What messages do you send your bride? Odds are you are sending her some you do not intend, and failing to send some you should. If you want her to believe something, and especially if you want to change her self-perception the key is repetition; say it over and over and over and she will start to believe it (hey, it works for advertisers and politicians!)
I am not assuming all of the following are true. Some of these depend on your wife, but some of them are more about your choices. If you cannot honestly say some of these, ask yourself if this indicate you need to work on something. Please personalise these, and use the list as a starting place. Consider your bride’s past, and what you know of her concerns and fears, and build a list of assurances that will really help and bless her.
- I love you: Yes, this is basic, but she needs to hear it often.
- You are beautiful: Body image is huge in our culture, and virtually every woman is fearful she is far from beautiful.
- You are a great mother: If she is a mother, she certainly has doubts about how she is doing. I know she is not perfect, and it is appropriate to discuss it with her when you feel there is a problem, but that needs to be accompanied by plenty of support and praise for her when she does a good job of parenting.
- You are not your mother: Many women struggle with this on some level, either fearful they are not “as good as” their mother in some way, or fearful they are becoming like their mother in ways they dislike. Set her free from this! Make it clear she is her own person and that is good with you.
- You can do it: It being whatever – a short-term goal, a long term dream, a project, whatever. She needs your encouragement and support daily.
- I would marry you all over again: She may wonder at times if you regret marrying her. Make sure she knows you do not.
- I want God’s will for your life: This one is huge, and if you mean it, it will cost you. Let her that you are more about her having God’s best than what you want. Encourage her to seek His will, and walk boldly in it.
- You are smart: Most of us worry about our intelligence from time to time, and cultural messages being what they are this is more common for women (and especially for stay at home moms). Tell her you think she has a great mind, and uses it well (and be sure the way you treat her says the same thing).
- I want to protect you: Regardless of how she feels about traditional male and female roles, you are stronger, more aggressive, and naturally protective of her. God made you this way, and it is a comfort to her. Make sure she knows you feel protective.
- I need you in my life: Let her know she is not a spare tire, but an integral and wanted part of your life.
- I want to share an adventure with you: There are seasons of life when adventure seems impossible, but long term we all need to be living an adventure to feel right. Let your bride know you want to live an adventure with her, not just come home and tell her about your adventures.
- I enjoy you sexually: Please note this is not “I enjoy sex with you” – this is about her, not the sex. If sex is a problem area, try to find something positive you can mention so she does not feel too discouraged. If sex is good, let her know it is good, and she is satisfying you.
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