Is He (Secretly) Unhappy with Your Body?

My blog schedule has been thrown off this week, but I’m thrilled to share with you today a post I wrote for The Forgiven Wife. Chris Taylor has been doing a series on healing from sexual brokenness, and I tackled body image.

I’ve talked about this topic quite a bit here! However, this time I got really personal. I talk about how I believed at one time that my husband couldn’t possibly be happy with my body. Maybe you’ve felt the same.

Following is a teaser, and I pray you’ll click Read More to finish the article on The Forgiven Wife site.

I remember lying naked in bed with my husband above me, and all I could think was how small my breasts were — how desperately I wished I had more to share with him.

But this wasn’t the only time when poor body image stole my healthy view of sexual intimacy.

I’ve spent most of my life as a small woman, size 4 or below. Wait! Don’t stop reading. Whatever your size, I promise there’s a message for you here.

Deep down, I knew I wasn’t pretty. I lacked the curves that seemed to distinguish a girl from woman and instead felt trapped in a pubescent 13-year-old body. People “complimented” me with statements like: “You’re so thin, one of these days a big wind might just up and blow you away” and “You’re so skinny, I can see your bones.” But seriously, what man wants to be with tumbleweed or a skeleton?

In fact, this is one of the reasons I fell into promiscuity before marriage. Believing I couldn’t measure up to the beauty of the bodies around me, I figured I could at least snag a guy by giving him the sex he wanted….

Click Here to Read More

19 thoughts on “Is He (Secretly) Unhappy with Your Body?

  1. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Great post, J. Just went over to Chris’ site and left a comment.

    On reflection, if I may, I’d like to say a bit more, to address the women who don’t WANT their bodies appreciated by their husbands.

    My wife is loyal and loving and compassionate, but any compliment I give that addresses anything remotely sexual makes her very uncomfortable; not because she is opposed to sex, but because she’s opposed to intimacy with me. (And I understand this; people who go to the ends of the earth to fight others’ wars for pay don’t engender warm and fuzzy thoughts once you really get to know them.)

    But this has opened up opportunity; I can compliment her on her clothing and hairstyle (and make suggestions for when she want a change); I can appreciate her courtesy and compassion and kindness in caring for me in terminal illness; and I can bolster her self-confidence at work, praising her professionalism and diligence in devoting her skills to bringing God’s Glory to the commercial marketplace.

    Something is lost in not being free to praise her physical attributes, sure; but that cleared the way for a more meaningful appreciation…more meaningful for her, and for me.

    Reply
  2. SLS

    I made this comment over at Chris’s site but I wanted to post it here too.

    Excellent post J. As a husband it makes me sad to see my wife (along with many other wives) struggle with their body image and believing that they aren’t “enough” for their husbands.

    “I remember lying naked in bed with my husband above me, and all I could think was how small my breasts were — how desperately I wished I had more to share with him.”

    As the husband of a woman with small breasts let me reassure all wives who are on the smaller side that your husbands greatly delight in what you have. Sure, there are some jerks out there but the majority of husbands are more than content with the size of their wife’s breasts.

    I knew my wife was small long before I married her but it didn’t matter to me. I wanted her and loved every part of her. I can’t tell you how much joy and pleasure my wife’s breasts have brought to me every single day of our married life. I delight seeing them every time she changes clothes or when we lay in the bed making love. I enjoy caressing them and I can’t touch them enough. My wife has even brought me to climax using only her breasts.

    Thankfully my wife doesn’t struggle with feelings of inadequacy about her breasts (although she does struggle with other body image issues). I don’t know if I could take it if she tried covering them up and hiding them from me.

    To all women out there please please please please believe your loving husbands when they say that your body is perfect. What I have written above is exactly how your husband feels about the body parts you think are “imperfect and should be hidden”.

    If you think something needs to be changed do it for the reasons J mentioned. Don’t do it because you think you can’t please your husband with the body you currently have. You can.

    Reply
  3. Mark

    J,

    I have fallen into the same trap about my own body image. For years I was less satisfied about the size of my own equipment not being huge and yet looking back it was dumb and silly as my own wife (and other regrettable relationships before marriage) was satisfied, from the very beginning.

    In my youth I failed to remind myself that what I perceived as undesirable to woman in my own eyes, my own spouse found very desirable. But it still consumed my thoughts far too long into my marriage.

