As a single woman I formed a bad habit that has now followed me into marriage. I wish I’d dealt with it years ago, but it took being married to bring the habit to light. You see when I was single, I made a habit of checking out attractive men. The habit wasn’t so much an issue of lust as it was an issue of pride. I wanted to see if guys would notice me back. I wanted the attention. Since it never went any further than that, and I was single, it didn’t seem like that big of a deal to me at the time.
The problem is that habits die hard.
Now, whenever I’m at the grocery store or the mall and I see an attractive man, there’s a part of me that still wants him to notice me. It’s totally absurd because I’m not actually interested, nor does his opinion even matter. I have a hot man at home who notices me every day, and I am committed to him. My reason for wanting this attention has nothing to do with the state of my marriage or how well my husband cares for me. It’s simply become a matter of habit that I reinforced over years and years and years.
Now some of you might wonder, “What’s so bad about a) admiring an attractive person in a non-lustful way, or b) appreciating it when someone else admires you?” The problem is that both of these supposedly innocent acts are really just smoke screens for the seeds of sin.
Proverbs 17:24 tells us, “A discerning man keeps wisdom in view, but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth.” If my marriage is healthy but I’m forming a habit of looking elsewhere, checking out the goods and enjoying attention from other men, what do you think I’ll default to when my marriage goes through a season of hardship? I will have foolishly created a coping mechanism outside of my marriage, and that can have devastating consequences. A seemingly innocent habit can lay the foundation for any number of tragic mistakes.
That’s why I’m teaching myself a new habit: don’t look twice. We can’t help it if we notice an attractive person. God created beautiful things and that’s a fact, but it’s how we respond to those beautiful things that define us. My husband often talks about me being “his standard of beauty.” That is to say that instead of comparing me to other women and noticing the ways in which I don’t measure up to the culture’s standard of beauty, he sees me as THE standard. Lucky for me, that means I always measure up!
I think it’s healthy for women to do the same. While women don’t tend to be quite as visual as men, we’re still bombarded with images of men with rock hard abs who have all their hair on their head. More than a few of us struggle with comparing the men in our lives to these unrealistic standards, so we need to make sure our husbands become our own “standard of beauty” as well.
And lastly, to all the single gals out there I can’t say enough that who you are as a single woman is who you will be as a married woman. Habits and behaviors that seem permissible now will follow you into marriage, so figure out what is beneficial for you and stick to it. The lifestyle you are creating for yourself now has the potential to either strengthen or sabotage a marriage. I honestly believe that more marriages would succeed if people had learned to do singleness better. So no matter your stage in life, don’t look twice. There are attractive people in this world, but keep wisdom in view. It is a far better guide.