wonderful post. As always, your picture was gorgeous. You and Merritt are the cutest couple!!!! πŸ™‚ And much of that is because of your love for the Lord and each other makes you both glow. πŸ™‚ Have a great day…

  10. That was wonderful, Gretchen; a beautiful description of true beauty! This site is such a blessing; it’s like a breath of fresh air to come here and have this kind of Godly fellowship (even over the internet:) )! Thank you so much!

  11. Avatar Anonymous says:

    your love make’s your writing lovely.

  12. Avatar Anonymous says:

    That was refreshing, Gretchen. It also makes me so happy when I read of men who desire to lift up their wives (or β€œalmost” wives :-)) in such a manner, to help them feel supported and wonderful about who they are. What a lovely foundation for marriage!

    – leslie

  13. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Gretchen,

    what a beautiful post!!! Thank you for the reminders! This is by far my favorite post!!!

    I pray that I will have inward beauty as well as outward!

    God Bless!

    HLH

  14. Avatar Jennifer Miles says:

    Gretchen…

    Thank you so much! It’s a wonderful, beautiful, absolutely true message that we all need! I have been so overwhelmingly blessed by my husband’s adoration of my “beauty” (very much in the eye of the beholder!!), and am still learning to accept and believe it, even as I delight in his sincere love and devotion and heartfelt compliments. What a joy! πŸ™‚

  15. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Reminds me of the song in Cinderella “Do I love you because you’re beautiful, or are you beautiful because I love you? Do I want you because you’re wonderful, or are you wonderful because I want you?”

    Great post Gretchen!

  16. Praise the Lord! I recently came upon this site and have found it to be such an encouragement. I actually came close to tears while reading it. As an eighteen-year-old girl who has struggled with wanting to be “outwardly beautiful” while inwardly radiant, it was just what I needed to hear. Thank you for a great article!

  17. Beautiful post, Gretchen. I loved this: “He doesn’t love me because I am beautiful. I am beautiful to him because he loves me.” So utterly true. πŸ™‚

  18. Gretchen, what a beautiful and encouraging post:-) How true it is that we can’t please everyone, (though we as humans are so often tempted to try, all in vain!) Your post was a refreshing reminder to me.

  19. Avatar DelightinginHim says:

    That is beautiful! I am surprised you never really wore blue before, I love blue and think it is dashing with red hair. =)
    You really made me think…if we don’t see ourselves as beautiful but someone else tells us we are and they adore us the way we are then it doesn’t really matter. And it doesn’t matter what the world thinks, just what God and our family/friends think.

  20. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Beautiful post, Gretchen! (Another one to add to the list of my favorites!) The picture of you two is adorable!:)

    Haha!! Pink and blue are my favorite colors too! However, one season I ended up with ALL pink and blue clothes!! So now, I’m adding some other colors to my clothes. (The new color this year was spring green.)

    I agree with an anonymous writer who said that curly hair looks great however you decide to wear it! (I’m a “curly girl” myself:)) However, I’m growing mine out, because I’m tired of having short hair. I want to be able to do more things with it. (Not to mention that my parents like my hair longer:).)

    ~Allison

  21. That was beautiful, Gretchen!

  22. Avatar Gretchen Louise says:

    Thank you all for your sweet comments…

    A.M., my denim jacket is from Gap. πŸ™‚

    Tabitha, great point. As I’ve written previously, Merritt’s love for me is such a picture to me of Christ’s love, that to please one is to please the Other. As Merritt told me recently, “Remember that there are two who love you more than you’ll ever know, God and me.” But while Merritt’s love is human, God’s is unfailing; while Merritt may see Heaven’s gates before I do, my Lord will always be there. Yet through Merritt’s love, human though it is, I have learned more about God’s love than ever before…

  23. Avatar Anonymous says:

    btw, I’m still working hard at learning this lesson~Tabitha

  24. Avatar Anonymous says:

    I too loved your post Gretchen, so please don’t think I’m at all against what you have to say. I just want to point out that yes, when you have a man, you should definantly strive to be pleasing in his eyes. However…Our sense of worth and beauty ultimatly needs to come from the Lord. (I know that you know that I’m just reminding all us single girls.) If your sense of worth comes from the Lord, then no matter if He never brings you a man, or if you do marry, but your man (God forbid!) leaves you for another, your sense of worth is still secure in the hands of the One who created your beauty. I know people (mostly unsaved) whose husbands left them and they have never been able to come out of the damage it did to their self-worth. Hope this makes sense. Again, I’m not disagreeing, just commenting on the other side of the coin. And I also LOVE that picture of you guys. That tree-lined path is a beautiful backdrop for a very cute couple!
    Tabitha

  25. Avatar Owen Family says:

    That post just about made me cry! I loved it, Gretchen!

