When it comes to loving our husbands, we try our best. We show love in any way we can. We try to keep the house looking fabulous, we work on sprucing up our cooking skills to produce delicious dishes, we work together to help raise our children, and we even try to find the never-ending missing socks when it’s time to fold the laundry! But loving your husband is so much more than that and requires one key ingredient… that you love yourself! Many women struggle with unconditional love (especially in their marriages) because they don’t love themselves unconditionally. I am no exception to this, and spent many of the early years in my marriage missing out on the amazing relationship that I could have had with my husband, because I was too busy loathing myself.
Women suffer from this much more than men, since we are naturally more critical of ourselves, especially physically, and tend to have lower self-esteem. I remember days in my early years of marriage, where I literally cringed when I looked at myself in the mirror. The extra weight from having babies or the signs of aging, these are just a few of the items we add to our “Things Wrong With Me” list. The list can include emotional items too, like baggage from previous relationships or trauma from our childhood. But for the most part, our lists are filled with physical critiques of our bodies.
One day after several years of marriage, the light bulb went on and I finally realized something! My husband would tell me I was beautiful multiple times a day. When he kissed me, it seemed like he was truly attracted to me. I used to chalk that up to thinking that maybe he didn’t want to hurt my feelings or the age-old saying, “Love is blind.” I would wonder – How did he not see what I saw when I looked in the mirror? How could he possibly be attracted to me? But on that glorious day, I realized for the first time that he knew something I didn’t. He knew how to love me unconditionally. He loved me pre-baby weight and post-baby weight. He loved me with or without wrinkles. He loved me whether I was dressed up for a night out on the town or covered in baby drool. He loved me for me and wasn’t caught up on the things I considered my flaws.
From that day forward, I have allowed myself to believe the things my husband says when he looks at me. It is still a struggle from time to time, but I am aware now that I cannot love him like he deserves to be loved, until I let go of all of my faults that I see and love myself. When I’m having a particularly rough day, I go back and read sweet emails he has sent me, old cards from past Valentine’s Days, or simply pick up the phone and call him… his voice always makes me feel better about myself. I may not be perfect. I may be a bit chubby, holding onto a few extra pounds from the last baby (who is now four years old). I may not be the best housekeeper. I may not be the best cook. But I did help create four beautiful children, we have an amazing family, and I AM a pretty intelligent woman – after all… I married him! And that was a pretty smart decision.
Loving myself more has helped me love my husband more than I ever thought possible. Our relationship has blossomed emotionally and physically, and we just celebrated our fourteenth wedding anniversary! So give yourself a break! Remember that you are amazing! Look past your faults, and love the good inside of you! It will allow you to be a better wife, a better mom, and a better person all around! Check out Corie’s Gratitude Journal idea, and see how you can remind yourself of all the good things your hubby does and is, too!