Physical Beauty in Old Age

Someone who has been attracted to his wife’s beauty for many decades is likely to have to confront the question of how to respond to a decline in her physical beauty in old age. It’s just life — as you get older, almost always physical beauty declines. Sometimes there are changes that are more demanding (especially if she puts on a good deal of weight — as, she might remind you, you are, too!)

I think that husbands should be able to find ways of dealing with this challenge. I think of two, in particular.

One of them is memory. Someone might think that the memory of a spouse’s young and luscious body would only make old age grate more. But that is not so, I think. My wife had an extraordinarily beautiful body when we met and married: a thin torso, very full breasts, a natural “wasp waist,” curvaceous hips and derriere, beautiful brown hair, and a pleasant face with small, but lovely, sparkling eyes. I was a lucky man.

I still am. She has put on much weight, the torso is no longer thin, the waste is thick, hips and derriere much larger. But she still has wonderful breasts to behold, a beautiful complexion, very lovely hair, and those sparkling eyes that still delight me.

Angela Lansbury, young and old

The memory of her youthful body still enchants me. It would be nice to have it still, but it is also nice simply to remember the delight of it. I had it for many years, and few men have been so blessed. I am grateful for that gift.

Besides memory, I find that another consolation regarding physical beauty in old age: a certain shift in me from a focus on sight to a focus on touch. Her body certainly doesn’t look as beautiful as it once did. But I am struck by how much I love to hold it, to feel it, caress it — most importantly, because it is not just “a body.” It is SHE! The one who has given me so much love over the course of a long marriage, the one who has played the most important role in raising my wonderful children, the one who has been my best friend for so many years! I delight to have my arms around her, to clutch her derriere, to run my hands over her arms, to run my hands through her hair, to kiss her lips. Different bodily aspects of her may not look as beautiful, but they still feel really wonderful to me. What a blessing!


  1. Mark

    The nuptial love that Pope John Paul II referred to is what comes to mind when you write this about your wife!

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