    ~Chelsea

  26. Aw, Gretchen, this is indeed the sweetest post! My cowboy tells me many of the same things your farmer does–he frequently reminds me that I look beautiful to him without makeup, and while he always likes my cute skirts, he loves me in jeans and a cute shirt(preferably Wranglers, although I had never worn them before I met him :)). I tend to wear quite a bit of blue, purple and pink, being that he always seems to like my “girly color” clothes. On the other hand, he vehemently does not like anything close to the drab, military green he wears to work every day, so I’m sure to stay as far from that color as I can! But I think the best thing for me has been in these past few weeks, when I catch him looking so lovingly at me holding our new baby, and I know that I may look far from perfect, having had a baby four weeks ago, but he sees all of it and still tells me I’m beautiful to him. As you so aptly put it, He doesn’t love me because I am beautiful. I am beautiful to him because he loves me.

  27. Gretchen, I do not read this site very often… In fact my sister, Kelc reads it more, but this post really touched me. I hadn’t ever thought of that in that way, but it makes perfect sense… I can see that portrayed in my mother and in another girl I am really close to,… but I think that after reading your post and then reading what Melody said, “Right now I am the Lord’s “beauty” only.”
    I think this made the biggest impact… one of my tendencies is to usually shy away from articles like this, because I don’t want to deal with fleshly pain of “waiting”… and yet how much more important is it for me to realyze…. that I should relax in knowing that I am the Lord’s beauty right now, and to be content in that! Thank you Gretchen and thank you Melody!
    Kallie

  28. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Awww…the picture is SO beautiful, Gretchen! You two even look made for eachother. πŸ™‚ Thanks so much for the post…it’s so beautiful; one of my favorites, I think. Everything you said is so true. BTW, I really liked the quotes! I’m so happy for you and your man…I know you’ll make a great farmer’s wife. πŸ™‚

    ~Brianna C.

  29. Avatar Rachel K. says:

    I hope you two know what an adorable couple you make. πŸ˜€

  30. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Thanks so much for this post! I am not a very conservative person but am currently weighing whether God is calling me towards a more conservative style of dress/life. Many things I have read on this subject come across as negative and in your face. You, however, focused on the positive w/out condemning others’ choices, and therefore convinced me better than anything else I have read.

  31. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Gretchen, once again…you have out done yourself! Great job on this post…I must agree with you I prefer to be beutiful to my man…I love the way you made this statement: “He doesn’t love me because I am beautiful. I am beautiful to him because he loves me.”

    I love letting him be my mirror! When I let him be my mirror it then frees me to be who God wants me to be because my security is not resting in and of myself…it rests on what God and my man says are important! Thank you so much, for all the encouragement!

    God Bless

  32. This post was outstanding, Gretchen. Thank you so much. One thing that I’m “looking for” in a man is that he will think I’m beautiful. The quotes are perfect, too!

  33. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Awww… sweetheart, I’m so happy for you!

  34. Gretchen, that post was one of the most beautiful yet. Absolutely beautiful. Thank you so so much! It is was such a blessing to read. :o)

  35. What a beautiful post Gretchen. I 100% understand where your coming from here. Learning that my love sees me as truly and completely beautiful has been the most amazing experience. Lord knows sometimes I wonder why he would, but what an incredible earthly vision of the love Christ has for us.
    Christ views us this very same way, that we are completely and utterly beautiful, perfect just the way we are. And if we could finally grasp that, I think we would see not only the view of our own bodies and images change, but our views of others.

    God bless!

    ~Katie

  36. “To be quite honest, I don’t care what anyone else has to say about beauty. All that matters is that I am beautiful to my man.”

    I think that is the crux of beauty for us. After modesty, our choice in clothes should be based on what pleases “our men.” Whether it is a father and brothers or whether we have “our man” to please.

    Have you ever heard that song that declares something along the lines of, “Can’t please everybody, so I guess I’ll just please myself.” Wrong as the conclusion is, the premise is sound. We can’t please everyone…so we must choose who we’re going to please. And biblically, that is going to be first the Lord, by modesty, and then our “man”–whoever he may be =)

  37. Sometimes I forget that the Lord does have a joyful future planned. This was such a wonderful reminder that He really does!
    Thank you for sharing such beautiful pieces of your story, Gretchen.
    I hope that my someday my story will be as much a blessing to others as yours has been to me!

    Right now I am the Lord’s “beauty” only… but I am certainly looking forward to the day when I will be my man’s also! πŸ™‚

  38. there is no beauty without strangeness

    *snicker* Well… I have that characteristic at least. πŸ˜‰ I think I like that quote.

    I agree with the above young ladies. What a gorgeous post!

  39. Avatar Rebecca's Corner says:

    Your post was like a breath of fresh spring air and the perfect blue sky! Simply inspiring.

  40. Avatar Rebecca's Corner says:

    Your post was like a breath of fresh spring air and the perfect blue sky! Simply inspiring.

  41. Avatar Rebecca's Corner says:

    Your post was like a breath of fresh spring air and the perfect blue sky! Simply inspiring.

  42. Cute post, Gretchen!

    Where did you get your denim jacket? I really like it.

  43. THAT was a beautiful post! I hope one day, when the Lord so pleases to reveal His Chosen for me, that I will be as blesses with him as you are with your man. I will miss hearing about your life with your man when you get married, but God has great things planned for you.

    I, too hope for a John Doe on a John Deer… a godly country man :)… *swoon*

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