“Never, ever underestimate the power of your words to build up or tear down the fabric of your marriage.” —Anonymous
Spoiler alert: Her question has nothing to do with the outfit. No wonder it makes most men’s heads spin.
The truth is that negative body image is something that 97% of women and 80-95% of men struggle with.
It takes all shapes and forms, and manifests itself very different in each marriage. (In this show we will primarily focus on the wife’s quest for her husband to verbally affirm her body image, but we recognize it happens both ways.)
Even if “Does this outfit make me look fat?” isn’t a wording that exists in your marriage, we all face similar underlying issues and seek our spouse’s affirmation of attractiveness.
In 2004 Dove did a campaign called Real Beauty after their international research revealed that only 2% of women described themselves as beautiful.
They did however find that 88% of women said being loved and having a strong relationship or marriage are of great importance in making them feel beautiful.
The verdict: the question isn’t about the outfit – she’s seeking acknowledgment and validation.
What she is really wondering is: “Do you see me?” and “Am I attractive to you?” She is seeking affirmation of her identity and attractiveness to her husband.
- Wife: Choose not to set your husband up for failure– Ask something different. Ask for what you need. Consider these alternatives that allow for a win-win: Is this what you’d like to see me wear tonight? How does this look? May I have a hug?
- Men: Validate your wife on all levels, every day– Rather than get surprised by the tough question, make a habit of acknowledging and validating who your wife is spiritually, intellectually, and physically. Then she won’t be left wondering how you feel about her and rely on answers about her wardrobe for affirmation.
- Both: Take away the friction– The grass is always greener where you water and nurture it. Maybe it’s time you got rid of some of the clothes that cause uncertainty. Maybe it’s time you resolve to make healthier eating or exercising choices. It’s definitely time that you feed your marriage and spouse what they need. Use your words and actions to communicate desire and acceptance of who your spouse is as an individual.
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