I was talking to a friend of mine the other day, and she shared a personal struggle that she and her husband are going through with me. She said that although her husband is devoted and kind to her, serves at church with her, and even buys her thoughtful gifts, she just can’t get past this one hurdle in their relationship. And, he can’t seem to get past it either. It’s starting to affect their otherwise amazing relationship, and their sex life has come to a screeching halt.
My friend’s experience isn’t unique. In fact, I have heard this kind of story many times.
So, what is it?
The problem lies in the way a husband addresses his wife’s appearance TO HER — what he says and how he says it. We NEVER forget it, and it greatly affects how we feel about our marriage.
As I shared in a previous blog post, “10 Questions your Wife Asks Herself Everyday”, women have a tremendous need to be reassured that our husband still finds us desirable on a regular basis. This may seem insecure to some, but deep down, I feel it too. I want my husband to ADORE me. I want him to think I’ve still “got it”. I want him to WANT me — to think I’m beautiful, fun, interesting, and intoxicating.
When I’ve talked to other wives about this, I’ve found that this is nearly a universal need.
So, what happened with my friend that I mentioned at the beginning of this post?
Her husband mentioned that she needed to lose weight. He didn’t say it in a mean way or in disgust. He just said it. And, it stung.
All my friend heard was, “You are not good enough, and I don’t desire you in your current state.”.
But, truth be told, this isn’t the case at all. He is crazy about her and WANTS HER. His statement had nothing to do with his love for her. He just thought he would nudge her to “get healthier” even though she is a completely healthy person. He told her that he just wanted her to look more like the young bride in their wedding portrait. Ouch.
However innocent his request truly was, it devastated my sweet friend…like these statements tend to affect most of us.
Husbands, please hear me out on this. We want you to be honest with us, but we need to know that YOU ADORE US JUST AS WE ARE. As husband and wife, we are both going to change physically through the years. I’ve yet to meet a bride that looks exactly like she did in her wedding picture.
Honestly, Ladies and Gents, should that really be the goal?
We live in an increasingly superficial culture that places too much value on appearance. Women are constantly compared to one another and always feeling a little “less than” all the photo-shopped, picture-perfect images plastered on our screens. I feel it too. I do.
But, THE LAST PLACE, we need to feel this way is AT HOME, from our husbands –the one person who has vowed to love us for life…through the highs and lows…including weight gain and loss.
Husbands, your wife wants to look good for you, but telling her that she needs to lose weight or look like another woman that you find attractive only makes her feel inadequate, unloved, and unsexy. These kind of negative feelings will sabotage your sex life and ultimately make your marriage difficult and unpleasant.
After giving birth to four babies, my body certainly looks different than it did on our wedding day. How could it not?
Just the other day, I was getting ready for bed and caught a glimpse of my belly in my dresser mirror. I paused to take in the less-than-tone stomach with little stretch marks as a reminder of life growing inside. When Dave walked in the room, I dropped my head, bewildered, and said,
“Gosh, I need to hit the gym harder. My body has gone through so many changes over the years. I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to get back in shape after this baby.”.
I didn’t hear anything for a few seconds, so I looked up to see if he heard me. When I caught eyes with Dave, all I saw was reassurance. He said,
“Ashley, I couldn’t be more attracted to you. You are beautiful just as you are.”.
Then, he pulled me in to a big embrace and jokingly said, “I kind of like the variety you’ve given me over the years.”. I couldn’t help but smile.
In those few minutes, Dave reaffirmed his desire for me. He let me know that he loved me for who I am — not just my body. Yes, I completely understand that men are extremely visual and our physical appearance is important. But, it is not ALL of us. It does not define us.
Husbands, do you think you can embrace the variety that your wife will sometimes have in her appearance? It’s good to remember that we all experience change in our appearance due to age, weight gain or loss, illness, etc.. Don’t you want your wife to embrace YOUR variety in appearance as well?
Critical words are a surefire way to kill the intimacy in your marriage. Pressuring your spouse to lose weight or get a body like “so-and-so” will only create more distance between the two of you. You cannot force your spouse to change; he/she has to want to change on his/her own.
Instead of being critical, try and find ways to get exercise together. Make a date out of it. Go to a healthy cooking class together. Whatever you do, DON’T BE CRITICAL. Reaffirm your desire for one another with you words and actions.
Husbands, if you want to see your wife smile and enhance your intimacy, tell her how beautiful she is. Show her how much you desire her — body and soul. Pursue her with your words and actions.
You will make her feel like the most gorgeous woman in the world when you do this.
For more information on how to spice up your sex life, check out a FREE video from our popular “Best Sex Life Now” series, by clicking here.
Thank you so much for reading, sharing, and commenting. Be blessed.