I am not saying that one dress in a way inappropriate to the occasion. Work requires work clothing. Some days call for grungy outfits to do grungy jobs.

I am also not saying I can ever be as lovely as Hope. Thank God I am married to a person who has learned to love me even when I look unattractive. Someday, in the natural order of things, she probably will have to care for a man who is dying and nobody looks good dying. The dead look better in our culture than the dying.

But that does not excuse taking her love for granted. Each day must include gentle words and gentle deeds to demonstrate my love to her, but it also includes looking as good as I reasonably can to please her. Within the bounds of what is proper, Hope is the standard and making her eyes light up when I come into the room a goal.

So I get a hair cut, try to dress as she would have me, and keep my weight in check (usually!). Why? Not because she would not love me without the effort, God knows she would, but because I wish to please her. How could a man care less about what his beloved thinks of his appearance than his boss?

Marriage is not just about romance, but romance helps. Romance is fueled by beauty and too many of us have given up. I dress for Hope and that is hopeful for romance to come. Nobody else should dress for Hope, but many men should dress more hopefully if they still wish for romance.

John Mark Reynolds is the founder and director of the Torrey Honors Institute, and Professor of Philosophy at Biola University. In 1996 he received his Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Rochester. John Mark Reynolds can be found blogging regularly at Scriptorium Daily.

Publication date: April 12, 2011