The unconditional love of my marriage helped me to accept my body

When I was a teenager I hated my hips. The beautiful ballerinas had no hips. I remember asking my dance teacher how I could have slim hips and thighs like hers. She suggested a plastic tracksuit. At the time, I was 5’3 and under 100 pounds.

Fortunately, the combination of a healthy fear of my mother’s anger and a newfound love for modern dance kept me from developing serious ballet-induced health issues (and even encouraged a healthier view of my form). Still, I don’t think I’m much different from most women when I say that I’ve spent most of my life feeling insecure about my body.

My mom and girlfriends told me I was beautiful and there were boys, and later men, who found me attractive. But I never have really believed them. There was always a voice in my head trying to convince me that I wasn’t beautiful enough, skinny enough, feminine enough. Then I got married, and something about the way I looked at my body changed.

It’s hard to describe, but I can’t help but feel like that cruel voice in my head lost a battle the day I married my husband, Joe. No, I wasn’t magically cured of my various insecurities and, yes, in swimwear season I still find myself struggling for more toned arms and thighs. But for the first time in my life, someone was able to convince me that my body is beautiful, that my body is really sufficient, if only for him.

I know that I am not the only woman who struggles not to feel sufficient. Poor body image is all too common among women. In fact, when interviewed, many Verily VIPs described issues of insecurity and dissatisfaction with their bodies. But what’s really interesting to me is that among this same group, many of our married readers have said that they feel less secure about their bodies because of their husbands’ love.

At first glance, these comments may seem rather demotivating to you. I mean, do women really need to depend on a husband to achieve positive body image? Absolutely not. Women don’t need a husband to show them that they are beautiful, but it seems to me that most women need someone. My husband’s unconditional love and his daily affirmations slowly began to project a different ideal into my reality, and it is an ideal that accepts me one hundred percent – in fact, it is me. It’s easier to silence that voice telling me my hips are too big, when I know the man I love doesn’t want me any other way.

Experts have attributed things like our society’s obsession with one body type, the media’s glorification of unrealistic (if not impossible) physical ideals, and even conflicting messages about what it means to be female as reasons for a bad body image. But in the same way that we allow others to contribute to poor body image, we can be persuaded to regard ourselves with more kindness when we perceive that we are beautiful in the eyes of others.

Research has shown that our relationships with our husbands can contribute to our body image just like our magazines. In a 2008 study examining body satisfaction among a sample of married women revealed that women’s own body satisfaction was strongly related to their perceptions of their husbands’ satisfaction with their bodies. Like me, these women felt that they were sufficient in the eyes of their partner, and that made that voice in their heads a little less powerful.

What is interesting, however, is that the study reports that ‘Husbands’ real Wife’s body satisfaction was not significantly related to women’s body satisfaction or their perceptions of their husbands’ satisfaction with their bodies. to notice about how satisfied our husbands are with our bodies, not necessarily how they actually feel. This is why our love relationship with our husbands is the key factor here. Likewise, just being married doesn’t make you happier, just feeling love and admiration for your spouse falls flat if you can’t or don’t want to communicate this. love.

This is exactly like the examples Dr. Gary Chapman gives of speaking your partner’s “love language”. If your husband shows his love through acts of service and you need affirmation words, his message is not getting through. You might not perceive these loving things your husband wants to communicate to you.

So you see, it’s not so much that marriage has the magical ability to improve your self-esteem, luckily forever and all that. But a loving marriage, a deep friendship with your spouse, can one day reveal the truth to you: you are enough.

The good news is that a happy marriage isn’t just for genetically blessed people. It can be achieved with a little work. Skills-based marriage training has been shown to be effective in increasing marital satisfaction. People who know how to show love are happier in marriage and, it seems, women who are happier in marriage are happier with themselves.

So what could be more important than finding a man who will love you? A man who will work hard, day in and day out, to make sure you can see him.

I knew when I married Joe that we were having something really good, but I had no idea how his love would start to transform me. Knowing that I am enough not only helps me see the beauty of what makes me, but it also allows me to rejoice in these beautiful women around me. We are all someone’s ideal, but it takes love to see it.

Share your own summer stories with us using #VerilyMoment and #BeyondYourSummerBody on social media!


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