I have heard time and time again that men and women tend to “let themselves go,” after getting married. Everyone has an opinion about why this happens and what it means to the quality of a marriage, and it’s really hard to determine how much it impacts a marriage.
And the thing is, it can happen to the best of us. It creeps up without notice.
I have to admit that I have changed since I got married. I don’t think I have completely let myself go, but I do pay less attention to my looks than I once did. My excuse? It’s two kids, being pregnant with my third, caring for an aging parent, and trying my best to be a successful entrepreneur—these all have something to do with it. If I have to choose between hooking my hair up or getting my mom to a medical appointment on time, my hair loses every time.
But does this mean I don’t care about how I look? It doesn’t. I do care, but I have to be realistic about how much I can handle on any given day. And I also have to determine what my priorities are on any given day. Sometimes I workout, get my hair done, throw on some lip gloss and get an outfit on that I actually love. But some days just don’t work out that way and I have more of those days than I care to admit.
Some would argue that if you fail to make an effort to take care of your looks, your marriage suffers. After all, who wants to look over at the person you married, only to realize that you don’t recognize them anymore? And trust me, I get it. I understand that physical attraction is an important part of any intimate relationship.
But how much should it matter? Does your spouse have the right to step out on you or neglect your needs because you don’t look fly every day? Do you deserve to be criticized because you put on some weight?
I say “HELL NO.” I think part of marriage is hanging on to each other during life’s ups and downs, regardless of appearance. I would hope my husband knows that some days are downright hard, and looking like a million bucks when I have 101 things to do just isn’t reasonable. I also hope he’s intuitive enough to know that if I look tired and unhealthy I probably am, and I need some more help.
However, I also think that completely letting go of who you are or what makes you feel and look good is unhealthy for YOU. You have to make an effort. If your marriage is in serious trouble, I don’t think changing up your appearance will save your partnership. It’s rarely that simple. But I do believe that if you look good—even if it’s only sometimes—it has an impact on how you feel and how you interact with your spouse.
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It also has an impact on your mood and how you move through your day. Yes, your appearance can impact how confident you feel, how positive your outlook is, and ultimately how your spouse reacts to you. It’s human nature.
But if looking good feels intensely difficult and you’d rather live in sweatpants forever, you have to ask yourself what else is going on. Are you just that busy, or are you struggling with something else, like depression? I love sweatpants and a low-key day (a lot), but when I have the opportunity to turn things up a notch and look cute, I take it. I get my hair done. I throw on some makeup. I find a cute outfit. I remind my husband that I’ve still got it, even if I spend most days hiding it.
So men and women alike need to be mindful of how much they care for themselves. How do you look? How do you feel? How have you changed over the years? Why have you changed? Do you even care about what you look like anymore?
I think paying attention to how you look matters, but not for the sake of saving your marriage. (I would hope a marriage that’s seriously in trouble needs more than that to be saved.) It matters because it has a significant impact on your confidence and how you tackle the day. It affects how you interact with your spouse and your kids. It determines if you take more risks in life or if you hide out all the time.
Focus on feeling good.
Does this mean you need to walk around in stilettos with your face beat and your hair looking fly (I’m talking to the ladies here)? That’s not what it means for me. It means I can look in the mirror and smile. It means that my hair looks healthy, I love my lip-gloss, and I at least have on a shirt that I love. That’s all. No one is demanding that you look like a beauty queen or a GQ cover model daily. But you should at least feel like you are happy in your own skin, because that alone works wonders on your confidence and your marriage.
Focusing on your looks and how you feel shouldn’t be just about pleasing your man or your women. It should be about pleasing yourself. If you could care less about pleasing yourself, you definitely need to get a pulse on why that is, because I haven’t met anyone who has gladly and happily given up on looking and feeling good. There’s always something deeper. Find out what that is and get back to your happy, confident self.
BMWK family, have you let yourself go? Why, and what can you do to change?