How Can an Aging Wife Compete With Cyber Women?

How Can an Aging Wife Compete With Cyber Women

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Social media is ubiquitous, and there are many redemptive applications of it. At Life Over Coffee, we talk about the redemptive uses of technology as we ponder how to use this common grace mercy for God’s fame. But with all good things, there is always the insipid Adamic smell of death that lures people into the darker side of what should be a means of grace. Social media has many untoward temptations; one of those is the comparison trap that stirs a desire to compete with the culture’s view of appearance, attractiveness, acceptance, and approval. Many women succumb to this temptation, especially as they age. As one wife asked me, “How do I compete with cyber women as my body continues to waste away?”

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Distraught Wife

I don’t watch porn, but I know my husband has viewed it frequently. Even television bombards my mind with its version of the perfect woman. I struggle with being insecure already, but it becomes worse when I think about how I compete with the ladies on the Internet who are always tens. The little bit I have seen of these women makes me realize there is no way I can compete with them.

What am I to do with these thoughts? They are like a mental stronghold. Whenever my husband becomes angry with me, the thought goes through my mind that he will bolt for another woman if I don’t meet his needs. Even if he does not bolt, I know he satisfies himself with those cyber ladies who are in a league of their own. What am I to do? – Distraught Wife

Many Christian women are in a seemingly impossible situation. The external pressure from movies and television is pumped into their minds 24/7, telling them what is perfect. The dream weavers in the entertainment industry have all the tools to deliver titillating and tantalizing candy to the male ego. Then there is the pressure of porn because it is a significant and satisfying player in the male fantasy world. The fantasy is why the pursuer of the cyberwoman does not have to catch a real one. Imagine that! It’s the imagination that makes porn so perfect for the depraved mind. All a guy has to do is look at the perfect woman through the lens of the Internet while enjoying her with his mind’s eye. It is not about being with her. It is about the theater of his mind, which is full of thoughts as he plays the hero in his cyber-role play.

The fantasy is why the pursuer of the cyberwoman does not have to catch a real one. Imagination is what makes porn so “perfect” for the depraved mind. All a guy has to do is look at the “perfect” woman through the lens of the Internet while enjoying her with his mind’s eye. It is not primarily about being with her. It is about the theater of the mind full of thoughts as he plays the hero in his cyber-illusion.

Perfect Competition

The Christian wife cannot compete with this kind of assault on her marriage. The cards are stacked against her because she could never win him if her strategy were to compete with perfect competition. What could she do anyway? How would she enter the competition, even if it were possible? The testimony of the Word of God says none of us can compete with perfection, which is the purpose of the gospel: to come and transform incomplete, broken, and imperfect people. To attempt to become the ideal through self-generated efforts is a fool’s mission. It is biblical legalism—the relationship-killing process of trying to merit the affection of another person through self-reliant, self-effort.

Whether you seek to earn God’s love or your man’s love, you will not secure or sustain it through self-sufficient means. Biblical love is a gift given, not a gift demanded or earned. To secure and sustain perfected beauty and physicality is impossible. Even cyberwomen cannot do this. They eventually become old material and are discarded as cyber dust. Their shelf life is a narrow window of opportunity, and once they can no longer meet the criteria necessary, the newer cyber version replaces them. The impossibility of sustained perfection is why it is delusional to go down that road.

  • The Christian wife cannot be perfect in beauty or physicality.
  • The porn woman cannot be perfect in beauty or physicality.

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A Better Way

There is a better way to think about this problem of competing against perfection. The first place to begin is with a sober-minded shift in worldviews. Lucia told me while we were dating, “Guys date the girl in the sports car, but marry the girl in the Festiva.” (A Ford Festiva is a glorified golf cart. Think about a golf cart with doors. That is what Lucia had when we were dating.) I am unsure if she had statistical data to support her claim, but I loved her perspective, plus the possibility of not having to purchase an expensive car should we tie the knot. Dating the hot babe in a sports car may be fun, but it is a relationship you want to give to many prayers and supplications if you plan to marry her. Dating a girl in a glorified golf cart has long-term potential without breaking the bank or the bond.

Lucia’s lack of showiness is one of the many things that made her appealing. I knew she would be easy to please, and because my handsomeness was somewhat lacking, I felt as though we could make a go of it. Imagine being married to a woman who had to have the perfect home, the newest car, and the latest fashions. The needle on her satisfaction meter would always be pointed to a ten, which means her happiness would rise or fall, depending on her husband’s ability to deliver those uninterrupted tens. The man who must have a hot babe puts the same pressure on his wife. It is a trap that will kill any marriage. If the only type of beauty that matters is external, the relationship is doomed.

Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair, and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious (1 Peter 3:3-4).

Who Are You?

