What should you do if your husband constantly forgets to compliment you, when he doesn’t tell you you’re pretty? I have heard women tell their husbands things like, “Karen’s husband is so sweet. He always tells her she’s pretty.” In saying this, wives expect their husbands to hear, “I wish you would compliment me like Karen’s husband compliments her.”
Instead, what their husbands hear is this: “Wow Karen’s husband is a great guy. Why can’t you be more like him?”
When your husband hears you comparing him to another man, he is not likely to try to become more like the man you have held up as an example. Rather, he is more likely to feel disrespected by you and shut down.
If you really want to help your husband understand how he can minister to you in this area, tell him.
Prayerfully consider your words and your motivation before you have a heart-to-heart with him. Ask God for wisdom. James 1:5 says: Anyone who lacks wisdom can ask of God, who gives it liberally and generously.
Have you ever asked God to give you His wisdom before you attempt to have sensitive or difficult conversations with your husband? Try it. Asking for God’s wisdom will help you speak in a God-centered way rather than a self-centered one.
Here is a list of what you can do, after you talk to your husband:
1. Pray for God to help him understand your need.
2. Let God do a work in his heart.
3. Pray often, and don’t expect your husband to change overnight.
4. Be willing to remind him or even playfully nudge him to compliment you, if necessary.
5. Believe the best about your husband.
First Corinthians chapter 13 is called the “Love Chapter” of the Bible. The passage is filled with a wonderful list of the characteristics of genuine love. In verse 7 we read that love “believes all things.” That is:
The most genuine kind of love believes the best about the other person.
So I ask you:
* Is your husband a good-willed man?
* Is it possible he is not intentionally overlooking opportunities to affirm your beauty?
* Are there things you forget to do for him? When that happens, do you hope he will believe the best about you?
* Can you apply this same kind of mercy to your husband if he neglects or forgets to compliment you?
Don’t Set Yourself Up for Disappointment
We all crave affirmation from our man––that is what makes us vulnerable. But searching for our significance and worth in how others perceive us is a sure way to be disappointed.
Psalm 146:3 offers this insight:
Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men who cannot save.
So is it Wrong to Want Him to Compliment Me?
Before you start to feel guilty for wanting your man to tell you your beautiful, let me explain. It’s NOT wrong to want your husband to affirm your beauty with his words. In fact the Song of Solomon gives us a pretty sweet example of a husband spilling out all kinds of mushy words of adoration over his wife’s beauty.
The error is not in longing to hear from your husband that he thinks you are pretty…especially after you’ve held onto those extra pounds after the babies came––or for me, after I hit that mid-aged mark and see lots of lines and wrinkles I’d rather not be upon my face.
If you are like most wives, it is your hearts desire to know your husband is pleased when he gazes upon you–and that’s not necessarily a bad motivation. The problem lies in why you want to hear affirming words from your husband. It all boils down to the motives. So how can you know the difference?
Why Do We Need to Hear We Are Beautiful?
Have you ever considered what life must have been like for Adam and Eve before they fell into sin? Talk about a honeymoon! They would have found themselves in the most romantic resort, complete with an all-inclusive food menu. They had the whole garden to themselves, and Adam had eyes only for Eve.
Before the fall, Adam and Eve’s unity with one another—and their Creator—would have been absolute paradise.
Because they lived in joyful union with God, His character
would have been reflected in all areas of their lives.
Their love for one another would have been completely selfless and God-centered. They would have loved perfectly because they were a perfect reflection of the Creator’s love.
But once sin entered into the world, not only was Adam and Eve’s fellowship with God broken, but for the first time, their total unity with one another was violated as well. What a heartbreak this must have been!
After they fell into sin, God questioned Adam about what he had done, and he blamed his wife. Oh wow! In that moment,Eve would have realized the honeymoon was definitely over. Can you imagine how hurt Eve must have been?
From that day on, the heart of mankind became desperately sick and wicked. Our hearts, have become no longer God-centered.
In our sinful state we are all hopelessly self-centered.
God created us to reflect His glory, but sin causes us to live for or own glory. We seek happiness in reflecting our own beauty rather than God’s. And whether we admit it or not, we long for others to worship our own beauty and creativity.
We make a god of our home, clothing, car or anything that we believe reflects our own beauty, or worth.
In this very real struggle we tend to be self-focused rather than God-focused.
When any desire becomes so important we would sin to get it,
we can know that desire has become an idol.
So What Should I Do?
By now you may be asking, “How can I balance being God-centered with wanting my husband to think I am pretty? And how can I discern if my desire is sinful?”
Ask yourself this question: If my husband does not make me feel beautiful, do I resent him? Resenting your husband is a sin. If his making you feel pretty is so important to you that you will sin to get it–– perhaps even be tempted to look to someone other than your husband for affirmation, then you can know you are idolizing your desire.
Through Bible study, the Holy Spirit can help you discern your motives.
You will never see yourself more clearly
than through the lens of Scripture.
So you must be in the Word on a daily basis, asking God to help you become God-centered rather than self-centered. In this way you can discern if your motives are sinful and confess it.
Ask Your Husband for Compliments
Once you have learned to discern the proper motivation for wanting to hear affirming words from your husband, you can humbly ask him to encourage you by telling you when he thinks you look pretty.
I know, I know, that can feel rather humiliating to ask for an atta’-girl from your man, but consider this. The Bible instructs:
Husbands, dwell with [wives] according to knowledge
1 Peter 3:7
It’s your job to help your husband learn what you need from him. You are his “wife-coach” if you will.
When you have the right motivation and are living in a God-centered––rather than a self-centered way, you can trust that your motive is not sinful. And when this happens, you will be able to ask your husband to fulfill your God-given need to know He finds you attractive in a manner that brings glory to Christ, and honor to your husband.
*Adapted from Rhonda’s new book: IF MY HUSBAND WOULD CHANGE I’D BE HAPPY & Other Myths Wives Believe (Harvest House Publishers 2015)