Do you ever wish you could get inside your husband’s head? However open and honest we might want to be in our marriages, there are still some things we wish our spouses knew without us having to tell them. For this reason, I’ve decided that every now and then we’ll address some of these tricky topics ourselves. I’ll start today with one of the trickiest topics…
Your husband cares about the way you look.
We have heard many times from many sources that “men are visual.” Still this is a tough topic to broach for many men because historically we have made them feel like it is immature or shallow of them to put so much importance on physical appearance. It’s also a tough one because, since our husbands love us, they do not want to add to the onslaught of unhealthy messages we receive from culture and the media that we simply are not good enough. How, then, can we take an honest look at this topic without condemning men for their “shallow” feelings or condemning ourselves for not measuring up?
Let’s start by looking back to what it was like before we got married. I don’t know about you, but I wanted to look cute every time I knew I was going to see Tony. I wanted him to notice me and to be attracted to me. Thankfully, he did and he was. Understanding the ways that guys are visually stimulated worked to my advantage in those days. I understood it and I leaned into it. I made an effort to look good because I cared about the way he thought about me. I never got mad at him or felt resentful when I was looking for the perfect jeans so that he might take a glance as I walked away. I wanted him to be drawn to me.
I’ve heard women say countless times that it is frustrating to them that their husbands no longer romance them and do sweet things for them once they get married. As women, we want to be pursued by those thoughtful little details like we were in the beginning of the relationship. In the same way, I’ve come to learn that men felt similarly pursued by us when we used to make an effort to look our best just to see them. Just like we might miss the flowers and the love notes, he might miss seeing you in something other than yoga pants, a baggy shirt, and a top knot.
Really, I’m preaching to myself here. Up until very recently, I spent a lot of time moping around the house feeling frumpy and frustrated with the way I look. After giving birth to three beautiful babies and a couple of serious depressive breakdowns, I am a far cry from the cute little thing that used to strut her stuff to get noticed by the guy she had a crush on. I much more closely resemble a little teapot… short and stout… than the girl with the curves in just the right places.
I started to see that my attitude about my appearance was taking a toll on my relationship with my husband. I couldn’t accept a compliment without rolling my eyes nearly all the way out of my head. I didn’t want to go anywhere because, jeez, then people would have to SEE me… those poor people.
I know my health and physical well being need to change, so I’ve started to get serious and see a Naturopathic Doctor to address some of what I’m feeling. By the way, my doctor is super cool and has her own blog called Archer Friendly if you’re looking for healthy ideas. While I am starting to feel much better, I certainly have a long way to go before what I look like on the outside might match how much healthier I already feel on the inside. Since I’m not going drop forty pounds by tomorrow, I had to figure out how to feel better about myself NOW. Do you want to know what I did?
Three Things I’ve Done to Feel Better Now
First, I Reversed the Golden Rule.
In case you need a reminder, the “Golden Rule” says that we should treat others how we would like to be treated. It’s a great rule, let’s keep doing that. What I realized, however, is that when it came to the way I look and feel about myself, I often treat my girlfriends much better than I treat myself! Are you treating yourself like crap because of the way that you look? I was.
Before I could feel better, I had to acknowledge that I do not look the same as I once did and that I could still be beautiful. The lightbulb went on when a friend of mine was feeling frustrated about how she looks and the encouragement just poured out of me like a welcome cup of warm coffee. I wouldn’t stand by and let her feel that way, but I somehow thought it was acceptable to let myself be discouraged about the very same things. I need to stop being such a jerk to myself. I need to treat myself at least as kindly as I treat my friends when they are unhappy about the way they look.
Second, I Got a New Bra.
Yes, this was a practical move, but it was also emotionally and physically uplifting… if ya know what I mean. I hadn’t been fitted for a new bra since before I started having kids. Boy have things changed! I went into Soma, which is the same place I went over five years ago to get fitted. I remembered how kind they were and how many sizes and options they had. I walked out feeling instantly taller and prettier. A new bra is a wonderful thing! Having a proper fitting bra is important for your posture, back pain, and even alleviating the amount of pressure you might be putting on your joints. The right bra will also make a great difference in the way your clothes look and feel. Your cute outfit will look way cuter when you are wearing the right bra. Heck, even your sweatshirts look better with the right bra underneath!
Third, I Took a Makeup Lesson.
A few months ago I hired an esthetician to come over to my house to shape my eyebrows and make me over for a special occasion. It was a treat for sure, but what I learned that day lasted much longer than the makeup itself. She made me feel like I was already beautiful. She doted on me about my eyes, and my lips, and I could have cried hearing the sweet way she described that all she was doing was enhancing how naturally gorgeous I am. She made me feel precious and cared for, not like I was a shack that really just needed to be torn down and rebuilt. I needed her kindness more than I realized, but I also needed some practical tips, which she generously offered.
Hold up… I’m no Celine Dion, but yes, I did say that I hired someone to come to my house. If you live in or around the Seattle/Bellevue, WA area, you need to know about Go To Girl Beauty – Cecilia Lawson. She is delightful and professional. She has a tranquil space where she can treat you in downtown Bellevue, but if three small babies or a really demanding schedule are keeping you from getting out of the house, she comes to YOU!
If you are not fortunate enough to have a Cecilia nearby, you can go to my other personal makeup artist: MaskCara. She is sweet and funny and oh so easy to learn from! Here’s her Baseball Makeup tutorial – it makes more sense when you read the post. This video made me believe I really could enjoy putting makeup on every single day. If I can do it, you can do it, too!
What it comes down to is doing your best with what you’ve got.
When I feel better, I am kinder. It’s true for me and I’ll bet it’s also true for you. Your husband does not need you to be a size 2, unless you already are naturally a size 2. What he needs is for you to know that he thinks you ARE gorgeous and he wants you to love yourself enough to take good care of yourself. He would love for you to put in at least as much effort to look your best for him as you do when you get ready to go out with your girlfriends.
Still, we have to be careful with this topic. As I mentioned before, we are constantly bombarded with images of seemingly perfect women and pressure comes at us from all sides to measure up to unrealistic standards. This is not what I’m talking about. If you are a teapot like me, (or a pear, apple, 2×4, hourglass, or any other inanimate object that women’s bodies are often compared to) and your husband expects you to be ready for the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, there are probably deeper and more complicated issues to address. Your husband can be good and trustworthy and faithful and still want you to look good and take care of yourself.
What if, instead of making our husbands feel like jerks for caring about the way we look, we could remember how much we wanted to look good for them when we were first together? They don’t need us to look like someone else. They just want us to know that they are delighted when we thoughtfully make an effort to care about our own appearance the same way we are delighted when they thoughtfully bring home fresh flowers. Your husband does care about the way you look, but not more than he cares about you and wants to #staymarried.
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