Body Image as a Married Woman

I think the biggest thing I’ve come to realize here in the last three months since getting married is that when it comes to my life, I am no longer just living for myself: I am a pair. I am part of a team with my husband. I have now become a we.

And it’s exciting and it’s beautiful, but it’s something that has very tangible, practical manifestations: everything from bank accounts, to decisions about dinner or travel plans or holidays — everything now has to be taken into consideration from the standpoint of us. And that is so beautiful.

There is one aspect, though, that has proved to be harder than the others. And that is when it comes to my body.

You see, given my past with anorexia, coming to peace with my body has been a long, arduous journey. One that has taken over a decade to get to a good place. For the last several years, I have finally come to a place where I love my body and see it as the gift that God gave me: treating it kindly, nourishing it with healing foods, and celebrating the beauty that comes from Him and His handiwork.

And that was all well and good. But if I’m being brutally honest, I was still keeping myself at the very bottom of a healthy weight range.

Now that I’m married, and my body is no longer just mine, but also my husband’s…that just isn’t going to fly anymore. Not if we want to conceive children.

If we want to be able to grow a family, I need to be in the best physical shape to conceive — and I’m not talking about having a six pack of abs or the cardiovascular endurance of Michael Phelps. Being in the best physical shape to bear a child means being strong, healthy, with enough body fat to sustain life.

And I have been actively increasing my fat intake and improving strength for just that purpose.

But there’s one thing that comes with it that, I’m going to be honest, kind of snuck up on me this week and caught me off guard: my body is changing. And that’s been hard to accept.

Maybe this is too much TMI, but I’m sharing openly because I think this is something everyone struggles with from time to time.

But conceptually in my head, I can put my body into God’s hands and verbally embrace the concept of gaining weight and becoming stronger. But when clothes start fitting differently or not fitting, and looking in the mirror and seeing a different reflection, it has been challenging.

And perhaps I shouldn’t also be experimenting with “going natural” with my curly hair at the same time, because perhaps it’s too much of a change all at once, but I’m going to be honest, this week I struggled. You see, it’s time to start whipping out the blue jeans and as every woman know, their fit does not lie.

Thankfully, I am blessed with an incredibly patient husband who reassures me and affirms me in all the ways that speak to my soul. And for that I am so grateful.

But I am finding myself constantly having to remind myself of all the things I clung to back when I was in recovery from anorexia, having to weight restore and dealing with a changing body.

What I’m reminded of is that my body is merely a shell here on this earth for my eternal soul. It is the heart and spirit on the inside that is what is most important.

But what’s more is that I am loved. God created me: mind, spirit and body. And one of the greatest gifts that He bestowed upon women was the ability to bring children into the world. It is such a superpower, and is truly what I feel I was created to do in my life. And hopefully, one day soon I will so blessed as to do just that.

But in order to, I need to be physically in a place where I can. And I have to embrace all the changes that are going to arise from that.

At the end of the day, life is about so much more than what we look like in the mirror. I had a moment of clarity this morning, thinking: Sheesh Caralyn, there are people in the world who would love it if their only problem was feeling large today. And that quickly snapped me back to reality.

Just do the next right thing.

That has been the guiding light to my recovery when I’ve been in the trenches: just do the next right thing. Keep forward. Keep trusting God. Keep listening to the Holy Spirit and not the enemy.

Clear eyes. Full hearts. Can’t lose.

49 responses to “Body Image as a Married Woman”

  1. Caralyn you are so right, You need to be in excellent physical and mental condition. I wasn’t and having children nearly killed me twice. Worse still my lack of knowledge about toxic abuse nearly took out my babies! We cannot prepare for everything motherhood will throw at us but we can ask God to guide us. I told God I didn’t want to be a mother unless I was going to be a good one. The jury is still out on that one!

  2. It sounds like you have everything needed all lined up to begin a family, Caralyn! Thank you for being very honest, sometimes TMI is okay. God bless you guys! ❤️

  3. Caralyn, thank you for your honesty. Becoming and being a mother isn’t easy for many reasons. My body will NEVER look the same. But my husband cherishes me and each of our nine children. He loves me FOR me. And thank God he is so patient in reminding me of his love and in his support of my personal issues. God knew what He was doing when He brought us together, just as He did for you and your husband. You will do this. You have a strong and solid base in Our Father and that is manifested for you in your husband and family. We are all rooting for you! God Bless!

  4. I’m so proud of you for working your way through this with faith – all the more so because it’s scary at times. You are SO beautiful, inside and out. I’m so glad Stephen is affirming you through it too! Bravo to him! So proud of you both – you’re going to be amazing parents! Can’t wait to hear the happy news someday! Praying for you, sweet girl! You and God totally got this! ❤️

  5. Wow! What an honest post! I don’t think recovery from anorexia is ever completely in the past. Going through the body changes of menopause has really stirred up the challenges of eating disorders again for me. I am praying for you through this journey. Children are such a joy and blessing. I sincerely hope you and your husband will enjoy this wonderful journey yourselves.

