Here is a letter from a reader from www.peacefulwife.com. Her emails are in black, mine are in blue. I know this is a HUGE issue for many women. I pray that we might be able to tackle this situation in a godly way that builds our relationships, helps us understand our guys’ perspectives a bit better, and creates unity. This particular letter is about a married couple, but this was happening even when they were dating and engaged, so I think it is a VERY relevant issue for single women as well.
From my perspective, as a wife who has been married for 18 years to an introverted man who was never big on compliments – if that is the way a man is when you are dating and engaged, that is something you need to decide if you can live with BEFORE you marry him. Thankfully, there are ways to deal with this and change your expectations, but please notice what a HUGE deal this issue has become to the wife down the road. Be sure you can respect your man as he is right now, even if he never changed. And be on the lookout later in this wife’s email about all of this guy’s strongpoints and good qualities. Sometimes the things that seem like such a big deal (like getting compliments) really aren’t the things that are the most important. What do you think?
FROM A WIFE:
I hope you can help me. I have a situation with my husband and I have no idea what to do , as far as how I am supposed to act in all this. First let me say that my husband is the quiet, shy type. We’ve been married 6 years. We have 2 kids together. We are both living for God.
Ok, so the problem I am having is that my husband NEVER compliments me or praises me for ANYTHING. I am not dramatizing it either. He never has. He’s never even said “You’re beautiful,” “You look good in that dress”…etc.. This isn’t something he just stopped doing, he’s never done it even when we were dating.
At first, I thought, “Oh he’s just shy, he’ll come around eventually,” but he never did. So now after 6 years he still hasn’t. We have argued, or should I say – I have fussed and he just sat there – about this all through the years. His reasoning for it is “Those things just never come to my mind”. I feel soooooo unloved and unattractive and it really bothers me that he can’t compliment me. This goes beyond just complimenting me on looks, but I’m trying to deal with one issue a at a time.
This has bothered me so much that for years, I have been having unwanted dreams. Dreams of me falling in love with someone and having the “perfect” husband/boyfriend. I can’t stand that I am dreaming things I shouldn’t be. I hate that. I can’t control my dreams but It makes me feel like I’m cheating on my husband. I just don’t know what to do. I so desperately want to hear my husband say I’m beautiful. But after 6 years I feel I just need to accept that I will never hear it, but it hurts too much to accept it.
I can relate to this. And I TOTALLY understand how it makes you feel unloved and unwanted. Women are built to need words and compliments. Words are so important to us. Most men have NO IDEA how critical their words of love and compliments are to us.
(Gentlemen, your loving WORDS are extremely powerful tools to make us feel loved, accepted, desired, beautiful and confident in our marriage and in your love. They water the garden of our souls!!!! They must be sincere – and for most of us, we’d like to have some loving words from you every single day. The more detail, the better! The more frequent, the better!)
I have a few observations that I hope will help you here:
– Men are NOT verbal like we are. This stuff DOES NOT come naturally AT ALL to most of them. And if your husband is particularly quiet and introverted – sometimes it may just feel impossibly difficult for him to do things like this. If your husband is like mine, he feels awkward saying things like that, it is just like trying to speak a foreign language.
– My husband is very quiet, too. BUT, just because he doesn’t give compliments doesn’t mean that he isn’t attracted to me or that he doesn’t love me. There have been times where a LOT time would go by without compliments – and that really used to hurt my feelings. Since I have started respecting him, he gives me an occasional compliment now – so I make sure he knows that I appreciate it VERY much when he does compliment me. And I thank him with a HUGE smile! But I do not fish for compliments, demand compliments, ask for compliments or expect compliments – or loving emails or love letters anymore. That right there solves the problem for me!
If you make getting compliments (or emails) your goal – you are going to be REALLY disappointed a lot – I PROMISE. Trying to make him compliment you or write to you or deciding that you can never be happy until he compliments you or sends you love letters can easily become an idol that can be destructive in your marriage and your relationship with Christ.
