Yes, you love them, but what happens when you don't find your partner physically attractive anymore?
"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder," or so they say. They also say "beauty is only skin deep." Most people would agree that at least some level of mutual physical attraction is a must for a relationship to begin and then thrive.
But when significant changes to your partner's physical appearance occur—is that a deal breaker?
Despite advances in aging research, weight loss strategies, and cosmetic surgery, none of us will look the same at sixty that we did at thirty. A bit of graying and softening around the middle happens to the best of us as we age. Those natural changes should endear us to one another, not end a relationship (insert "trophy" wife here).
Changes that occur to both of you—graying hair, wrinkles, sagging skin, and shifting body parts—should not change the way you feel about each other. Neither should changes that occur due to pregnancies or physical illness.
But what do you do about dramatic changes that signifcantly alters the way your partner looks?
What if they gain over 100 pounds or refuse to brush their teeth? Do the same standards of "love them, not their looks" still apply? Some would say "yes".
Does focusing on your partner's physical appearance mean you're shallow and superficial? Your partner's personality hasn't changed (has it?) and they still love you, so why can't you keep your promise to love them for better or worse?
I would argue that you should, if you can. But, it is not completely fair to say your partner is still the same person you married. The change in their physical apperance may shift their personality, make it hard for them to do the things you two once enjoyed together or limit them from trying new things that you are eager to try.
Being physically intimate might also be more difficult due to position restrictions or your lack of physical desire for them (loving them and desiring them are not the same thing). This can all have a real and lasting impact on your relationship.
Also, hurt and resentment can build if you feel like you don't matter enough for them to make the effort to look good for you. When you first got together, you both probably took great pains to make a good impression and to look attractive for one another. You would do your hair, wear an outfit that made you look and feel your best, and generally try to please your partner's eye.
When that effort is no longer made, the message sent is that you and the relationship don't deserve that level of time and attention. Your feelings and requests for consideration in this area feel dismissed as unimportant. When this starts to happen, your partner is sowing the seeds of resentment that can eventually destroy your relationship.
It is important to note that you may view requests for your partner to change their appearance as unreasonable or controlling—and they might be. Pressuring them to wear clothes that make them uncomfortable, asking them to engage in a form of exercise they don't enjoy or to do their hair or makeup in a way they don't like is not okay.
It is also important to know that you always have the right to deny those requests if your partner asks them of you, too. But what is not okay is to ignore the real request behind them. Trying to find a solution that addresses both of your needs is a much healthier way to go.