A woman will blossom with both outer and inner beauty when her husband really notices her, participates in life with her and tells her she looks great.
Mary sat across from me at our first mentoring session, and I asked her the question I always start with; “What do you want your life to look like, what is your calling, your purpose, your passion?” The seconds of silence turned to minutes; I waited. Finally, she barely spoke, “This is the most difficult question I’ve ever been asked; I don’t have an answer.”
I was not surprised. Mary is a middle-aged woman who has given her life to raising her family and supporting her husband. Mary went on to say, “I’ve spent so much time trying to give to my family, friends, and employer that I don’t even know what I want.” Mary was full of resentment, fear, and sadness, she was unhappy with her life without knowing why. She was sick with a chronic illness and looked and felt old. Mary gives and gives and it seems no one gives back.
The first thing I do is give Mary permission to take care of herself. It’s hard for her. She feels she has to “carve out” a place for herself in the family unit, at work, and with friends. Asking for what she needs will just cause trouble. She’s been the one who goes along with everyone else. Mary doesn’t have opinions; she goes with the flow. Or does she? Mary has a lot to say and a lot to give, however, she’s trained everyone around her to ignore her needs and use her to fill their needs.
But wait…this isn’t the girl you married…is it? The girl you married had dreams, opinions, she was full of energy and life, and you loved that about her. Mary is ready, what she needs is for you to support this journey of finding herself again. Encourage Mary to dream, to have a personal vision and to not only give love but to receive it. Here are the three things a beautiful woman’s husband does.
1. He really notices her. Mary starts to pay attention to herself; she begins to eat differently, go for walks, look at fashion magazines. You notice things are changing, but you are afraid to say anything, or possibly you fear those changes. What is going on with her? Why does she need to change?
What she needs from you is to notice and appreciate the changes. Don’t complain about the different meals, it’s good for both of you. Don’t worry that she’s going to leave you. If you notice her, she won’t need anyone else to. Don’t pretend like nothing has happened, that’s an insult. Don’t think or worse say, “let’s see how long this lasts”; that is an insult, too. Whatever you do, don’t try to tell her how to do it. Notice she’s doing something for herself and applaud it.
2. Her husband participates with her because he LOVES her. Ten years ago, I weighed 240 pounds and had some chronic illnesses that left me fat, sick and tired. A doctor recommended I do a 21-day cleanse. I hesitantly called my meat and potato, Mountain Dew and Dorito loving hubby to tell him I would be doing a vegan diet for 21-days.
His response? I’ll join you! And he did. He fully participated. He was honest about some of the foods, but he never complained or threw a fit. If he didn’t care for something, he tried to participate by making a new dish. In one of those moments he invented Phil’s Kitchen Sink Soup; one of the all time favorites in our book, Wonderfully Well.
The result? In four months, I lost 76 pounds, and he lost 56…132 pounds between the two of us. Plus, we reversed all our medical conditions. Could I have done it without his participation; possibly. Would I still be doing it today? I doubt it. Would it have changed our lives for the better in every possible way? No. To this day when someone comments on his full participation, he always says, “I wanted to support my wife because I love her.”
3. Tell her she looks great, from the very start. Even before any changes, happen. Give her a “20-second hug” that is not sexually motivated. Tell her how beautiful she is and how proud you are of her. 20 seconds every day will change your relationship! When you hug someone for 20 seconds, your body releases oxytocin, the bonding hormone. You will both begin to “feel something” for each other again. It worked when you were dating…right?
At first, she may be a little standoffish or suspicious; especially if you haven’t been noticing her or participating in life with her. But keep it up. Be authentic. If you don’t feel it, “fake it ’till you make it” but work on really feeling it. If you start the action, eventually you will feel it.
My students whose husbands don’t compliment them on how great they look suffer deep disappointment. I’ve had students lose 35 pounds and hubby didn’t say a word. Why? Maybe he’s afraid of saying the wrong thing…or maybe he’s afraid she’ll look so good she’ll find someone else…or maybe he thinks if he compliments her she won’t keep it up. Regardless of the fear or rationale you may feel towards NOT complimenting your wife–forget it. Compliment her. Notice her. Tell her she looks great with no qualifications.
I mentor women and their families to “Be Nourished” so their body can accomplish what their hearts and minds dream. The Mary in our story had a wise husband. He followed these steps. I was thrilled when someone reported hearing him say, “I’ve got a brand new wife, and she’s hot!”
A woman will blossom with both outer and inner beauty when her husband really notices her, participates in life with her and tells her she looks great. You can do it. She will love you for it! I promise.
Photo: Flickr/ Ed Yourdon