    My wife went through some of what you wrote about as well, but then it didn’t take much convincing for her to realize that it was her petite size, her eyes, her smile and her friendliness that swept me off of my feet and that the size of her petite breasts’ are perfect back then, as they are now as they still stimulate my eyes, in a very raw way.

    I can see by your words that your husband was totally into you, from the beginning.

    Society is partly to blame for the negative body image that young people put themselves through.

    I think that times are changing somewhat, as it appears that men (husbands) are able to see his wife’s body is like poetry in motion whether she is skinny or a plus size, an A cup or a D cup and that when a man makes a commitment to a woman whether she is petite or plus size, he from the start is embracing who she is as a woman and is experiencing raw attraction of her breasts and other erogenous areas on her body.

    Men in general, will have the same raw attraction of his wife’s breasts’, whatever the size.

    One thing husbands and wives need to discover sooner in a marriage, (preferably on day one) is the power of brain sex, where they are able to pique one another’s imagination, stimulating one another’s intellect, going in and out of one another mind like a revolving door throughout the day in a non-sexual way..
    Then when spouses allow the clothes to fall to the floor, body image and mutual physical attraction increases into orbit.

    This is a very good post.

    Reply
  4. Mj

    I would give anything if my wife would let me see and enjoy her body, l never see her dress or undress her clothes anymore, she wears heavy thick night gowns to bed, l have poured my heart out to her how much it would mean to me, but she keeps it hidden from me. But l love her so much and l have supported her for 23 years of marriage, I’ve never asked her to work outside the home,and she don’t feel comfortable with me seeing her, somethings wrong. I feel she dont trust me to see her and it hurts so much. So wives, if your husband ask to see and enjoy it, it’s coming from his heart, you don’t see yourself through his eyes. Hope this might help any other wives to show your body, love and affection You just gotta trust what he says!!

    Reply
  5. Meghan

    Oh man, I truly needed to see this. I suffer everyday with this. My husband does as well. Unfortunately I have gained some weight. I’ve gained off and on. And after 5 kids aging 6-21 years my stretch marks gotten worse.
    My husband tells me he love me and my body but I do argue with him. I want to lose weight but it’s hard for me to be fit due to scoliosis. He’s gotten very skinny and I’ve gained weight.
    My breast remind me of flat tires and I say that to him all the time. He hates it. We don’t change in front of each other. I like watching him undress but he’s ashamed of his size. And I can’t convince him otherwise. He’s 35 and I’ll be 40 at the end of the year. The age difference also effects me the more I age.
    I truly enjoyed reading other husband’s comments. It’s very enlightening. Thank you.

    Reply
  6. Philip

    i would like to thank you all for your honesty I find it very encouraging to hear about other peoples fears and challenges and continued determination to keep on loving and encouraging their spouse.

    My wife was brought up in a Christian home at a time when sex and body image were not talked about or encouraged.
    My wife was always aware that she had small breasts, was very slim and found teenage years difficult.

    When we got married it took her a few years to feel comfortable being naked in front of me. I have always encouraged her explaining that I love her as she is and that I really love seeing her body and I love her small breasts – eventually she believed me!

    We have been married for 41 years and my wife’s shape has now changed to ‘cuddly’ this has lead to her feeling more aware of how her body has changed, love her body shape now and that it does me good to see her and spend time with her nude she is not convinced!

    It is a process of loving the person and trying to encourage them.

    Reply
  7. B

    Hi J, I also left a comment on Chris’s site. This was a good post. I’ve been getting better at believing my husband might actually love me, but I still struggle with thinking he could ever like my body or find me attractive.

    As a taller woman who is not a size 4 and has no hope of ever being a size 4 😊 I was kind of surprised to read that any woman who is small would be insecure. In my opinion, smaller is better, petite is perfect, and thinner is always more beautiful. The grass is always greener, I guess. I’ve always hated my body, and I’ve always suspected my husband has always wished for a thinner, more petite, more feminine wife.

