Why Doesn’t God Answer Prayers To Make Christian Men Attracted To Overweight Christian Women?

Hi, Athol–
I recently discovered your Married Man blog and have really been enjoying it. Even though I am single, I am always curious about “life on the other side” and things I can learn to keep my marriage strong when/if that day comes. It’s a nice complement to the PUA/Game blogs that are focused more on pure pick-up for flings rather than LTR. Anything that helps men and women understand more about each other’s(as well as their own) natures is a good thing.
I recently read an article at Focus on the Family’s singles website, Boundless, where one of their regular bloggers answered a reader question. (Since you are a former evangelical Christian, I’m assuming you are familiar with FOTF and the general mindset of the evangelical community.) The reader stated that he had been dating an overweight woman who in all other ways was an exceptional person whom he got along with very well and really cared about. They recently broke up, however, when he couldn’t find a way to get over her weight. The blogger who answered the letter, Candice Watters, essentially took the reader to task for his desire for a thinner girlfriend/wife and lamented that she feared too many men were giving up good wives just because they didn’t have ideal bodies. While I do think that some men can be overly picky about looks (usually when they desire a woman whose Sex Value exceeds their own and refuse to settle for less), I’ve seen over and over in men’s blogs that a wife’s looks are a huge component of a man’s love and attraction; essentially, looks have a huge domino effect on the rest of the relationship. I would love to read your take on this young man’s situation and how he could have done things better/differently, and how a man might encourage a woman to improve her looks without insulting her.
For reference, here is the article: http://www.boundless.org/2005/answers/a0002268.cfm
Thanks, and keep up the good work.
-AH
Hi AH,
Thanks for the kind words much appreciated, this is a great question.
Yes I am a former evangelical Christian so very much understand the perspective there. My move to atheism is kind of off the topic of this blog (if Hambydammit ever wants a quest post I’ll do it there) but I have done full time Christian work and was generally heading towards pastoral ministry before changing course. The fact that what I am doing on this blog is ironically pastoral in feel (albeit secular in tone) is not lost on me.
So here’s the thing… a woman’s physical appearance as what is regarded as beautiful, is extremely important in mate selection. It’s absolutely NOT superficial for men to focus on the physical health and body shape of the woman, in fact of all the factors making up a woman’s sex rank it is the one that is weighted the heaviest.
There is a huge body of evidence that suggests feminine physical beauty is a well agreed upon thing across cultures world wide. It all comes down to quite measurable things like waist to hip ratio, skin tone, health / length of hair, symmetry, good immune system, good teeth and so on. All these things are positive indicators of the ability of the woman to have a good pregnancy and give birth to a healthy baby and then manage to stay alive to raise it to adulthood. As I’ve said before, whatever is sexy is whatever is good for making and raising babies.
So when a male looks at a female his brain literally looks her over and sums up her baby making ability and then decides whether or not to inform the rest of his body that a healthy sexy female is in proximity to him. Men have literally no control over sexual attraction, it’s simply a response to stimuli. There’s no rational thought over looking at cleavage like “oh wow, I’m looking at cleavage, I should probably like that and get aroused”. You simply see the cleavage and drool. The rational part of your brain says stuff like “OMG I’m going to get called into Human Resources again if I don’t stop drooling at her tits”.
For a good Christian man… it’s supposedly a one woman lifetime commitment. So taking that at face value as something he saw as important and committed to, his choice of a wife is extremely serious. This is going to be the only woman he puts his sperm into. He absolutely cannot afford second best.
My hunch is that for the entire time of the relationship he very much enjoyed her personality and she brought a great deal of companionship to his life. He probably spent a huge amount of time trying to rationally convince himself that she was “good wife” material. He probably begged God in prayer to grant him proper sexual desire for her in an attempt of a spiritual solution. But his Body Agenda disagreed with his rational thought / spiritual hopes and simply declared her an “unfit female”. (If only not sexy enough for him to settle for.)
In terms of Christian men and women and Sex Rank, there’s a man shortage in the pews. It’s about a 2 guys to 3 gals ratio, and when you take away the minority of Christian gay men and the unfuckables it can seem more like a 1 to 2 ratio. (Don’t get me wrong, some of my favorite people are unfuckables, you just wouldn’t want to… well you know.) So any time you get to swim on the better end of a 1 to 2 ratio, your Sex Rank is going to go up and if you’re on the wrong end of it… you’re going to lose a little.
Same thing happens in Alaska for women. If you’re a chick with all your teeth in Alaska you are the babe that everyone wants to meet. Alaskan boyfriends don’t get dumped, they just lose their turn.
So returning to the Christian guy in question… there’s no real Sex Rank issue forcing the issue on him. It’s like he’s a 8-9 and she’s a 5-6. (Outside of the church sphere they both might be a 7) All the pressure for him to be in a relationship with her is probably coming from his religious point of view that “she’s a really great Christian girl, smart, fun, companionable and has a wonderful spiritual connection to God and would be a great ministry partner”. But then again, if you’re a half decent unmarried male minister you pretty much have the pick of the litter of the single girls from your first church. It doesn’t get much sexier than being a religious leader for Alpha Male inducing gina tingle.
So what could have he done differently? My feeling is not a whole lot. As horrible as it sounds on an emotional level, he did the right thing by breaking it off with her. No doubt he’ll run into another good Christian woman that has all the same sort of personality, but comes in a better baby making body and they’ll have a bunch of happy healthy well adjusted little ankle biters together.
My experiences of men suggesting, or encouraging women to lose weight is that you quickly become the brunt of the most outrageous anger and resentment. Not to mention the vicious guilt tripping and shaming behavior. Believe me I’ve tried this sort of thing before and it has always gone very badly. Even with women who have bluntly stated that the primary problem in their marriage stemmed from the husbands lack of sexual interest over a 100 gained pounds by the wife, I’ve been thrown to the lions for suggesting that weight loss might be a practical solution to the issue. I just can’t be bothered dealing with such a self-evident problem with women who insist men should experience involuntary sexual interest completely contrary to their most obvious natures. I can’t imagine how badly a seminary student is going to be hammered with social scorn for suggesting a lack of attraction to a good Christian girlfriend because she is heavy. Oy.
If anything… and not that my wife is fat by any stretch of the imagination, when I work out more, she tends to work out more. That’s about as far as it goes in terms of practical tactics. Like I say, the problem is pretty self-evident. If they can’t be bothered to be self-motivated about dealing with a self-evident problem, I’m not sure this is someone to shackle yourself to for the rest of your life anyway. (That cuts both ways for men and women too btw – own and fix your shit gentlemen.) As I’ve said before, the purpose of marriage is not to save a woman, it’s to have a long, happy and productive life together.
So…. If there is a God…  he’s obviously made men attracted to… attractive women. This would be his creation “working as intended”. It’s not a bug it’s a feature. Thank you for contacting tech support, have a blessed day!
As an aside… one of the things I found very disturbing and was a real factor in leading up to the time of my move to atheism was the way a few factors had a horrible effect together for my female friends. Too few males + directive to marry only within the faith + being told God had a special plan for all = a ticking bomb for angst for at least some of my friends. I was active in a youth group of about 40 girls and 25 boys, call me a cynic but I just looked around and did the math. If you’re a woman wanting marriage you can waste your youth and beauty in a church no less than you can in a bar. It has been heartbreaking to me to catch up to some of my old friends on Facebook recently and discover my cynical predictions from my early 20s have come horribly true.

