We women are bombarded, daily, about how we look. We are very aware we live in a culture that values external beauty, and that beauty is defined in a very specific way by our culture. We are reminded in every movie, tv show, billboard, magazine ad, and catalog how our society defines "being attractive": being thin, being young, being fashionable.
No matter how much your wife knows she is not bound by those societal dictates, no matter how much of her own woman she strives to be, these things manage to slip into our subconsciousness unawares.
You husbands have an awesome job - to love your wives. You have to power - POWER - to build her up. You have the power to make her feel loved, attractive, and desired. You have the power to make her feel beautiful.
Because the truth is, most of us know we fall far short of society's demands of outer beauty. But we don't care so much, so long as you find us beautiful!
So, what can you do?
1. The Bathing Suit Rule
Your wife should never, ever put on a bathing suit without a sincere compliment from you. I do not care if her chest hangs down to her feet and her stomach rolls can hide small mammals: when she puts on a bathing suit (which is an act of bravery, believe me!), you better say something nice. Notice her right away, and say something to make her feel attractive.
If you say nothing, she hears your silences as loudly as your voice. Sure, maybe you find her attractive, but it is doing no one any good for you to feel that way and not express it so that your wife can clearly hear it. Often. Very, very often.
So say something.
And let's review Compliments, in general.
Acceptable: "Honey, you look goooood in that bathing suit."
Not acceptable: "You look nice."
"Nice" does NOT cut it, guys. "You look nice" is something you tell you mother or your sister, not your wife. Sure, it is a nice thing to say, but it is not worthy of your wife. "Nice" is safe. It is bland. It is boring. Save your "nice"s for family members and colleagues.
Tell your wife something only you as a husband have a right to say.
Come on! Put some sizzle into that relationship.
(One caveat: You can get away with "nice" every once in a while, IF you are using much better compliments other times. But use it sparingly.)
2. The Dress-Up Rule
One day I came down for church. I had taken extra time with my clothes, my hair, my make up. My husband looked up as I entered the room and said nothing about how I looked, but started talking to me about something else. My 5-year-old, on the other hand,jumped up and said, "Wow, Mom! You look so, so pretty. You could be a princess!" He then ran to me and kissed me. After which my husband said, "yes, you look nice today."
Who do you think made me feel more attractive?
This is very similar to the bathing suit rule. When your wife dresses up, say something. (Remember, not "You look nice").
You noticed her when you were dating. You sure noticed her when you were engaged. You definitely noticed her when you first got married. If you have gotten out of the habit of noticing her, make a better effort to be aware of her.
See, that is the point. It isn't that you are laying down and worshiping at the feet of our beauty. It is more about being noticed. Knowing our husbands see us. See something beautiful in us. Something attractive. Because we often do not feel beautiful or attractive.
Of course, she does not have to dress up in order for you to throw a compliment her way, either. Be lavish. Be crazy with your compliments.
3. The Lonely Hand Rule
I would like to subtitle this one: how to know if you kind of stink as a husband. But I won't.
Hold your wife's hand as much as you can. Holding hands has been a sign of affection since we were kids. Why would that be any different now?
There is nothing more frustrating than sitting next to your husband, your hand in plain sight, and he does nothing.
Not that it is always a good time to hold hands, but if you are regularly leaving your wife hanging, you are kind of stinking as a husband.
Hold her hand.
1) Bathing suit = compliments
2) dressing up = compliments
3) Hold her hand
Well, that is enough to get you started. You have your homework. Get to it!