  6. The Hungarian term for wife means other self. That is the way God originally intended it to be. When God made woman from Adam’s rib it was to signify that she was intended to be neither above him or beneath him in value.

  7. “That has been the guiding light to my recovery when I’ve been in the trenches: just do the next right thing.” So true! 😊

  8. I’m so proud of you for sharing something so vulnerable, Caralyn! Getting pregnant and having a baby can trigger thoughts no matter where you are in recovery. But you are so right. You will need a little extra weight to be healthy for pregnancy. I’m sure your husband will love watching your femininity shine in that way, too! Having a baby has changed my body. I don’t always like my little tummy pooch or wider hips. But at the same time, I’ve also never felt more feminine or confident about that. My body housed my child. It’s a miracle from God! I hope this gives you perspective.

  9. Caralyn, my jaw was nearly on the floor reading this post because I feel like I could have written much of it- we are going through very similar journeys right now. I actually just wrote a similar update on my own blog funnily enough. Thank you for being so honest with what you’re thinking and going through- I love your perspective ‘just do the next right thing’. I’m going to keep that top of mind. Through my own recovery I have been in awe of the grace my body (and God) has given me after treating it so poorly. I was able to recover and have my greatest answer to prayer, a baby, in 2022 but am currently trying to gain weight again to have another. I am hopeful for both of us for fully restored fertility, you will be in my prayers!! Hugs to you, sista . XO

  10. Caralyn, the body changes that happen with pregnancy and motherhood are super hard, that’s a fact. You are doing great! And side note, I love your curly hair!! I think it’s gorgeous. Anyway, just know you’re not alone in feeling the way you do. I just had baby 5 and am once again experiencing more changes. It’s never easy, but it’s still worth it. Children are a huge gift and blessing. ♥️ So excited for you and Steven!

  11. Although I am a committed reader, I am not one that responds, but today I want you to know I will pray you will continue on your path of healing in regards to your weight and appearance. I love the hair: straight or curly. (Straight: classy and sophisticated. Curly: sassy, fun. How great is it that you can wear your hair either way if you like!?)You are a beautiful young lady!! Please see yourself, and accept yourself as God sees and loves you!
    Sending you big hugs and lots of prayers!

  12. “….when clothes start fitting differently or not fitting…”

    My husband once gave me great advice, “buy bigger clothes.” It was funny because he is such a problem solver and that solution is so simple and silly. We all know nothing in life is actually simple like that, but I decided to pretend it was and just take his advice. 🙂

  13. I have been reading your emails for years but rarely if ever comment. You look well nourished and beautiful! Prayers for this next stage in your journey.

  14. You’ve got this! Can’t wait to read an updated where you tell us you are having a baby in the future. What an ultimate restoration. Children are such a gift from God. I do have to remind myself of that often enough when my three drive me crazy, but they totally are gifts from God. And now I’ve got Anna from Frozen singing in my head doing the next right thing. Sending lots of love and blessings!

  15. Amen, I can see and hear a strong and determined woman of God who has the wisdom to lead and be fruitful. God has chosen you for such a time as this; make your journey more beautiful by spreading your love and kindness around. As Solomon said, ‘For everything, there is a time.

  16. Lovely writing as always. Open about things most people who has the same experence struggling with ❤.
    I can agree on the ‘it’s hard to embrace when the body change out from what has been comfy’. What I’ve learn is our body need to change in different times of life. But don’t need to get overweighted just that is said. Keep adding good fet and protein and continue your exercises and you will gain what is good for Your body ❤. And you will get the strong body you need to carry a baby if that’s what you want. ✝️ in Faith and Trusting the Lord on the way and not stress You will get there! The Lords way isn’t ours. And He knows how you need it ❤. Lot’s of love back to you from Norway.

  17. I went through my over-dieting phase in collage. An understanding husband does help. I have three children and while some men seem to be hung up on looks, others aren’t. They’re more interested in the whole package. 😊

  18. Caralyn, your honesty is so refreshing. In addition to managing the usual ‘married person padding’ you are in an industry which fears the dreaded ‘camera 20’. God knew this. You are such a light to so many who are struggling and this too you will conquer because He has conquered and you are His. The key I think to overcoming body shame is not letting it hide in secret. You are using the key every time you write a blog.
    God bless you! Your children are going to nestle into that soft sweet body God gave you.

