Start taking steps today to overcome your body image issues. For your sake. For the sake of your marriage.
In my previous post, 6 Things Wives Need to Know About Their Body Image Struggles, I explained how body image issues can do damage to your marriage.
Today, I want to give you some possible places to start on your journey toward a healthier self-image. Please read and thoughtfully consider these. Check out some of the many linked posts to dig a little deeper. This will be well worth the effort!
1) Work on Your Mindset
Accepting your appearance starts with realizing that you have been uniquely hand-crafted by God – fearfully and wonderfully made by him (Psalm 139:14). You are his beautiful creation because he says you are. It is also important to understand how negative self-image can damage your marriage (see my previous post). Set it in your heart to change your thinking about yourself. Pray for a heart change. Pray a blessing over each of your body parts, especially the ones you most dislike. Pray for and receive forgiveness for despising God’s creation.
2) Accept your husband’s compliments
When your husband pays you a compliment take it at face value. Thank him instead of refuting him or arguing back. Say thank you, even if you don’t mean it at the time. Hearing yourself say it out loud will help to change your mind. Trust that he delights in you and in the fact that you are his. He does.
(I realize that there are some husbands that claim to no longer be attracted to their wives, though I have found this to be a very small minority. For those suffering in that situation please read Shelia Gregory’s post “What If My Husband Doesn’t Find Me Attractive.”)
3) Practice being naked
The more often you are naked in front of your husband, or mostly so, the more you will learn to feel comfortable in your own skin. Let go of shame and appreciate the way he looks at you with love and genuine desire. Believe me when I say he is desiring YOU, not just a collection of your body parts. Appreciate your husband’s desire as God-given and not something dirty. For some of you, this will take baby steps, such as being naked in the dark and progressing to being naked under the covers, and then progress to having the lights on.
Work on intentionally being more flirtatious with your husband. Work your way up to flirting in a more explicitly sexual manner than you have before. It will delight your husband and build your confidence – and confidence is very attractive. Send your husband flirtatious text messages or put notes in his briefcase. Be bold! Even if you don’t follow through later, most husbands appreciate the gesture. There are also private messaging apps for couples, such as “Couple“.
5) Choose for him
Get your husband’s input on your clothing, lingerie and/or sleeping attire. I understand that this feels risky! But when you dress in ways you know he finds appealing and let him know when you choose especially for him – it will bless him enormously. Feeling brave? Ask your husband to choose what you sleep in. Feeling really brave? Let your husband pick your entire outfit every day for a week like this woman did.
6) Take positive steps
Take small steps that make you feel good about yourself and your appearance, but don’t do it out of shame or in order to “fix” yourself. You aren’t “broken,” and shame is a terrible motivation for change.
You might consider working on your overall health. A healthy diet and regular exercise are always a good idea and will make you feel better in general. Pay more attention to how you dress. Choose attire that makes you feel pretty and accentuates your best features. Try out a new hairstyle or color. Have a manicure or pedicure. But remember, be you. Don’t try to be someone else.
7) Get the Facts
There is a great amount of falsehood in the world today when it comes to beauty. Remember, the women you see in magazines and movies don’t actually exist. The goal of all advertising is to make you feel inadequate and portray you as “less than” in order to get you to buy their particular product. It’s all a lie.
One prime example of falsehood is breast size. Despite what you see everywhere, bigger is not better. Research has shown that a “C” cup is actually the size most preferred by men (and women). It’s notable that the average cup size in the US happens to be C. And the second most preferred size is “B.” Ignore what you see in media and advertising!
8) Stop Comparing
I know this is a big ask. But really, comparison is poison. You are uniquely you, and you don’t need to strive to be like someone else. I recently came across a blog by Heather Creekmore, Compared to Who, whose entire mission is to help Christian women develop a healthy self-image. You will realize that you are not alone and discover some interesting facts in “ What Women Really Think of Their Bodies. ”
9) Develop your Inner Beauty
Most of the suggestions in this list focus on outward appearance because that’s where most women struggle most. But don’t forget to care for your inner self. Feed your spirit with time in worship and prayer and the Word. Spend time letting God love on you and feeling his delight in you. Chris, my blogging friend at The Forgiven Wife, recently wrote about this in her post “Experience God.” Feed your soul as well, with activities that make you come alive and feel more like your true self. See my post “10 Ways to Feed Your Soul.”
10) Choose to Believe By Faith
There are many times in our Christian walk where we have to rely on faith when we can’t comprehend the truth. Believing your husband finds you beautiful will often require faith, just like we choose to believe in the goodness and love of God, even when we don’t feel it.
For some the journey toward a healthy, positive self-image will be a long one, others may see a quick turnaround. As you see progress, enjoy the increased intimacy in your marriage that will likely result. Relish the freedom and joy that can grow to take the place of bondage and pain.
Do it for your own sake and for the sake of your marriage. Start today.
- 4 Things Your Husband Wants You To Know About Your Appearance
- What If Your Husband Really Does Love Your Body?
- The Forgiven Wife, Body Image Got You Down?
- The Forgiven Wife, The Source of Your Beauty
- The Forgiven Wife, Beautiful
- CalmHealthySexy, 5 Ways to Feel More Attractive
- CalmHealthySexy, Put Your Body to Work to Help You Feel More Attractive
- Bonny’s OysterBed7 (Guest posting at Hot, Holy, & Humorous), Permission to Feel Beautiful
- Bonny’s OysterBed7, Christian and Sexy
- Hot, Holy & Humorous, The Feel Beautiful Series (Start here)