Wired to Admire

by | Apr 30, 2004 | Spirit-Led Living

Hard-wired into man’s genetic code is a strong desire for beauty.
But unrealistic expectations are short-circuiting God’s design.

Let’s face it, there’s just something wired into the male psyche that causes the passionate admiration and pursuit of beauty.

Virtually every man has at least once in his lifetime fantasized about snagging the “perfect woman.” And while any gathering of red-blooded males might stir up a healthy argument over which woman deserves the title, author and Christian “sexpert” Doug Rosenau says that most men have a hard time narrowing it down to one person.


“The confusion I see in guys is that they have about three or four different ideas of a perfect woman,” Rosenau says. “They’re confused as to which one is the one that they really would like.”

This can make the male sex drive feel like a cruel, cosmic joke. But according to Bob Gresh, author of Who Moved the Goal Post? 7 Winning Strategies in the Sexual Integrity Gameplan, God’s intent is clear.

“God set up a strong sexual drive in men toward women so that He can show the portrait of His love for us and the bride of Christ,” Gresh says. “Being a ‘bride’ isn’t something that a lot of men identify with, but it’s a word picture that’s important to show us how much God loves us and desires us as much as we do a woman that loves us.”

An Endless Quest?

Doug Weiss, executive director of Heart to Heart Counseling Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, agrees that the male quest for visual perfection comes directly from God and goes well beyond appreciation for the female form.

“We [guys] see beauty in nice cars, big trucks and architectural buildings,” Weiss says. “God Himself loves beauty. We’re like Him in that we see beauty, and we enjoy beauty.”

Greg Smalley, president of Today’s Family, adds that God built this into a man’s genetic code.

“It’s so important for guys to recognize that God created us to be attracted to the opposite sex,” Smalley says. “There’s a biological way that God designed us to be pleased by the opposite sex. There’s this natural biological drawing toward women so that our species can continue.”

This issue is not all physical, though. According to renowned author and pastor Jack Hayford, a man’s visually stimulated behaviors can have intense, spiritual ramifications: “I think that beauty in a woman is intended to attract a man to an intimacy of relationship at a human level that precisely parallels the intimacy that we’re intended to know with God,” Hayford says.

Unfortunately, for many men, this pursuit of beauty has become a substitute for the pursuit of an intimate relationship with God. Smalley points out that there are two motivating factors that drive men in this endless quest: “One is the fear of loss, then the other one is the desire for gain,” he says.

“There’s a control element. We’ll do anything to control our own fate in life. We pursue women as a way to not feel alone. Beauty is pleasing to the eye. There’s that desire for gain.”

And that’s where most men get it wrong, making their pursuit of beauty more about personal pride instead of focusing the awe and appreciation back toward heaven.

“The reason [God] does anything good is to point us back to Himself,” says Joshua Harris, author of I Kissed Dating Goodbye. “The gratefulness that we feel for His creation, for just the wonder, the beauty of a woman, is ultimately to lead us to worship Him.”

Eye of the Beholder

While the male genetic code hasn’t changed much over time, technology certainly has. Thanks to publications such as Playboy and Maxim, along with the Internet and cable television, the floodgates of sensual imagery have been unleashed on our neural pathways.

Author Stephen Arterburn has chronicled this malicious onslaught on the mind in his Every Man’s Battle series. While men have always pursued beauty, the perception and expectation used to be much simpler.

“I think the definition of a beautiful woman in the mind of most men years ago was ‘naked,'” says Arterburn, co-author of Every Man’s Marriage. “There was not so much focus on the symmetry of the face, the millimeters between the bridge of the nose and the lips. There wasn’t the classic beauty. It was just the female form, and that was attractive and beautiful to a man.”

Doug Weiss adds that this sans mass media society allowed for a much purer definition of beauty.

“[Women] looked real back then,” he says. “There wasn’t plastic surgery. There wasn’t air brushing. There wasn’t all of the makeup. They had fat, and it was all OK. Now [men] want women … with no body fat and ripped abs.”