Comments

  1. Fat women are emotionally unfit for marriage. Fat women have severe emotional disabilities. If they did not, they would not be fat. Fat women should place themselves in the same category they would place men who are hopeless drunks, heroin addicts, or compulsive arsonists.

    If you are obese, you are not good wife material, and you have demonstrated this in the most obvious possible way.

  2. I've been to Alaska Atholk. A lot of the girls are …what was the word you used? Ah yes, unf*ckable. Straight hair and curly teeth. God save us all.

    LIL

  3. Athol Kay says:

    Ouch Eumaios. I just think they will damage their Sex Rank and end up with a less attractive man. Fat people can have productive meaningful loving lives. It's not a felony, just sexually repulsive.

  4. I do think you should mention that there is a difference between 'big' and 'fat'. There are some very attractive big women out there. But to me 'big' means Amazonian where she could scoop me up and toss me over her shoulder. These women don't fit the media ideal of a size 2 dress, but they certainly aren't fat.

    To me the biggest problem with 'fat' is that it is unhealthy. I am not interested in a woman who gets exhausted walking up a flight of stairs. I want a woman who is fun to be with, and is capable of going on a hike or spending the day walking around an amusement park.

    I have seen some very big women who are very strong and very fit, and that is still attractive. But if you want to be attractive (and this goes for men and women) you need to be exercise enough to be healthy.

