Wives, Please Educate Us Husbands On Wife Body Image Issues
Since Sister @SeekingChange recommended I make this a thread…Here it is.
In the “Obstacles to Intimacy” thread, wives shared their real struggles with body image…
- How can we as husbands help in the healing process?
- What can we pray for or do that we can show that we love you as you are and truly mean it?
- If you are self-conscious about a particular body part or area on you, how can we nurture you to help and encourage healing any shame or undue pressure?
There is a lot to this. First, the husband needs to realize that there has been and is a constant barrage of messages given to a girl/woman that she falls short of the “perfect body”. We see it visually by what models, actresses, and beauty contestants are chosen. We may hear it in the media, by the comments we overhear or are even directed at us by boys, men, other girls/women, and maybe even hear it from our own family members. If dieting was a big deal in the FOO, then there is a message given about there is a “perfect body” and we don’t have it. I have heard that for every negative comment, you need 10 positive comments to override it. Frankly, that is impossible in our society.
I do believe it is good for a husband to speak affirmation and love to his wife, speaking about her character but even about her physical attributes is needed, even if you feel she doesn’t believe you and you feel like it does no good. I believe every woman wants to believe your words, she wants to feel like you describe her, and your words can be the hope she holds onto as she fights this battle. I know that honesty is important in relationships, but there is a difference in being honest and not knowing when to keep your mouth shut and not having any tact. Unthoughtful words can be quite damaging, so always think before you speak….don’t lie, but what is the most loving way you can answer a question? Does your unsolicited opinion need to be said?
Secondly, I strongly believe there is a spiritual battle involved in this. More than likely, your wife has strongholds in her life, that can only be broken spiritually. We have an active enemy who is out to steal, kill, and destroy us. He has no problem speaking lies, casting shame, and blinding us to truth, so that we, unbeknownst to us, are living in bondage, but it just feels “normal”. Pray over your wife. Come against any spirit you see that is not of the kingdom of God. Be her warrior in the spiritual realm. Pray that she puts on her own armor and fights this too, because this really will be a battle only she can win with Christ, no one can win it for her….but to have a fellow warrior covering her and watching her back, always makes a battle easier to conquer. Two is better than one.
I believe most women want to know that they are loved and wanted for who they are. The caution here is that if too much focus is put on a current status or look, that woman knows that she will be changing, it’s inevitable in life, which then will put your love and desire into question when that happens. If you focus on a certain weight, what happens when she gains or loses some weight, whether it’s from child-bearing, hormones, health issues, or just life, do you no longer love her or find her attractive. What if you always comment on her perky boobs, or that “perfect size”…. what happens when they grow and then shrink during pregnancies and breast feeding? What happens, if God forbid, she loses them to cancer? What happens when she gets older and there is no chance of “perky”? I know that we all have preferences, but do you prefer your physical preferences or the preference of your wife, no matter what state she is in?
One of the best examples I have read is a husband who looked at what society says are flaws and what his wife viewed as her “flaws”, and actually looked beyond them and saw the story of them. Her body held the markings of their story….. stretch marks and that extra pooch on her belly was the story of the life she carried that was of her and him, scars were reminders of some health issues that they went through together, the lines around her eyes and mouth reminded him of the laughter they have shared. If the husband has a hard time seeing that beauty, I suggest that you men pray and ask the Lord to give you His eyes for her and that He would open your eyes to her beauty, even in the physical imperfections, even if it goes against a personal preference but it’s a preference for your wife over any other woman. Steven Curtis Chapman’s message of “I Will Be Here” is one a woman needs to hear. The message of our Father of “I will never leave you or forsake you.” is a message we all need to hear.
One thing a husband can do, once he really sees beauty in the parts that are imperfect and “flawed”, so that she can hear and see the sincerity in your voice and eyes, and this is very vulnerable for both… and that is to have his wife stand or lie before him naked, and then you speak about the beauty and your feelings of those parts she dislikes/hates. Don’t just focus on the “good” parts, but speak about that stomach she hides, the thighs she can’t look at, the breasts that sag, the wrinkles and dimples that show her wear and tear. Cherish them with a tender touch and a light kiss. Let her hear your praises to God for what the story those imperfections signify.
The wife, at some point, has to come to the place where she will have to choose to trust her husband, no matter what she feels.
Those are some thoughts from me.
I can relay what my Wifey has told me, and what I have learned so far. She wants to be told she is beautiful, desireable, lovely, and valuable regularly. Tell her every day, multiple times a day, how pretty she is and how glad you are you married her. Depending on how entrenched her negative self view is, she will propbably think you are lying, or trying to coerce her into sex. Make sure this does NOT only happen when she in a state of undress where all she thinks you see is her boobs or butt. Focus on a non-sexual part of her body and explain to her why you like it. Typically for us men this is difficult because we don’t do words good. I’m still learning how to love and nurture my Wifey well, hopefully this is helpful.
I think being very specific is important for authenticity. If I am told “You are beautiful.” I just think, “No, I am not.” and in my mind I am comparing myself to what I know to be beautiful. If I am told “I love the way your skin tone looks under candle light.” It seems much more possible to be true and not something I can directly compare to an unrealistic standard of beauty in my mind.
i probably have a lot to say about it (one being do tell her she is beautiful to you and tell her often) but i was up late last night trying to deal with the trials and tribulations of life and seeking solace and i was perusing Jack Hayford’s site. I clicked on one of his articles having to do with marriage although i wasn’t looking for ones on that topic, i was glad i read it and i was ASTOUNDED at what he wrote and immediately thought of TMB forum and how it might benefit especially husbands who sometimes tend to be dissatisfied with their marriage bed and specifically their wife sexually even though the article is not talking about sex.
As a man I’m not here to answer the question but want to share something that is true for me. You may find this helpful if you are in a loving marriage and have been for some time, although I cannot speak for your husband he may feel the same way.
Early in our marriage I was more concerned with my wife’s appearance. She had a wart that she considered removing, and I really wanted it gone because to me it marred an otherwise very attractive feature. She never did remove it. But in time, as love grew, my view of her has changed. I love that wart because it distinguishes her as my wife. I love her scar from surgery on her lower abdomen. I love her birthmarks. Her breasts look best when free from the constraints of a bra, when they can fall where they may. When my hands explore her body they go over these marks and I think, “this is my girl!”. It would be hard to convince her that her flaws are not flaws, but in my eyes she can do no wrong. I love every inch, and I’ll take her just as she is!
I think that most husbands need to realize this is a long process. Your wife had probably minimum of 20 years of negative input before you and in reality, it still continues after marriage. Personally, I had to make the choice to really limit what is coming into my life. I don’t get women’s magazines, I bounce my eyes from the magazines in the grocery store, I don’t follow anyone on Instagram that posts “body shots”, we don’t watch and tv or movies with nudity and both look away (to each other) when someone is in skimpy clothes or being very sexual. One sweet thing my husband does is whenever something like that comes up on a screen or in person, he looks at me and says “I don’t want that, I want you.”
Genuine delight in your wife’s body, expressed over and over (and I mean YEARS), explaining why you like her body, can help. My husband expresses how he loves my bottom, thinks my back is sexy, loves my breasts, and has been very vocal over and over for years now. I’m finally at a place that I believe him. It still puzzles me, but I believe him, and now I am able to comfortably show my body to him.
No matter what is said, all of it would be negated if my husband was looking at other women.