What your wife really means when she asks, 'How do I look in this?'

Don't panic when your wife asks you how she looks in a certain outfit. This article offers four possible meanings behind the question "How do I look?

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  • It's the question husbands everywhere dread. Your wife shows you an outfit and asks, "How do I look in this?" Now, it's not always a loaded question, but your wife may be looking for more than a casual glance and a half-hearted, "Looks good, honey," when she asks for your opinion. Here are four underlying thoughts your wife might be having as she asks you to look at her.

  • Do you notice the effort I'm making?

  • I love it when my husband asks, "Is that a new dress?" when I'm wearing something three years old. If your wife asks you how she looks, she might want you to take notice of the effort she's making to look attractive. You can help her be assured of your appreciation by commenting on her appearance positively, and perhaps gifting her items she likes on special occasions. My husband is good at telling me I look nice and put together. I still have days I wear a sweatshirt and jeans, but I know when I make an effort it will be appreciated.

  • Do you love me no matter how I look?

  • Like many women, my body has changed over the course of my marriage, especially since having children. Sometimes I need validation from my husband that he doesn't mind the extra pounds and stretch marks, especially since his weight hasn't changed in 16 years. Husbands can reassure their wives of their beauty by giving compliments often, using terms of endearment and showing affection freely.

  • I need a little attention from you

  • If your wife asks how she looks, she's not just fishing for a compliment. She might be giving you a subtle hint that she could use some love and attention from you. You can give her attention in the ways she likes most, which might include a gift, a special note, a date or a night in together.

  • I want to know that you think I'm attractive

  • The best way to answer the question, "How do I look?" is by giving a true compliment. Even if you're not sure of the outfit or fashion sensiblility, you can say, "I like that color on you," "Your legs look great," or something similar. Women like to feel attractive to their mates. If it's not in your nature to give compliments regularly, start practicing.

  • Women don't have to be a mystery. Don't be scared the next time your wife asks how she looks. Give her a compliment and a little extra love. And, consider that she really might just want your opinion on her outfit. One last piece of advice: don't ever, ever say, "Not very good."

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Amy M. Peterson, a former high school English teacher, currently lives in Oregon with her husband and four children. She spends her days writing, reading, exercising and trying to get her family to eat more vegetables.

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