I recently read an exchange on Instagram that gets to the heart of why Christian men bragging about their “hot Christian wives” bothers me so much.
Look, I’m glad that these men think their wives are gorgeous. I am thrilled that they want to complement them in public, and garner their wives praise. I’m sure they mean well. But the concept of a “hot Christian wife” strikes me as immensely problematic.
Here’s the exchange, started when a pastor on Instagram posted a photo of his wife.
“I’m told that a blogger has complained about men who call their wives “hot” because it objectifies them… And only focuses on the physical while down playing their other positive qualities. But what do you do if your wife really is hot??? Looking good, Sara!”
One commenter quickly chided the pastor for focusing on his wife’s physical appearance, which she felt implies that his wife’s looks were the main thing he valued about her.
“What do you do if your wife is hot? Answer: Don’t reduce her to the sum of her looks. Simple.”
Another’s view was the exact opposite. She shot back:
“If a woman tells you that it offends her if you call her hot (our generations term for beautiful or pretty) she is lying to you. Women like to know that they are sexy and coveted by their husbands. If they don’t then their is something wrong in that marriage.”
Two directly opposing views. So which one is right? Another commentor weighed in.
“[To #2], please do us a favor and refrain from attempting to speak to the nature of all women. You like to be called ‘hot’? Good for you; really. Other women don’t. And that’s ok too. What’s not ok is implying that women are lying or that their marriage is defective if it doesn’t follow your worldview. That is extraordinarily presumptuous and not at all helping non believing women look favorable upon Christianity.
My personal opinion — and I’m only speaking for myself, based on my experiences — is that being viewed in terms of my looks makes me feel de-valued. I don’t appreciate it.
Our society, media and pop culture values women for their beauty and their bodies. I wish it didn’t. I wish we could instead value women for their intelligence, work ethic, integrity, character…qualities that show who they are as people, not what they look like.
But time and time again, I see this view towards women, of celebrating the beautiful wife, quite prevalent among a lot of strong, dedicated Christian men.
These are dedicated, God-fearing men who can’t wait to praise their hot Christian wife. And every time, it makes me want to cringe.
For the record, I have absolutely met Christian men who care deeply about their faith but don’t view women in this way. Finding one (particularly one you want to date) is the most exciting and awesome thing. It’s epic. But, in my experience, at least, these men can often seem few and far between.
I don’t think Christian men should never tell their wives they think they’re beautiful. But each woman is an individual, and she’ll have her own feelings (based on her personal experiences) about how much or not she likes being praised for her looks…or if she’d feel better being complemented for something else.
Christian couples can figure that out by having a conversation. But a pastor using social media as a platform to praise and broadcast his wife’s beauty? I wonder how much he thought about the message that sends.
Plenty of people have a negative view of Christianity. And every time we bring our faith into a conversation, it paints a picture for others about what it means to be a Christian.
The words we chose to use have value. They show others what is important to us. And with that reality comes a certain responsibility.