In Ezekiel 24:16, Jehovah refers to Ezekiel’s wife as “the desire of your eyes.” Too many wives miss the significance of that description. We think that once we have caught ourselves a man, we don’t have to worry about our appearance. If this verse means anything, it means that Ezekiel loved to look at his wife, that her appearance pleased him. That doesn’t just happen. In some manner, she paid enough attention to herself to stay attractive to him.
Now, that verse also says a lot about Ezekiel. She was the desire of his eyes, no one else. She was the one he wanted to look at, not every other woman who might display herself in an inappropriate way. He wasn’t in the market for another woman. Notice also, Ezekiel was thirty when the book began, and no more than 36 when it ended. He was not an older man with a decreased libido. To even a young Ezekiel there was one woman and one woman only.
But that still doesn’t take away from the idea that a godly woman is careful about her appearance. I am not going to tell you that you have to stay a size 4—if you ever were to begin with. Carrying his children and preparing his meals, plus the added responsibility of hospitality that in the Scriptures always involved sharing a meal, precludes any notion of a girl-like figure lasting through fifty years of marriage. I am, however, supposed to be a living sacrifice, Rom 12:1. That means I take care of my health as surely as it meant keeping those animal sacrifices healthy and unblemished. It means I exercise self-control in all things, Gal 5:23; 2 Pet 1:6. I heard one woman say, “To lose weight I have to be hungry, and I just won’t do that.” With that attitude, Jesus would have turned the stones into a four course meal.
Yet even the most conscientious of women put it on. Unless you are genetically predisposed to thinness, there comes a time when either your metabolism has slowed too much with age or you are under activity restrictions for medical reasons which make it more difficult to exercise it off. Discouragement is constant. Men can leave the butter off their bread and lose ten pounds in a month. You can leave out both the butter and the bread, and maybe you will lose half a pound that month, but you will gain it and four more back the next weekend when you have company or cook for a church potluck. You simply accept that your waistline will thicken, and a good man will understand. But a Christian always exercises moderation and self-control, and always cares for her Temple, 1 Cor 6:19,20, even a slightly larger one.
But if your figure is the only thing that makes you the desire of your husband’s eyes, you obviously picked the wrong man. Watching your weight is only a small part of a woman’s appearance and, except in cases endangering health, probably the most superficial. A lot can be said for just staying presentable. Are you clean and sweet-smelling? Is your hair clean and combed? Are your clothes clean, pressed, and mended? It is just as impossible to live with a woman and never see her in curlers and cold cream as it is to live with a man and never see him sweaty and unshaven, but is she still shuffling around in those dingy scuffs and ratty terrycloth robe at noon? Does she save her nice clothes, makeup, and hairdos for others, and always wear holey jeans or frumpy house dresses and leave her hair scraggly and unkempt for him, even when it isn’t window-washing, bean-picking, or floor-scrubbing day?
The worthy woman made “for herself carpets of tapestry, her clothing is fine linen and purple” Prov 31:22. We certainly do not advocate living beyond one’s means, but the wife should make some effort to look nice—for him. It costs more time and money than most of us have to look glamorous, but just a little time and effort would give some husbands a welcome change, plenty enough for him to call her “the desire of my eyes.”
The most important way for women to stay beautiful is to “adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefastness and sobriety, not with braided hair and gold or pearls, but (which becomes women professing godliness) with good works” 1 Tim 2:9,10. Many a plain woman has become beautiful to me as I came to know her because of her character shining through, but no amount of makeup has hidden for long the ugliness of others.
One cannot make her features more regular or remove the flaws from her skin, but she can clean up her soul and with God’s help, keep it white as snow. She can keep from becoming hard and bitter. She can keep her voice from screeching and whining. She can keep her face from scowling and sneering.
A man has no business expecting his fifty-year old wife to look twenty-five, but he has every reason to expect her character to grow younger until she becomes “as a little child” Mark 10:15. As the king advised in Proverbs 31:10: Grace is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears Jehovah, she shall be praised.
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 3:4.