It’s in the media and tabloid headlines: supermodel Christie Brinkley’s heated divorce from fourth husband Peter Cook, a handsome, successful businessman who she believed to be a "good" husband. However, talk of marital misconduct and addiction to pornography have surfaced, causing her to now believe otherwise.
My first reactions to the recent news reports have been mixed: anger at a cheating husband, hate for pornography, and a "what’s new?" cynical attitude at yet another celebrity marriage gone bad. Even fleeting heartless thoughts that Christie Brinkley’s supermodel image and Sports Illustrated swimsuit photos have actively participated in tearing down the moral fiber of families. Why should she be surprised when it comes back to destroy her own marriage and family?
But then gratefully, repentance gently seeped in and cleansed my heart of my thoughtless first reactions. My thoughts turned from condemnation to compassion, sorrow, and grief over the breaking of Christie’s heart and the tearing apart of her family. I began to recognize her as a woman who’s seemingly fairytale marriage took a terrible twist, instead of a celebrity who’s reaping what she’s sown.
In her supermodel pursuit, it probably wasn’t Christie’s intention to destroy relationships, families, and distort men’s minds through her sexy image. No, from her reaction now, it seems she was pursuing the same things most women want: a "good" marriage with a faithful husband. One report quoted her as saying, "All I ever wanted was a happy family." Perhaps she believed like most of us do at times, that the road to these "good" goals is to be the most outwardly beautiful and desirable woman possible.
Unfortunately as Christie has found out, it just isn’t true.
Thankfully, Scripture doesn’t leave women answerless when it comes to pursing a happy marriage. 1 Peter 3:1-4 gives us the outline on how to not only win the heart of a man, but more importantly, the heart of God. It doesn’t come with posing for magazine covers, swimsuit editions of men’s magazines, or being hailed as one of the most beautiful, sexy women in the world. Instead it’s found through culturally unconventional methods cultivated inwardly: a submissive attitude; chaste, respectful behavior; and a gentle and quite spirit. God says when a wife practices these, she can help bring a man who’s being led away by the temptations of the world and God’s call on his life to be a faithful husband, back home.
Wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but 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.
As a woman, it’s easy to be distracted and spend more time and energy working on my outside attributes and miss the most important aspects of my feminine qualities that matter more, the ones God says hold the true key to my husband’s heart.
Surprisingly, just as God turned my thoughts toward Christie from condemnation to compassion, He also changed my heart from thinking of Christie’s husband as just another "creepy" middle-aged guy. Instead, I began to see him as a man who’s also bought into a lie.
I don’t know his motives. Maybe he genuinely set out with a desire to be a good husband. Perhaps he thought marrying a supermodel guaranteed happiness and would protect him from struggling with the things men struggle with. After all, how many other men have tried to break free from pornography and thought marriage would fix them. (Marriage to a supermodel seems like the ultimate solution, at least that’s the theory.) And it’s not just non-Christian men, but also many who claim the name of Christ. But it never does, because it’s a heart matter — just like being beautiful as a woman is a heart issue.
Over the years, I’ve been learning the key for any woman to having a truly good marriage is much more about what’s happening on the inside of both partners than the outside. I’m glad God corrected my thoughts about Christie Brinkley and touched my heart with His gentle compassion. When it comes to heartache, whether a supermodel or stay-at-home mom, it hurts. I pray Christie discovers the true path to finding the happy family she’s always longed to have.
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