I’d be lying if I didn’t say I haven’t struggled with my body image, but luckily for me The Mister has been there through it all. He knows exactly what to do or say when I’m not feeling 100% comfortable in my skin because I’ve eaten WAY too many gluten-free donuts or my hair is being weird. My top love languages are ‘Words of Affirmation’ and ‘Physical Touch’ so when I’m struggling, he uses those to his advantage and wraps his arms around me and says the sweetest things. Those have a way of melting away any insecurities I have and never allows any insecurities from affecting our marriage.
Now that you’ve heard how body image affects my marriage, I asked some of my favourite female bloggers to tell me how body image affects their marriage. Here’s what they had to say.
Brita of Belle Brita
I’ve had Crohn’s Disease for over 20 years, so I’ve always had a very different experience with body image than most women. When your heavy weights indicate a disease under control, and your low weights indicate malnutrition, you learn not to judge yourself too harshly based on your size.
But people complimenting my body when I was underweight in the last few years really fucked with my head. I loved how I felt physically as I started taking new medication and started gaining weight, but I hated outgrowing the clothes I had bought while underweight.
Luckily my husband loves me at all sizes. He’s also so understanding of my journey with Crohn’s (his mother has Ulcerative Colitis). My husband just wants me to be healthy, which is what really matters. I’m so lucky that I found such a wonderful and loving spouse!
Audrey of Audie Lou
I appreciate complete honesty- even when it comes to my body image. I don’t ask Kyle (my husband) if certain outfits makes me look fat, but I do rely on him to be totally honest when a dress or shirt doesn’t flatter me. Likewise, he asks for my opinions on his outfits. When I’m feeling especially uncomfortable, whether it’s weight or acne or something else, I tend to complain aloud and he reassures me in the same voice every single time. It gets annoying when he starts to sound ingenuine, but it reminds me that I’m the exact same person that I was the last time I complain about that body part. We also aren’t afraid to recommend solutions to one another. You’re feeling fat? “Personally I think you look fine, but if you’re feeling heavy let’s go for a long walk tonight.” You think your skin’s breaking out? “I love you regardless, but why don’t you head up to bed a little early and use my XYZ face-wash tonight? It works really well for me.” This doesn’t solve all my body image issues, but it helps to have an honest partner. We also make positive comments when the other person tries a new outfit, gets a hair cut, or dresses up!
Hannah of With Love in Mind
Even the most body confident amongst us can be thrown into unexpected turmoil at some point in our lives. And that’s exactly where I’ve found myself in the past few months. Before becoming pregnant I had no major qualms about my body. I felt sexy and attractive and had no doubt in my mind that I was the fount of all my husband’s desires. That is until pregnancy came along with it’s crazy hormones, weight gain, cellulite, stretch marks, extra hairs sprouting all over the place and ache taking me back to my turbulent teenage years… It’s been tough. I’ve seen the change in myself, and my self esteem has taken a massive hit because of it. And that has led me to become much more insecure and dare I admit, even jealous at times, in my marriage.
I find myself doubting whether my husband still finds me attractive in the same way – I find myself questioning him about it, and becoming more sensitive to the women he interacts with (especially the ones who seem to smile that smile and flutter their eyelashes at him). I’ve never been jealous of attention my husband receives but since my own self esteem is dwindling over my changing appearance, this nasty trait has bubbled to the surface on the odd occasion.
The good thing is that I’ve recognised the change, not only in my appearance but in the way I think about myself, and I’ve made a conscious effort to communicate my worries to my husband. In being open about it, he now knows what I need from him – I need that little bit more reassurance, that little bit more affection and attention. For me, the most important thing with any body image issues is to communicate with your spouse; open up about how you’re feeling; tell them what you need from them that will give you the confidence boost you need. Your spouse loves you, and they will want to do anything they can to help you feel good about yourself. So don’t be afraid to lay it all out in the open.
Amanda of The Literary Counsellor
I had just turned 20 when I met my husband, and over the years our bodies have definitely changed. We aren’t the super fit people we once were, and we can both be a bit self-conscious about how the other person perceives us now. It’s easy to start wondering if your partner still finds you attractive, if they wish that you had stayed the same, and if you already have self-image issues these thoughts can become overwhelming at times. My husband is a very reserved person, and his way of expressing love isn’t with verbal or physical interaction, so knowing how he feels can be difficult. I’m the exact opposite, so it’s easy for us to get our signals crossed. But I think that because we are both dealing with body image issues it has made us more aware of the vulnerability each of us feels. It has allowed us to have more open and honest conversations with each other. On the days when I’m feeling the worst, I know that I can talk to my husband and get the validation that I need. We continue to find new depths of feeling for each other as we have come to realize that our love isn’t just attached to a pretty package.
Amberly of A Prioritized Marriage
As much as I try to make sure that I’m dressed up and looking my best for date nights with Joe, the truth is, most days I let my hair air dry and put on my comfy clothes as soon as I get home from work in case the baby spits up on me. He sees me most often at the end of a long day when I’m a tired, frazzled mess. Sometimes I think I should stay in my cute outfit until he gets home from work and not rub all the make up off my face or run my hands through my hair until it’s a mess. While I know Joe appreciates the days when I make an effort to look my very best for him, whenever I’m feeling blah with my appearance, I remember that comment he made to me a couple of months ago and know that he thinks I look beautiful no matter what.
So tell me, how does body image affect your marriage? What do you do to make your spouse feel confident in their own skin?