Body image matters

We all know that women are greatly concerned about their body image….maybe even obsessed about it!  But did you know that men are also hyper-sensitive about one aspect of their body image?  Almost every man really wants to be perceived as strong and muscular.  This means your husband yearns for you to notice and appreciate his muscles!  He’s not going to tell you that, but he really wants to be perceived as strong!

Perhaps this is why the bride in the Bible’s Song of Songs continues to tell her groom over and over again how she values his strength and muscular body.  Here are some examples of what she tells him:  Song of Songs 2:8-9 “Behold, he comes, leaping over the mountains, bounding over the hills. My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag.”   Song of Songs 5:14-15 “His arms are rods of gold set with topaz. His body is like polished ivory decorated with lapis lazuli. His legs are pillars of marble set on bases of pure gold. His appearance is like Lebanon, choice as its cedars.”

When’s the last time you verbally admired your husband’s strength?  When is the last time you noticed his biceps and made a little comment about how impressive they are?  Your husband craves those comments!  As you vocalize your appreciation for his physical strength, he will be drawn to you!

Being appreciated for all you do!

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get in a poopy mood (yes, I just used the highly technical term “poopy”!).  During my marriage to Raul, I would get in this grumpy mood when I did something sacrificial for my husband and he didn’t even seem to notice!  For instance, even though both my husband and I worked full-time in ministry, I decided that, for a while, I would do all the household cleaning chores so that my husband would be freed up to serve God even more.  I did this for a several-month stretch one year.

Did I enjoy vacuuming, dusting, cleaning toilets?  No, I did not.  Did I sometimes feel grumpy when I cleaned the house after already working a full day?  Yes, I did.  But then I thought, “well, at least my husband will sing my praises when he gets home and notices all I’ve done”.  However, even though I subtly pointed out to him what I had done, much to my shock, sometimes he didn’t say anything at all.  What!?!  

It’s at that time that God graciously reminded me that He noticed all I had done and he was pleased.  I know that God was pleased whenever I served my husband because God instructs us in Matthew 9:35 that “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.”  

God always notices what we’re doing even when no one else sees it!  In Matthew 6:4, the Bible reminds us that “your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”   Let’s take heart that we are pleasing the “right” man when we serve our others sacrificially.  That right man is Jesus.

If he doesn’t notice all you do…

Have you found yourself really frustrated with your husband because you put a bunch of effort into making a great dinner or tidying up the house and he didn’t voice appreciation?  Have you found yourself really bummed out because you took great pains to dress up for date night and your husband didn’t seem to really notice?  What gives?

First, it’s important for you to realize that just because he didn’t voice appreciation, doesn’t mean he could care less about what you’ve done!  I bet he loved your dinner and I’m sure he liked the way you looked for date night.  Here is the possible reason for the disconnect.  Men are wired to be providers.  God created men to work and take care of creation (Genesis 2:15 says “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”)  It’s only natural that men are focused on their work.  So, when they step through the front door at the end of their workday, their brain is still engaged in work.  They are still thinking about their job and what’s coming up tomorrow at work.  They may be physically present at home, but their minds are often still back on the job. 

So, instead of getting frustrated, tell your husband how much you appreciate his hard work for your family.  Be his chief encourager.  Then, after he’s had awhile to unwind from his day of work, ask him how he liked the dinner or the tidy house.  Tell him you put some extra effort into your hair and makeup and ask him if he likes it.  I know you feel like you shouldn’t have to prompt him with these questions.  You would like your man to notice and voice appreciation without your prompting, but most men simply aren’t wired that way.  So simply ask him, and then listen to his response. More than likely, he will say the dinner was good.  More than likely, he will say you look great.  Accept the compliment!  Embrace the compliment, even though it may come with little emotion and yes, even though he had to be asked. 😊