A mirror can be a hostile enemy to a woman. Although it is a reflection of her image — the image she sees is often a poor comparison to the ideal image within her imagination. You can almost hear the screams when you walk past the women's lounge. Very few women leave a mirror with a satisfying sigh of relief — most exhale a few self-imposed curses murmuring out their disgust.
It's pretty obvious that "modern" culture is hostile toward women. The social antipathy causes many women to succumb to a false body image. They can never measure up — or as you're about to see, they will never measure down—to satisfy the delusional nature of this culture.
The Dove brand launched a campaign to offset the dysmorphia of how women measure beauty. After an exhaustive study, Dove found that only 2 percent of women around the world describe themselves as beautiful.
Recently, Steven, a husband from Colorado emailed this question:
"My wife is constantly comparing herself to other women and continues to put herself down. She is so unhappy with herself that it's having an effect upon our relationship. She has no confidence. What can I do to help her?"
Do you know a husband's words have a cleansing effect upon the appearance of his wife?
In fact, his words benefit her better than any secret formula of anti-wrinkle cream. Paul described this anti-aging, blemish removing, wrinkle cream this way:
"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless." (Ephesians 5:25-27)
Abraham spoke kind and comforting words over his wife when he changed her name from Sarai, which means "my princess," to Sarah, which means "a noble lady." This may seem like a subtle change, but it had an incredible affect upon her. Abraham stopped referencing her as a youthful "cutie," and allowed her to mature into her beauty.
Some men haven't learned this lesson. We should allow our wives to grow into their maturity as a lady. Here are seven compliments every husband should say out loud to his wife.
1. "You're the love of my life."
You can't say it enough. This phrase has incredible meaning and can't be replaced. As simple as it sounds, saying "I love you" is still the most powerful compliment given by a man. Don't be stingy about saying it. Say it often and without reservation.
Don't say a dress looks good on her. That emphasizes the dress looking good. Rather say, "You make that dress look good." She is the object of your affection — not the dress. It's a subtle but powerful twist on an outdated compliment.
3. "I want to get your perspective on this issue."
This compliment tells your wife her mind is attractive to you. Being involved in a difficult decision that you're facing will draw out of her a complemental wisdom that she can add to your life. She will feel like you value her partnership.
4. "You're a beautiful woman."
Don't say, "I like you the way you are." The subliminal suggestion is that there is something flawed you're willing to live with. Instead, say, "My attraction to you has only grown through the years, you get better and better."
5. "You make me want to be a better man."
I borrowed this line from the movie, As Good As It Gets, but this is probably the most successfully crafted compliment a man can give. I just wish I would have said it first. This compliment is the essence of the complementary relationship a wife has with her husband.
6. "The intimacy of my eyes are for you."
This compliment reassures her you only have eyes for her. Job said, "I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman" (Job 31:1). This compliment is reinforced when you are with your wife in public but your gaze stays with her, and your attention is fixated upon her needs.
7. "You're all the proof I need that God favors me."
Solomon said, "He that finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord." (Proverbs 18:22)
I really like how pastor, poet and author Eugene Peterson paraphrases Ephesians 5:25-28 in the Gold Medallion Book Award Winner, The Message:
"Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church — a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ's love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They're really doing themselves a favor — since they're already "one" in marriage."
Really, a wife is a reflection of her husband's ability to compliment her. His words are like the seeds of a farmer that return the harvest he desired when he planted the crop. Remember: it's a fantasy to expect a harvest you haven't sown a seed to have.
Ask yourself: is my wife confident in herself? If not, begin today to evaluate the words you speak over her. Sow into her kind, affirming words and watch as she transforms into a confident, mature woman.