No Idea What I’m Doing Guest Post: Why I tell my wife she’s beautiful everyday

Today I am so honored to be guest hosting one of my favorite bloggers; Clint Edwards from the awesome No Idea What I’m Doing: A Daddy Blog. When I first got into the parent-blogging game Clint’s blog was one of the first place I stumbled across.

Clint and I come from very similar backgrounds (growing up without our fathers in the picture, and then becoming fathers ourselves), which really helped knowing there were other dads out there who didn’t have dads themselves, but weren’t letting that stop them from trying to make a difference. His writing helped me through rough times, especially the first year of little Ferris’ life.

Clint’s writing has been featured in such places as Huffington Post, The Good Men Project, Good Morning America and the New York Times, just to name a few. He has written so many great articles; far too many to even try and choose some to link to, so instead I will say this, please head to his blog and follow him (like I do), or connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.

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Clint

My wife was complaining about the size of her breasts again. “They are so small,” she said. “I look like a little girl.”

She was changing into her pajamas. I was sitting on the edge of the bed reading from the tablet.

“I like them,” I said. “I think you’re beautiful.” I said it with sincerity. I always do. And yet, she always argues with me. She usually shoots down my complements as something I’m obligated to say.

“I can look like a little girl and still be beautiful,” She said. She had her hands on her hips now. “What I want is to look like a woman.”

Mel is petite. She stands just over five feet, and weighs just over 100 pounds. Small breasts, small hips, small hands. I think she has always been self-conscious about her size. When I took Mel home to meet my mother she asked if I’d checked her ID. When Mel first had a baby, strangers often asked if Tristan was her younger brother. She gets mistaken for younger, less mature, and I think that makes her feel like she is not taken seriously. And somehow this has translated into her self-esteem, and her understanding of her own beauty.

These feelings of being small, too young, and inadequate, started long before we met, and the world seems to constantly be reaffirming them through magazines, TV ads, and snarky comments. As a woman, she is bombarded by images of tall, lean, and full-breasted women that have been air brushed to perfection, as if this is the norm. As if this is what a woman must look like, and I can only assume that she looks at herself compared to these unachievable things and feels inadequate. The truly sad part is that the women on magazines are shown in one dimension. They don’t show who they are as a person, only their bodies.

If Photoshop could capture how much Mel loves her children, how dedicated she is to her family, the fact that she is a full-time mom, and a part-time student, and kicking ass at both, all the sacrifices she’s made for our family, she would be on the cover of every magazine, because this is the really sexy stuff. A flat stomach and large breasts just look good on paper.

But the fact is, I can’t change how the media sexualizes women. It’s not within my circle of influence. But here’s what I do know. I know that my wife is beautiful. I know that her hips give me chills, and that even after 10 years of marriage, I still get nervous when I kiss her. I feel warmth in my heart when she holds me. I long for her. I think she is a great mother and the most supportive and life-changing person I have ever encountered. So I tell her that she is beautiful everyday. Most days I tell her several times a day. I send her text messages. When she calls, I say, “Hello, pretty person.” I bring her flowers at least once a month, more if I can afford it.

I don’t know if my constant reassurance of her beauty is having an impact or not. Perhaps I say it too much. Perhaps it has become ubiquitous after ten years, the backdrop of her life. But what I do know is that it helps me to feel like I’m doing something. I can’t change the world. I can’t change the way companies market their products. I can’t change who is cast in what TV show, or movies, or how much a woman’s image on the cover of a magazine is altered. But what I can do is remind my wife, everyday, that I am blown away by how lucky I am to have someone so beautiful in body, mind, and spirit.

I was in bed now. Mel was dressed in her pajamas, standing next to me. I was going to bed early so I could get up and write the next morning. She leaned down to kiss me and I said, “You are the most beautiful person I know.”

She gave me a half smile and said, “Thanks.”

“Don’t worry,” I said. “ I will remind you about it tomorrow.”

Mel laughed and said, “I know.”

“Good,” I said.

Then she turned out the light.

 

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9 thoughts on “No Idea What I’m Doing Guest Post: Why I tell my wife she’s beautiful everyday

  1. I. Love. This. Women truly are bombarded on a daily, even hourly basis of what a perfect body should look like. I constantly question my own image. My husband frequently tells me how pretty I am and honestly, it’s hard to believe him. I am glad that he still says it though. Reading that another man tries to lift his wife up with a daily compliment makes it a little more believable that my husband isn’t just telling me these things out of a marital obligation. Great post!

  2. I love this! Such a wonderful husband! Shes a very lucky woman to have a man that truly sees her in all of beauty. My husband told me once that he wished that I could see me through his eyes. I’ve never forgotten that:)

  3. I completely understand Mel. She is beautiful, I know this, because I’ve been her. I, too, was super tiny with babies (are you babysitting today???–I hated that comment!) and never believed my husband when he told me I was pretty. Because of that, I don’t hear it anymore. (probably a good thing, over the years I now resemble Jimmy Gourd more than Skipper!). Thank you for supporting your wife and please, don’t ever stop!

  4. This is so important. My husband tells me I’m beautiful or sexy or pretty constantly and, I’ll admit, that sometimes it gets drowned out by the voice inside my head that says I’m not. But if he stopped saying it? I’d certainly take notice. I don’t care what the rest of the world thinks of me and my beauty of lack thereof (at least I try not to), but my husband’s opinion matters. A lot. Not in a vain, “tell-me-how-good-I-look” way, but in a basic, “I-still-really-desire-you-after-all-these-years” kind of way. I think some men don’t see the importance and value in showing this type of affection for their wives, but I’m glad this one does. Great post.

  5. Often when a person expresses their doubts and fears, and it does not reflect reality, your inclination is to disagree. After all, agreeing would be re-affirming those doubts and fears. But sometimes disagreeing–no matter what positive form it takes (a compliment, a pep talk) is interpreted by the doubter as a criticism. “You’re wrong for thinking that way.” Then on top of feeling bad about her looks she feels bad that she’s wrong, and feels alone in her thinking.

    Another option that may benefit you both is to hear her out. “I understand you aren’t happy with your breast size. I hear you about feeling small.” And follow it up–NOT with a “…BUT + [compliment she won’t internalize],”–but rather follow it up with a hug, and “I love you. I don’t want you to feel bad.” That has made a world of difference in my husband meeting me where I am with my low self-esteem. It takes work to undo negative thought patterns about our bodies. Unprompted compliments are even better than answers to complaints, and if she replies with self-doubt, encourage her to give you three things she likes about herself. You both sound lucky to have each other!

  6. Pingback: This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: A Book Review | Papa Does Preach

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