  5. True stuff – but say that in Sunday school and you'll be stoned like Stephen. I'm not sure that for women church is actually that much more productive a place to seek out a mate than bars. The number of guys seeking marriage is probably much higher, but the character of those guys is untested and the m/f ratio is skewed. Evangelical Christianity doesn't have enough screws-on power to keep their men or women in line. Modern Catholicism doesn't either, unless you are talking Traditional Catholicism. The appeal of evangelical Christianity is its cuddling together of emotionalism and religion, and as a society, we are full up on emotions. I have some further thoughts on this that I'll have to write down. Good stuff, Athol.

  6. hambydammit says:

    Oooh… guest post! I love it. Let me know when you have time to write it, and I'll be happy to make room for you.

  7. Athol Kay says:

    @ Mr. B – yes a girl can be "big" but as long as she is proportional and a good waist to hip ratio she can be beautiful. It's the spare tire people that are fail.

    @ Grerp – that's why I don't say this stuff in church lol.

    @ Hamby – probably in a few days. I have the outline of course, but I want to polish it a little more. If you have any particular questions you are curious on, ask me!

  8. I'm tempted to write a letter to this same outfit, Boundless.org, with the situation exactly reversed and see what they say. My letter might go as follows:

    "Dear Boundless, I recently met a man I became attracted to. But from the get-go, I've been aware of his absence of ambition, inability to lead in social groups, and a complete lack of desire to maintain a job or career. The more I got to know him, the more compatible we seemed. However, I can't overcome the fact that he has no potential at all to be a provider and protector of myself and our future family. I recently told him that if we can't move forward in this regard then we should call things off completely. I look forward to your answer."

    Sadly, I suspect we'd see a deep hypocrisy of response. Advice to the guy: repent of your selfish thoughts and keep the girl, oh ye of shallow mind. Focus on the inner beauty. Advice to girl in my example above: are you kidding us? You need to split from that guy like wheat from chaff.

    Now, one might claim my simple opposing example is extreme, but I think not. We're fundamentally talking about equivalent and opposing attraction switches. The man as leader, provider, and protector is a fundamental female ideal–and is key to her feeling comfortable enough to settle down (and giving her genes the best chance of enduring into future generations).

    Likewise, the woman with a low waist-to-hip ratio, ample breasts, and high facial and body symmetry is the hardwired male ideal and increases his probability of achieving the same objective (of increasing the likelihood his seed endures into the next generation's gene pool).

    Another example of the "pretty lies" society likes to tell itself.

  9. Let's not forget there is more to a woman than her waist-to-hip ratio, chest, and looks. Yes, it is important for women more than men to look attractive. But if that was the only, or even most important, factor than the stereotypical sorority girl would make a great wife.

  10. Athol Kay says:

    @ Jenna – I have that well covered…

    http://www.marriedmansexlife.com/2010/03/10-critical-things-in-how-to-choose.html

    http://www.marriedmansexlife.com/2010/02/shes-nice-place-to-visit-but-i-wouldnt.html

    Though I would argue that baby making good health is the most heavily weighted factor. Also the entire point of the case study was that the girl in question was supposedly exceptional… except for being overweight and the guy in question couldn't force himself to be interested in her. So…

    I'm not making this stuff up, just reporting it. Sex Rank is quite brutal at times.

  11. Athol Kay says:

    @ MNL – ok who are you??? Every one of your comments is a gem. Seriously.

  12. Mr. B – yes a girl can be "big" but as long as she is proportional and a good waist to hip ratio she can be beautiful. It's the spare tire people that are fail.

    That's because it's the middle-fat (the spare tire) that negatively impacts her thyroid's hormone production and leads to infertility. Severely overweight women are less fertile, just as severely underweight women are. That's why really fat or really skinny people tend to look rather androgynous.

  13. The Social Pathologist says:

    Gluttony is a sin. No way of avoiding the fact.

  14. Duke of Earl says:

    Thanks Athol Kay.

    Your observation about God making women attractive to men is a good one.

    Thinking about it, prior to our own time there weren't whole batteries of medical tests that could be done to determine a woman's suitability for motherhood.

    Being able to give a quick once over to determine features we see as attractive and those features having a strong correlation to good health and suitability for producing healthy rugrats just makes sense.