  19. You are absolutely beautiful! God has gifted you with the beautiful package of mind body and soul and I want you to remember – every single curve and shape and bit of wisdom is part of you becoming even more beautiful! I love that you are making the healthy decisions – As a social influencer – your impact will be that much more important! Hooray! My daughters are more curvy since children and me…well…I am aging ! Haha! – God shifts us around with each stage of life. As I cuddle my grandchildren – I won’t begrudge the lines and curves I’m getting 😉. YOU are glorious YOU! I can’t wait to see your wonderful posts as you continue your journey. Never forget I am so impressed with YOU! Hooray for YOU! Beautiful YOU!

  20. What I’m reminded of is that my body is merely a shell here on this earth for my eternal soul. It is the heart and spirit on the inside that is what is most important.

    This is the best part of your sharing .
    Truly our bodies are only the shell .
    Being detached from it is a starting point ; though we need to take care of this gift of life given by God !

  21. Caralyn,
    What a wonderful message to be putting out there. There are many women who have anorexia and many who don’t who struggle with body image and need to hear this message, myself included. I am 75 and have 5 children. All that and the ageing process has taken it’s toll on my body. I am only 118 lbs but only 4′ 11″. It isn’t so much the weight that bothers me, it the distribution of it. 🙂 Thank you for the reminder that our bodies truly are just a dwelling place for our soul, our spirit and God wants us to take care of them while we are here, but they are only temperary. Keep writing encouragement into the lives of your readers!!

  22. The hardest thing for me to accept at the time was the body of a 30 plus year old woman was not going to be the same body she had as an 18 plus year old girl. It doesn’t matter how hard you try, if you force that woman’s body to assume the shape/size of a teenager, the health suffers. A woman’s body is preparing for bearing children–hips widen, angles soften, breasts grow in preparation for feeding. That knowledge didn’t stop me from bawling my eyes out in the changing room of a store when my 34-A bra had to be changed to a 36-D when I was eight months pregnant, and the body I didn’t recognize in the mirror. But those changes were more than worth holding my precious baby in my arms. God knows what He’s doing–we just need to let go and surrender to His will. It all works out in the end if we do.

  23. Wow, this is such a fantastic piece, Caralyn. Thank you so much for sharing from the heart. What an encouraging, faith-filled message for young women everywhere. (And young men, too!) Your husband sounds like a wonderful person, too. God’s best to you both.

  24. Hi Caralyn! Thanks for being vulnerable and transparent. It’s one of the reasons Steven and your blogging family love you! I’m so glad you have realized and internalized “ It is the heart and spirit on the inside that is what is most important.” Hold that thought!!

  25. Thank you for being so honest and open. This is a topic that most women can relate to, myself included. I’m a mom of three and i was anxious and overwhelmed to see the change my body had to go through all three times.
    I love your positive attitude and your dependence on God through it all. You will discover that there’s plenty of beauty and joy even when your body looks different. And I pray that soon enough you and your husband will get to enjoy having your own precious gift from God and that will be worth it all.
    You look gorgeous, by the way!

  26. Prayers for you as you navigate a new phase in your life… that the Savior will keep you, that you will maintain the recovery that is so important, that you both will be blessed. Thank you for being an open example to so many who need to hear your message.

  27. What an insightful message this was, Caralyn! Know that our bodies as women will change over time and that is as it should be. You are a stunning little woman and will be a beautiful mom, God-willing. Yes, our bodies matter and are sacred and the most blest you can be is to be cradling that tiny person, your CHILD!, in your womb. Wow! Stay beautiful inside and outside, and thank God every day for that wonderful husband.

  28. Congratulations, on your marriage! Indeed, image being married isn’t about how others see you, but how the love reveals itself to each other. Intimacy is about two hearts, becoming whole living as one, intimately!


    Hi! When you become pregnant, remember it’s about the baby! You are growing another human being (or God is!) in your body. It is completely normal to gain weight, have swelling, and experience so many other things, but when you hold the baby in your hands, you will forget all that, and after some time, return to normal. It’s all normal! The above book helps you to see what’s growing in the baby when and will help explain cravings you are having etc. Always pray and God will be with you to not fall into old thinking. You are a NEW creation in Christ. Focus on Him.

  30. My wife most of her life was petite. If it helps I think marriage is a God given opportunty for the husband to love the wife as she is; not was. I love her more as she became slim thick

  31. Thanks for sharing your struggle. I pray and trust that God will grant you a lasting victory. As I read your post, two Scriptures keep coming to mind (3 John 1:2 and 1 Peter 3:3-4). When thoughts of my physical body have been too strong for me, these verses have helped me to look at me through God’s eyes rather than just my own. Stay strong (1 Thessalonians 5:23).

  32. It’s been a few years since I read your blog. Congratulations on your marriage! That’s awesome! Your level of authenticity and transparency has not changed a bit. Thanks for being a consistent light here through your blog!

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