Men today now have heightened expectations for what makes a woman beautiful. Problem is, these expectations are unrealistic.

Dannah Gresh, the wife of Bob Gresh and author of And the Bride Wore White: Seven Secrets to Sexual Purity, points out that the average model is 23 percent thinner than the average woman.

“It’s an unattainable factor,” she says. “When you add Photoshop and all the lights and cameras and makeup, it’s just not realistic. It’s not going to happen.”

The problem doesn’t just affect men; it also creates a parallel set of problems for women who are trying unsuccessfully to keep up with the culture’s constantly changing standards of beauty.

Bob Gresh adds that both men and women need to educate themselves on how the media affects their perceptions of beauty. “The thing that really frustrates me is that even the models don’t look like models!” he says. “Even these bodies aren’t real. It’s a total figment of a graphic imagination.”

Weiss agrees: “Those images are all plastic-surgery images. They’re not the real thing. What’s happening is, we no longer look for the real thing; we want the object thing, and women are willing to go along with that to capture a man. Men like that. They want this porn-star-type woman.”

This mainstreaming of the porn culture concerns Joshua Harris. He says the divide between the biblical definition of beauty and the mainstream definition has widened, leaving men unable to decipher between what’s fake and what’s real. In his new book, Not Even a Hint: Guarding Your Heart Against Lust, Harris extols the virtues of abstaining from any images that might cause impure thoughts.

“Our definition of beauty has been so twisted and exploited by pornography,” Harris says. “The pursuit of beauty apart from the pursuit of goodness quickly becomes something that’s very twisted and ugly. It actually ruins our ability to enjoy true beauty.”

Retrain Your Brain

With the moral decline of network television, and the widespread access to Internet porn and sexually charged men’s magazines, the average man might cave into the idea that reclaiming a biblical perspective on beauty is a lost cause. Not so, says Arterburn, whose books specifically target men who struggle with this issue.

“If [men] will starve their eyes of the images that society puts out there, it will help readjust their expectations of a woman and what beauty is in a woman,” Arterburn says.

“If you’re filling your mind with Internet and magazines and Victoria’s Secret catalogs, your image of beauty is so distorted. When you stop looking, when you start bouncing your eyes away from all of that, your sense of beauty settles down to a more normal place. You really can be satisfied and fulfilled with the real thing that is much less perfect.”

Jack Hayford and his wife, Anna, will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary in July. His straightforward philosophy pulls no punches and requires a man to resist even subtle temptations, such as friendly flirtations at work that might seem harmless.

“I need to have eyes only for my wife,” Hayford says. “I am persuaded that there is a spiritual dynamic in wandering eyes. It literally reduces and extracts something from the potential of his wife’s beauty. Not only in his eyes, but also in her literal capacity to become beautiful.”

Once a man has taken the steps to cleanse his mental palate of the world’s view of beauty, he must next replace that skewed perspective with a God-centered definition.

“Beauty always has to be tied to a reflection of God’s character,” Joshua Harris says. “Separated from that, it quickly becomes perverted.

“When we understand the values and the attributes that God values, like in Proverbs 31, I think we can as men begin to, by avoiding those things that are wrong and by really meditating on the goodness of a woman’s character, reprogram our definition of beauty.”

Kenny Luck, director of Every Man Ministries and author of Being God’s Man by Understanding a Woman’s Heart, gives some specific advice on how a man can begin retraining his brain in an effort to see beauty through God’s eyes instead of the world’s filter.

“You have to assign a higher value to identity and character in a woman,” Luck says. “If you were searching for qualities, you’d want to search the inward qualities first. Who is she? Does she view herself as God’s woman or the world’s woman? Is she always a victim of the process of comparison and overemphasis on appearance and externals?”

Those questions will eventually lead the earnest seeker to the elusive perfect woman, a woman whom Luck describes as “the one that really sees herself as God’s woman and has accountability to Him to be all that He created her to be.”


Chad Bonham and his wife, Amy, reside in Broken Arrow, Okla. Chad is an author and producer of The ProFILES sports TV program.