    This might sound incredibly stupid, but I’ve always been jealous of small women, and I was shocked at how many of them claimed to have insecurities. In my mind, if you’re blessed with a small body, what could you possibly have to feel insecure about. Yes, many women wish for bigger boobs, but I’ve never ever heard a woman say, “gee, I hate being a perfect size 4. I wish I could have an athletic body and be as tall as you.” That has never happened, ever. But many, many, many is the time I’ve wished to be teeny-tiny.

    I guess the answer is to just learn to be happy with who we are. I guess it’s better to just accept how God created us and try to be happy about it.

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      “A perfect size 4”? Yeah, I think maybe you’re misconstruing the “joys” of being small and thin. And yes, I’ve wanted a more athletic butt and definitely more inches of height. Even 2-3 inches would make it easier to reach my husband’s lips for a kiss, dance with him, and line our bodies up a little more during intimacy. But I don’t sit around thinking about that, because those 2-3 inches aren’t suddenly going to appear, so he leans, down, I wear heels, and we get creative. It’s how you do life with two imperfect people.

      I’m glad you’re dealing with your feelings on this, and I really hope you can drop the “perfect size 4″ thing. In fact, I’m a big Wonder Woman fan, and think about this: Gal Gadot is 5’10” and quite athletic, and we all think she’s gorgeous. Not just because of her looks, but the confidence that Wonder Woman displays.

      Reply
    2. A

      As a former “perfect size 4”, let me assure you, we have our insecurities. I was told my whole life that I had nothing to be insecure about because of my thinness. This really minimizes the very real pain we deal with in everyday life and maximizes our thinness as a savoir to rescue us from that pain. This leads to being vulnerable to abuse, objectification, etc. M It led me right into an eating disorder. This was because when my perfect size 4 started to disappear after babies, I panicked because, if I didn’t have my thinness, what did I have? What else did I have to offer the world? It was the only thing I’d ever gotten positive reinforcement about. When I realized I had a problem with food, I prepared myself to gain weight, but the thought made me fill with dread. I thought gaining weight would be the worst thing that could happen to me. It wasn’t. I mean, my husband hated it and berated me about it. I gained 80lbs. He looked at me as if I was the most disgusting thing on earth, but it forced me to dig deep and find my own confidence. Thank you God for that. I am so glad I got fat. I demanded respect from my husband and it actually led to more intimacy in the bedroom. I have lost most of it now, but I’ll never regret the journey I went on to face the lie I believed that small women have nothing to worry about. And, justfor the record, when I was a size 4, I would have given anything for an athletic figure. I tried so hard and it didn’t work for me.

      Reply
  8. Mark

    J,

    This post is one of the best I have ever read.

    Men and women both have their own body image issues, whether we are talking about our erogenous areas, (breast for women or penis size for men) or height and weight.

    I (all of us) sometimes need to remind myself that my spouse was (and still is) physically attracted to me and my mind, and yet throughout most of my marriage, I still found ways to be unsatisfied with my body type.

    Same can be said with some short girls want long legs, taller girls want to be shorter. Curvy girls want small breasts’ and be skinnier and petite smaller breasted girls want bigger breasts’ and a little more weight. Men do the same thing with their body parts as well.

    I seem to forget sometimes that my spouse loves me the way I am. Would she find more attractive if I was 6’3″ and looked like Keanu Reeves when he starred in Point Break,, hmm,, maybe,, probably yes,, yes, definitely.
    But she still treats me like a rock star, even though I cut my feathered 70’s hair style 37 years ago.
    Then when I whisper into her ear, telling her she is still the same pretty little girl she was nearly 38-1/2 years ago,,, we forget about the gravity in our bodies.

    I see nothing wrong if a woman wants to make an alteration, provided she doesn’t put her health in jeopardy, or doesn’t go in for numerous visits to the plastic surgeon, unless medically necessary. Hopefully her husband is supportive if she wants to do it. I’m a little fearful that women (and men) have altering surgeries for the wrong reasons. (body shaming)

    If she does it, because she wants to it for herself, not feeling pressure from society, heck why not? Either way, if her husband is really into her, he will love the alteration as much as he loved her body before.

    My short petite wife has considered getting a tummy tuck, wanting the same figure she had 30+ years ago, but I worry about the risks’ of surgery including infection, she knows I’m totally into her, which eases her desire of her going under the knife. If something terrible were to happen to her, then I won’t be able to savor every second, of every minute, of every day that we have left on earth, as tomorrow is promised to no one.