Perhaps you are a woman with imperishable beauty (or at least you’re striving toward it), but your husband is looking for something more external. Let me burst that balloon for you, and my goal is not to be harsh but to move the conversation into reality rather than a delusional state: your relationship will never glorify God until he changes. What are your choices? There are two: try to be what he believes is beautiful, maintain it for the rest of your marriage, or work on your imperishable beauty while trusting God to change your husband’s idolatrous heart. I am not advocating being out of shape and letting yourself go physically. That is as unwise as it is unbiblical.

I am appealing to you to be rational, reasonable, moderate, and disciplined, but not a fifty-something who is more concerned about how you look on the outside than who you are on the inside. Think about it this way: If you try to compete with cyber women to make your husband happy, you will have to become something like a cyber woman. Perchance, you could accomplish this feat; all you would gain is a man who uses you to satisfy his lusts. His fascination with perfected beauty is not about love but unrestrained lust. Would it make you feel better to have your husband lusting after you rather than lusting after other women? Some wives would say “yes” to this, and I understand the impulse, but is that the kind of marriage you want? If it is, you do not have a marriage. You have a mutual need-meeting negotiation:

  • Husband says, “I will love you as long as you look a certain way.”
  • Wife says, “I will look a certain way as long as you love me.”

The Cyber Wife

Beautiful women, nice toys, and drugs have one thing in common: they are idols of the lust-depraved heart. To compete with the cyber woman is to be a cyber woman. To give your husband his perfect, beautified image of a woman to make him happy is similar to appeasing a child who is throwing a tantrum, demanding you acquiesce to his infantile babbling. Give him his toy, and he will be satisfied. It is similar to giving a crack addict another bump to take another trip. As long as he can get his fix, he will be happy. The answer is not to see how obese and ugly you can become, and it’s not to see how beautiful or perfect you can become. The answer is how you relate to God as a married woman regardless of whether your husband follows you in your pursuit of holiness (1 Corinthians 11:1).

  • If he does not follow you as you follow Christ, you will not have a husband or a marriage that will glorify God in the way he and it should.
  • If you fall into the competition trap, then an immature husband and an unsatisfied wife will not glorify God either.

The first thing you will have to do is address your heart. You will have to change (if thinking about the competition manages your mind, creating a thought fortress that holds you captive). Since your spouse is not listening or asking for help, but you are, begin with yourself. You will have to come to a place where you do not need your husband’s approval, acceptance, or affection. You will also have to lose your fear of losing him. If he is already looking at porn, you do not have him anyway. You are merely one of his porn women, just not the one he wants.

A Dating Aside

To all girlfriends: You can run away if lust has trapped your boyfriend (2 Timothy 2:22). Break up while you have a chance (or you better make sure you both are getting help.) It is straightforward to discern where your boyfriend is regarding these things by how he treats you. You are in a good spot if he is more interested in your sanctification than your beauty. If he is not leading you spiritually, you better pause and reflect on your relationship. By all means, seek biblical wisdom and counsel. If you have to win him with your beauty, you will lose him shortly after marriage. Beauty is skin deep, and if that is the depth of your boyfriend’s thoughts about you, nobody can compete with that fantasy. Eventually, he will discard and replace you, though he may stay in the marriage. Follow the advice of God’s Word rather than the mandates of our culture: Beauty is vain. Do not try to keep up with culture’s temptations.

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised (Proverbs 31:30).

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Suffering’s Choice

One of the hardest things for a woman who feels the need to compete with cyberwomen is to realize the actual condition of her marriage. Though it is a cold and harsh reality, she must accept the truth about what is happening with them. Disbelief regarding reality will hinder anyone from getting to where they need to be in their journey with God and others. As you begin to accept the reality of your marriage, you will have to guard your heart against anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, resentfulness, and regret. You will also have to protect against retaliating toward your husband or becoming angry at God. There will be a temptation to sin.

None of these things will honor God or make His name great. They will also hinder you from accomplishing your heart’s desire: to win your husband’s affection, restore your marriage, and magnify the name of God (Psalm 34:3). Being mean and snarky toward your husband will not win him to God. Do not be that wife. If you have followed these ideas closely, you have discerned how you are up against two impossible situations; it does not matter which way you go; the path will be hard and hurtful. If you try to compete with cyber women, you will eventually realize its impossibility. If you set aside your desires while seeking to win your husband to Christ, you will also suffer.

The difference between the first and second options is that the Lord is not against you if you pursue setting aside your desires for His fame, regardless of the outcome. He gives empowering favor to anyone who chooses His path of suffering versus the world’s path of suffering (James 4:6). He will oppose you if you try to win your husband by replacing the cyber women with your version of cultural beauty. That is not winning your husband. It is switching his drug from them to you. Christians do not compete with the world. We are set apart from the world, and if the world does not want to follow our lead—including your husband—it is their loss and our cross to bear.

Call to Action

  1. What do you fear that compels you to think you must compete with cyber women?
  2. What insecurities do you need to address that will release you from your husband’s sin?
  3. How do you need to mature in the imperishable beauty God offers?
  4. What would hinder you from talking with someone who could help your husband? What about talking to someone who can assist you? Will you chat with someone soon?

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