– You can TRY asking for compliments, love letters, emails or text messages if you want to. But here’s the problem – I used to do this – try to demand love letters and emails and compliments… the minute you ASK for it, now he is being pressured because of your sky high expectations. And he is not going to do it. He will feel so much pressure from you and will feel coerced or forced that he will not do it just because he doesn’t want to give in to your pressure. That is actually a good thing, even though it may not seem so, it means he has a back bone and is a man of his convictions and won’t cave to a lot of emotion and pressure – which can be a very handy quality in a leader! Usually, I would say, ask for what you want respectfully once. But in this situation, it gets sticky. I may just check with Laura Doyle, author of “The Surrendered Wife” and see what her take on this might be! I’ll keep you posted!
– There are men who will give WONDERFUL, JUICY, ROMANTIC, SEXY compliments but also dole out TONS of criticism and often are extremely controlling, too. Your husband’s lack of compliments probably also has a good flip side. I am assuming he is like my husband and doesn’t give much criticism, either. WHAT A BLESSING! If you have been around a wife whose husband gives great compliments but then he tries to control her every bite of food and also is very free with the criticism of every little thing – it can make you REALLY appreciate having a husband who is more quiet!
– The fact that he has ALWAYS been this way tells me that he hasn’t changed. And it tells me this is his basic personality. He is the same guy you fell in love with. So I am VERY sure that he still finds you attractive even if he doesn’t say it.
– I would like you to pray about sacrificing this desire to Christ – accepting that your husband’s personality is not malicious towards you, but that this is just how he is. He has good intentions toward you. He is not trying to be unloving. He shows his love for you in other ways.
– You can’t change this about him.
– I think it could be a good idea (if you pray about this and believe God is leading you to say something) to tell him at some point, after you have wrestled with God about this, “Honey, I know I have pressured you in the past to give me compliments. I’m sorry I put so much pressure on you and tried to get you to be someone you aren’t. I respect the man you are and I accept you. I don’t want to change you.”
– Pray that God will help you see ALL the things your husband DOES do to show you that he loves you. He works to provide for the family, he smiles at you, he helps with the children, he wants you sexually, he takes care of the yard/cars, he protects you when you are in trouble, he is dependable and responsible, he takes care of you when you are sick. Whenever he does something to show he loves you, thank him and SMILE at him and say, “I feel SO loved when you do that for me!”
– Guys don’t marry women they aren’t attracted to – in general. There is probably about a 95% chance that your husband thinks you are the most beautiful girl in the world. Rest in that. He married you. He wanted you. You can relax in knowing that he finds you sexy and beautiful even if he doesn’t say it. If he is there and plugged in and wants to be with you – take his actions seriously and believe them even if you don’t hear the words you want to hear. His actions will tell you his true priorities. Men value actions MUCH MORE than words!
– As you take the pressure and expectations off, he may surprise you and give you a compliment or two one day. But even if he never does, THAT IS OK. If this is the biggest problem you have with him – you are the luckiest woman on the face of the earth!!!! Enjoy him and accept him and appreciate the incredible man that he is!
FROM THE SAME WIFE IN REPLY
Thank you so much for your reply. You are right. I do know other husbands who do this, and at times its seems they are trying to mold a trophy wife type. So, I am VERY thankful my hubby doesn’t do this.
He does a lot of things. Works, takes care of all the outside work, when he is around me he has to be touching me somehow, like rubbing my arm or scratching my back, does repairs around the house. He doesn’t really ever scold me, never yells at me. And he is very forgiving! I asked him once, “How can you ever forgive me?” And he said, “Love is forgiving.”
He really truly is a great man. He’s not your typical man either, not into sports or cars. We are all each other has, we don’t have friends we hang out with. So its just us and the kids.
Well thanks again for your help! I follow your posts and try to do the things you say. I am getting better. I can’t wait to get to that place you are in your marriage.
Your husband sounds a lot like mine!!!
I would like you to assume that every time he touches you or smiles at you that he IS telling you that you are the only girl for him, that you are beautiful and sexy in his eyes and that you are the most precious gift God has ever given him. That is what he means, even if he can’t verbalize it. 🙂
Guys – you are welcome to comment! Your perspective could be extremely helpful to the ladies here.