    For whatever reason, we sometimes can’t help the way we feel about our image. (I think many models suffer from that syndrome, worse than the rest of us)

    When I finally, discovered true connection with my life partner, (where we can mutually enter in and out of one another’s mind like a revolving door) makes me forget about my “real” or self perceived “imperfections”.

    My self image has greatly improved since my marriage has navigated through choppier waters than the Bering Sea or Hurricane stricken U. S. Gulf Coast and into calmer waters.

    It seems as if when I experience peace in my life, spiritually and in marriage, I’m less concerned about my body.

    I still have to work on the spiritual part.

    Reply
  9. Kay

    Curious to know how to find peace with your body image if your husband has unintentionally hurt you. My hubby once told me (when I complained about my figure “it’s ok, you’re only a little bit chubby” (he thought he was making me feel better…I was so hurt that I didn’t respond at the time, but later he felt horrible and apologized profusely when he found out how upset I was). Fast forward a couple years and I’m a year postpartum from our first child, with 15 lbs that I can’t seem to lose and fatigued from being up with a baby who can’t seem to night wean (still breastfeeding as he doesn’t like to eat much solids). I felt more confident and sexier a few months after delivering my son, until my husband rejected a few special sexy times I planned (he either was too stressed after deadline problems at work and not in the mood or else so excited that he flew through lovemaking when I had tried to set the stage for a more romantic, slow evening). I’ve really struggled since then to feel desirable or honestly even like I want to have sex, even though I know my husband loves me (which he tells me frequently and shows in very practical ways). It’s hard for me to believe him when he says he finds me attractive…if I was chubby back before I had our baby, what does he think now? 🙁

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      I think an honest conversation with him about how his words affected you would help. Not in an accusatory way, but explaining that you just keeping thinking about that and need reassurance. Then soak in what he gives you.

      Honestly, I’m married to Spock who has said things that he didn’t intend to say the way they came out. I have to catch him at those times and say something like, “Is that really what you want to say to me? Think about it before answering…” Usually he catches himself and realizes his words came across all wrong, and then we clear the air and move on.

      Reply
    2. Autumn

      Kay,
      I’m sorry you are hurting. I know how you feel. I have 7 children with the youngest being 4 months. I too have about 15 ponds to go. My husband is very happy with how I look but honestly some things he says just come out wrong. For instance, he says I look great “ for having 7 babies”…..ughhhh how about I look great because I look great! I know he doesn’t mean it the way it sounds but it does bother me. I don’t tell him he looks good for someone with “a small beer gut” because more details would negate the compliment. Anyway…..I’m sure you look great! If you lose the last 15 or not, do it for you not what your husband may or may not see or say. Just consider it 7 1/2 pounds for you and the other half his! It took two of you for that baby to be here. If he says he finds you attractive he really does!

      Reply
  10. Charlie O

    As men age their tastes in bodies usually change. They tend to like more weght on a woman. Besides, you must factor in their love for you. Love sees the beloved in a different way. He may hardly be aware of what you consider flaws. You can be assured that he would rather that you flaunt your naked body that that you hide it. Take a deep breath and take the plunge.

    Reply
  11. cdm

    Wow. What an article. I, too, struggle with my weight and I literally want to crawl out of my skin when someone smaller than me brings up their weight struggles. I get it. Everyone has their issues with their bodies, but until you’ve been thin and then you’re almost twice what you were, then it truly stinks.
    I was thin when my husband and I got married 16 years ago. One year into our marriage I got on an anti depressant and gained almost 60 pounds over the course of 2 years. Then babies and an additional 20 pounds. There are days I can feel confidant, but most I can’t get past this outer layer. I beat myself up continually for it. My husband is the complete opposite so this makes it even harder. I am and have been working on myself, but I still feel like he is unhappy with me physically. How can I or should I even try to talk to him about it? He is on the lower side sex drive wise anyway, but I don’t know if it’s just him or other issues. We are both on the shier side so lights off and I don’t undress in front of him. I know he knows I am uncomfortable, but he won’t talk to me about anything related to sex. He clams up.Thoughts?

    Reply
  12. cdm

    Thanks so much for your reply! I am reading these and praying for some time to talk it over tomorrow. Blessings to you and your ministry!

    Reply

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