Monday, May 26, 2014

The Visual Rolodex

This is the 5th week of the marriage series by Shaunti Feldhahn that I'm posting on.  The first 4 weeks can be found here:  Respect, Insecurity, Need to Provide, and Desiring Him.  This week's chapter made me a little uncomfortable (it does matter if I exercise or not...) but I think there's some good information in there.  It focuses on the `Visual Rolodex' as Shaunti describes it.

First of all, most men are very visual and cannot help it.  They cannot not notice a hot woman.   Now, whether they decide to take a second look or start thinking about something else is up to them.  This is something that men often struggle with all day long and it can be exhausting.  I'll be honest, I would also be the one looking at the attractive woman at Home Depot.   I'll just admire her beauty and I guess there's a bit of comparison going on too.  Men tend to keep a `visual rolodex' of every beautiful woman they've seen and images come up all the time.  I just have moments of `Oh, he's hot!' when I'm watching someone like Shemar Moore on Criminal Minds but otherwise, I never really think of other men.  And that's it for me, a passing thought and it's gone.  Sorry, Shemar!

{For our anniversary 3 years ago we had a photo session.  I never get my hair done or wear this much make up but it was fun!  This may be my favourite picture of Gary. }

I do worry about my own boys and the things that they will see over the years.  Just the other day, Kai was watching Wheel of Fortune with me and a commercial came on for H & M selling bikinis, well, I think that's what they were selling with the model sprawled on the rocks.  His eyes were wide and he asked, `What is this?'. My hope is that our home will be a place where we can talk about these things openly.  I want to acknowledge that yes, bodies are beautiful,  but outward appearance is just a small part of who someone really is.  In regards to protecting our/their minds, we make sure that our computers are in an open area and that the kids are never on a device (computer, tv) without our knowledge.  I think a big thing that kept Gary's mind busy during high school and university was that he played hours of sports each day.  Hopefully our boys continue in their love of sports :)  It's not that thinking about girls is bad, it's just what they are thinking about in regards to those girls that concerns me.

And now to shift to the part where we as women can help our boyfriends and husbands. The men in our lives would like us to put in the effort to look good.  This doesn't mean we need to be 120lbs (sorry, soooo not ever happening unless you take me back to grade seven), but it means that we should put in the effort to be healthy, active, and put together nicely.  It shows that you care about him.  It's recommended that you do not ask him the question `How would you feel if I let myself go?' because it puts him in an awkward situation.  Although, well, let's just say I asked.  Gary did agree with the 70% of men that said they would be emotionally bothered if their wives let themselves go and didn't seem to want to make the effort do to something about it.   When you take care of yourself, you also tend to have more energy for life in general which means you can just do more together.  Just to say it again; it's the effort.  

**I added this paragraph after receiving a comment about how hard this is post partum**
I think that the effort you put in changes with what is happening in your life.  When I had a newborn, I would shave one leg one day, and the other the next day.  I felt like I had no time or energy.  Effort might be taking a shower, or putting on lip gloss, or wearing jeans.  Now that I am sleeping, I feel like I have more energy to invest into how I look and my physical health.  I think more of what the book is talking about is if you have time and energy to sit around eating ice cream and watching crappy tv until midnight every single night, you might have time and energy to do something else.

I completely understand if Gary looks at an attractive woman, but I appreciate that he tries not to look again. According to the book (`For Women Only: What You Need to Know About the Inner Lives of Men'), things that make it harder to resist checking out other women and indulging in those thoughts are; anger, loneliness and tiredness.   Are they working long hours? Feeling like failures? Lacking social support?  Good friends can be so great for accountability.

In conclusion, this week I was a bit surprised about the importance of taking care of ourselves (health and appearance) for our men.  I don't know why I'm surprised because it makes sense, but maybe it's because Gary has never said that it's important.  I am definitely going to work harder in this area as I am a `comfy clothes' kinda girl and I know Gary is definitely a fan of skirts and dresses.  And you know, it goes both ways.  I love it when Gary wears jeans, bright solid t-shirt and has a new hair cut.  When he goes for a jog? Love it.  Goes to work early to work out? Awesome.

Just one more week in this book and I think I've learned a thing or two.  Thanks again to all of you who have given me feedback on it.  Seriously.  If any of YOU have a marriage book you'd recommend, please, let me know.  This is the year of Gary (my resolution this year was to put Gary ahead of the kids) so let the learning continue!

Love, Louise


  1. great post! i love that you're sharing what you've learnt!

  2. Anonymous5:35 PM

    Gary sounds like Barney. Barney would love if I put on a skirt or dress more often. I prefer jeans. It's hard when home with the baby all day but I make sure to at least get out of my pjs, put a little makeup on and straighten my hair because I know how much he appreciates it. Thanks for your honesty, I've enjoyed your marriage posts! Good reminders for me.
    Lynn w.

  3. Great post! Another thing to, my kids have noticed when I've gotten dressed into something that isn't my yoga pants for at home days. I went and saw a stylist at a mall in Calgary back in November and it was great. She really encouraged my friend and I to spend some time on ourselves to show that we do appreciate ourselves. I don't want to be that mom who drops my kids off in my pjs at school. Not that I'm dressed to the nines either but just that I've taken a few minutes to actually look presentable to the world and show that I care about how I present myself to everyone. She also suggested never wearing yoga pants anywhere but to the gym and to work out (that's a bit out there for me) but I've never been one to wear them out in public anyway. Another good marriage book that Spencer and I plugged through last summer is Mark and Grace Driscoll's, Real Marriage. It was a great read!

  4. This is great! Sometimes it's so easy to just be comfy, and then get offended when my husband looks at another woman. He tells me all the time he'd rather look at me! So putting on something I know he likes is win-win for both of us! :D

    And, yes, Shemar! He is not hard on the eyes ;)

  5. First, congrats. Second, hmm. Not sure if I can do the dresses thing, even jeans feels like dressing up for my yoga pants self. Not that there's any yoga in those pants (sigh).

    But best part of this article... The hot girl in Home Depot?! I love it that that's our reference not the New York fashionista! Ok not sure where I'm going there but I smiled when I ready that.