CHARISMA NEWSLETTERS

Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


MORE FROM CHARISMA

This Coach Can Help You Destroy Your Addiction to Pornography

This Coach Can Help You Destroy Your Addiction to Pornography

Let’s talk about a subject most people want to avoid. Let’s talk about pornography. According to Covenant Eyes, statistics show that 28,258 users are watching pornography every second, and 20% of mobile online searches are for porn. Among Christians, 20% of youth...

The Real Truth About the Marriage of Politics and Faith

The Real Truth About the Marriage of Politics and Faith

As I look back, I realize that God has given me a career path with some rather unique experiences. I have built bridges at the intersection of faith and government my whole life, and I have learned that serving people through a role in government can be just as...

Joyce Meyer: Winning the Battle Against Satan in Your Mind

Joyce Meyer: Winning the Battle Against Satan in Your Mind

If you have received Christ as your Savior, then you have an enemy. Did you know that? I know some people feel uncomfortable talking about the devil, but he is real and it’s important for us to face the truth about him so we can have a victorious life in Christ. Now,...

It’s Time to Rebuild Love and Unity in the Church—Part 2

It’s Time to Rebuild Love and Unity in the Church—Part 2

Note: As we move towards Yom Kippur/Day of Atonement, Grant Berry, a Messianic believer, speaks about the deeper repentance needed in the Messianic part of the family. As you have read part one of this article during the month of Av and are now reading part two in the...

Will Many of the Elect Really Be Deceived by the Antichrist?

Will Many of the Elect Really Be Deceived by the Antichrist?

The most sobering and troubling statement in the Olivet Discourse is where Jesus says, “For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matt. 24:24). This statement cries out for an...

Prophetic Lessons in the Hurricane-Force Storms of Life

Prophetic Lessons in the Hurricane-Force Storms of Life

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qe34pxhddd4 With Hurricane Ian slamming Florida, it's a time to reflect on the storms of life. As I was preparing for the hurricane, I documented some thoughts about standing strong in the storms of life. Whether you're dealing with a...

RECENT ARTICLES

Why God Cares About Your Physical Health

God doesn’t care if I am fat. He wants me to enjoy my life. He wants me to live, love and be happy. Food makes me happy so I’m just doing what He wants me to do. That was just an excuse and at its...
Mario Murillo Sends Special Urgent Message to Kingdom Leaders

Mario Murillo Sends Special Urgent Message to Kingdom Leaders

Attention. Several hundred leaders are registered for our special brunch on Saturday, Oct. 1 at 10 a.m. Seats are filling up and we must give our host a final number of meals to prepare. Please do not wait. Make your reservation now for this free brunch. I have a very...

How to Position Yourself to Receive the Issachar Anointing

How to Position Yourself to Receive the Issachar Anointing

The key to being positioned to receive the Issachar anointing has to do with timing and seasons. Those who carry the Issachar anointing understand the times and seasons we are in. They have discernment and knowledge, enabling them to lead well. They seek the wisdom of...

An Unborn Baby’s Heart Is Beating—Stop Denying It

An Unborn Baby’s Heart Is Beating—Stop Denying It

Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams turned heads last week in Atlanta when she defiantly announced during a political event that an unborn baby doesn’t have a heartbeat at six weeks gestation. “There is no such thing as a heartbeat at six weeks,” said...

Prophecy: We Are in a Season of Blessings

Prophecy: We Are in a Season of Blessings

We are kingdom citizens, and not of this world. We don’t abide by this world’s economy and the natural things that happen. Repeatedly, over the last four weeks, I’ve been hearing not to look at the circumstances of this world. We are not of this world. Get your eyes...

What Praises of Thanksgiving Mean for Your Soul

What Praises of Thanksgiving Mean for Your Soul

We tend to think of gratitude as an obligation as opposed to a weapon of warfare. A nicety, not a ferocious force for transformation. We are wrong. From our earliest days we are trained that polite people say “thank you.” Certainly, this is true and proper. Those of...

Pin It on Pinterest