Men, Godly Women (Rightly) Expect This From You | Bryan Stoudt
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Men, Godly Women (Rightly) Expect This From You

Guys, when godly women think about godly men they might date, what do you think turns them off more than anything else?

That’s the question I (essentially) asked them in a recent survey I conducted.  I asked women to respond honestly – not how they think they ‘should’ respond, but how they probably would.  In addition, I personally emailed about ten women I respect for more input.  

Two responses received far more attention than any other.  Any guesses as to what topped the list?

(For a related post, check out ‘Should I Date A Godly Woman I’m Not Attracted To?‘)

Godly Women Expect This From Their Man

The second most common response was… ‘physical characteristics’.  Roughly 55% of women said they would pass on a godly guy for this reason.

But what does that really mean?  Does he need to be really good-looking and jacked from logging lots of time at the gym?

Based on the clarifying comments in the ‘other’ section, and emails from my friends, it doesn’t sound like it.  Here are some typical comments:

  • ‘This one is probably different depending on the woman, but I know I’m not perfect and I don’t expect my guy to be a supermodel and besides, looks are fleeting.’
  • ‘I think women desire to be physically attracted to their partner, but that may not take on the characteristic male model characteristic.’
  • ‘Personally I’m not too concerned with whether the guy has a six pack or dresses stylishly (though I’m not saying it hurts)…’

Of all the comments I received, not a single woman said that a guy being cute, good-looking or unusually fit was a deal-breaker, or even important.  It’s worth adding, though, that while some studies show men value physical appearance more than women, the difference probably isn’t as pronounced as it’s made out to be.

Digging Deeper

In any event, 55% said that ‘physical characteristics’ would probably rule a guy out.  Why?

While women aren’t looking for a physical specimen, the ones I surveyed do expect guys to take care of themselves physically.  

  • ‘Not only does it show discipline that a man cares for his appearance, it also shows he will be able to care for your well-being also.’
  • ‘It also means he will hopefully be around for a while if he takes care of himself, too.’
  • ‘I enjoy being active and I’m not as interested in someone who isn’t able to join me.’

So, women want us to take care of ourselves for reasons that go well beyond mere appearance.  Caring for our bodies shows that we’ll care for them, allows us to enjoy activities with them, and hopefully means we’ll be around as long as possible.  (Especially important since women in the US live, on average, five years longer than men.)

In conclusion, based on the survey and real-life responses from women, you don’t need to be a model or incredibly fit, but most women do want you to give some attention to staying in shape.  Not only for appearance’s sake, but so that you can stay active, and stick around long enough to enjoy life with them.

Sounds really reasonable to me.

It All Goes Together

It also became clear that, for many women, a man’s character makes him more (or less) physically attractive.  For example, one woman shared that, for ‘most [guys] I’ve liked it’s been getting to know them as a person as a whole…  If I liked who they were as a person they became more attractive to me, including physically.’

That’s not unique to women, but it’s a great reminder that physical appearance doesn’t take place in a vacuum.  And it’s hopeful for those of us who aren’t going to be earning our living as models!

Connecting The Dots

After getting our hands around the survey and feedback, let’s do a little analysis.  

Biblically, it’s clear that taking care of our bodies is important.  After all, God made them.  And during your time on earth, you will never meet a disembodied person. 🙂  Consider these passages that lay a foundation for what we saw above.

  • Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? … So glorify God in your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)  While staying in shape might help us get a date, our ultimate motivation here – as with everything – should be to honor God.
  • Earlier in that chapter (1 Corinthians 6:12-13), Paul says that we’re free to enjoy food, but also that he ‘will not be dominated by anything’. Unfortunately, it’s easy to get dominated – over 70% of American men are considered overweight or obese.  The battles behind overeating and loving our couches too much, Paul says, are ultimately spiritual and often idolatry.
  • When Jesus saves us, he gives us the gift of ‘self-control’ alongside the other fruits of his Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).  It’s hard work, but if we’ll ‘walk by the Spirit’, we ‘will not gratify the desires of the flesh.’ (Galatians 5:16).  If we know Christ, we already have all we need to win this battle.

Of course, it is possible to turn physical fitness and health into an idol.  To forget that ‘while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.’ (1 Timothy 4:18)  So it’s worth not allowing the pendulum to swing in that direction, too.

A Reasonable Request

I’ve got to say that I was encouraged by the way people responded to the survey and my request for input.  Godly women are generally just asking us to do what God does: remembering that our bodies belong to the Lord, and taking care of them as best we can.  Doing that gives tangible evidence that we love God and the people around us.

We’ve run out space, but in a follow-up post we explore the number one thing that nearly 80% of women said would cause them to pass on a date with an otherwise godly guy.  It’s a particular aspect of the ‘godliness’ that Paul – and the Lord – call us to.

Questions for reflection:

  1. Men, to what extent are you giving appropriate attention to your health and fitness?  Have you connected it to loving your current, or future, girlfriend or spouse and the Lord?
  2. Women, how important is a guy’s health and fitness to you?  Does its importance to you practically reflect the view laid out in the scriptures above?
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  • Chip says:

    Hry, Bryan. Good thoughts. I’ve been married for almost 15 years. My wife, though she does find me attractive, is more attracted to me when I’m disciplined. When I don’t shower, when I don’t groom, etc she is less likely to be drawn to me. So I can verify your poll.
    Over the last year I’ve started working out. I’ve lost about 12 pounds but I’ve gained a ton of muscle mass. I feel different. And my wife and kids have responded. They are exercising now too. I’m trying to set a godly example for them in how I treat my body.
    Thanks for writing about such a practical topic. I wish I would have done these things years ago.

    • Bryan Stoudt says:

      Hey Chip, thanks for taking the time to read and encourage me. I think it’s great that you’ve taken something on, and succeeded, 15 years into your marriage. What a victory, and a great way to set a powerful example for your family. So neat to see them responding, too!

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