  15. Encourager says:

    Athol, I just started a blog about trying to get my husband to be more alpha and am trying to figure out some of the linkage, trackback aspects, so I am using this comment on an old blog post of yours to see if I can accomplish it! Thanks for the space. :o)

  16. Jay Stang says:

    Candice Watters is part of the problem. An overweight woman is wrong in so many ways. In 1 Corinthians 6, Paul says our bodies belong to God and are temples to Him. Why shouldn't we keep our bodies in shape, especially since it is obvious that God did not create us to be fat. The multitude of health problems that accompany obesity or even being overweight are evidence of that. Candice Watters would probably be the first to tell you that getting tattoos are a sin (full dislosure: I have three), but has no problem with overweight women. Candice might be packing a few extra pounds herself.

    An overweight woman can not chase your kids around, or feed them healthy food to maximize their chances at success. What is she doing while you are at work? Porkin' up the kiddos.

    I would also say that an overweight woman will increase her chances of being cheated on, since there are better examples of female pulchritude almost everywhere you look. A man who can't bring himself to be attracted to his girlfriend before marriage, kids and everything else that puts weight on a woman will eventually go look for leaner pastures.

    I made sure I married a woman who lived a fit lifestyle. She has a flatter stomach than I do, except when she is pregnant.

  17. Anonymous says:

    "It doesn’t get much sexier than being a religious leader for Alpha Male inducing gina tingle"

    Please don't sexualize everything. For Christians, we have very deep emotional stirrings along with the regular tingles, and the former can trump the latter if the rest of our beings determine that said person is bad spouse material. People can fall in love with overweight people, and the first person's comments here were blatantly disgusting and stupid. However, I've wandered myself what it is about slenderness that's attractive, and I determined, "Oh, it must just be because it equals "'good health'". Apparently I was right.

    I also strongly disagree about marrying outside the faith; you yourself have shown the problematic mentality that can come from even basically good guys with ammoral bents. But you're right about one thing: don't hide in a church either. And never, ever limit yourself to the extreme Daddy-rules courtship model.

    Jennifer

  18. As a Christian minister who does relationship etc…counseling, this is a difficult issue. But the article is a very honest one and telling it like it is, IS useful and beneficial. And I do have to counsel obese and rotund women, as well as very skinny(bulimic and anorexic) women. And it comes down to self-image issues almost invariably. Obesity is not a 'act of God' that is beyond control but is very controllable without going to any thin or fat extreme. But you got to love and respect your body/temple. If not, you will have weight issues(and health issues related to being obese).
    Oh, and I find it interesting that there are a couple of Pretenders that left comments. That is, people pretending to be Christian but aren't. Quoting the Bible Does Not make you a Christian! But it is your free choice to Pretend to be one…Good post

  19. ledbyFAITH says:

    I liked the post and certainly wouldn't argue about any of the major points you made, but allow me to take issue with at least one thing. I do find it 'funny' that you titled the post "Why Doesn't God Answer Prayers to Make Christian Men Attracted to Overweight Christian Women?"….and then offered no single instance or evidence that God hasn't/doesn't/wouldn't answer such a prayer, just a few snide flavored probably's.

    I don't believe it's wise to speculate at all on what the young man in question may or may not have prayed about or how much faith he had in those prayers (which the Bible indicates is a primary key to prayer…but that's another issue for another site!). Humans have all sorts of 'hard-wired' urges and desires, just because they're 'natural' doesn't mean they lead down the path to a happy life or happy/healthy longterm relationship – or (and especially) that happiness and fulfillment can't be acheived unless you turn yourself over to them (come to think of it, the Bible actually covers that too).

    Oh well, was a fun read anyway, thanks for letting me troll. :)

  20. Athol Kay says:

    LedbyFAITH – The fact that you agree that prayer must be successful for a man to be attracted to an unattractive woman makes my point fabulously.

  21. Taking stock of my own social ranking, I have pretty much made peace with fat women. What I find troubling about some of them (at least the one who's my wife), is that they let their fat-ness supress their desire to act sexual and to be attractive. My wife has many times indicated that her reticence to play (or to buy really nice clothes) is that she's fat. Plus, for people for whom fat is a "no-go", you need to beware that most people who've been fat for a significant time will be fat "forever", regardless of diet (NYTimes 12/28/11 http://goo.gl/HJgCM ), so you need to know your mate's full history.

    Incidentally, I grew up in a religious community, where marriages are usually arranged through networks of family and friends. I'd hear my mom gossip about who's being proposed for whom and who might be good for whom. Looking back, there was obvious ranking going on.
    Jason

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