Wifey Wednesday: Insecurity in Marriage

Christian Marriage Advice

It’s Wednesday, the day when we talk marriage! I write a post, and then you all chime in by linking up your own marriage posts to the Linky below!

Today we have a guest post from Rajdeep Paulus, a YA author who blogs at In Search of Waterfalls. She’s sharing with us about how her husband helped her low self-esteem–and helped her overcome her insecurity about her relationship.

Insecurity in Marriage: How My Husband Helped Me Conquer Low Self Esteem

When we first tied the knot, I walked nearly every step with insecurity. Jealous, afraid, and constantly putting myself down. In fact, whenever an argument ensued, even about the silliest thing like dishes or socks on the floor, I quickly resorted to digging a grave. My grave. With words like, “It’s all my fault. I should have asked you nicely. (Or my personal favorite.) I’m always wrong. I’m the screwed up one, so I’ll just go over to my little corner and throw me another pity party. Last one was five minutes ago, but who’s counting.”

Life in those newlywed days wasn’t too different from a scene out of a bad sitcom. When one dish fell to the ground with a crash, I would throw the rest down, metaphorically-speaking. Something about the din of breaking glass dulled my pain and masked the deeper issues. I believed lies about myself that pushed me into a cave so deep within myself, I had no idea how to get out and to be honest, I think I kind of liked my cave. The comfort of the familiar mess I lived in seemed like a safe place to sit and hurt.

But then you get married and now your cave is his cave and if you hurt, he hurts too. And the truth is, unless you let each other into those deep places, you live in a lonely place while you live with someone. And that has got to be one of the saddest states to be in. Together. And alone.

For the record, I didn’t grow up in an abusive home. I didn’t experience any major trauma in my upbringing. There’s no moment I can point to and say, there, that’s where this warped thinking started. And something tells me I’m not alone. A lot of us struggle with a healthy view of ourselves and no matter how many times someone says to you, ‘You is kind. You is smart. You is important,” you still don’t believe it.

So my FIVE tips on how to help your Spouse’s Self Esteem are not out of a Psychology book or a Ten Steps guide.

It’s from my life. A work still in progress.

1. Repeat truths, every night, to counteract the lies of insecurity.

I am totally serious about this. Hubs used to have me say, “I’m beautiful and God made me beautiful so I’m beautiful” 3X every night. No joke. At first, I’d choke on the words with tears, because I just knew they weren’t true. Over time, I began to believe them. Now, fifteen years later, ask me to say them, and I’ll shout’em from the rooftop. You better believe they’re true.

2. Take care of your body and your health in general.

It doesn’t matter whether you work out together or apart, but exercise and make good food choices. I’m not talking about constant dieting or trying to work your body into a size that it’s not meant for. But the truth is, certain foods really do trigger depressing thoughts and when you do take care of your body, you feel prettier, more confident and all around more comfortable in your own skin. Yes, it’s an investment. Of time and money (if you join a gym) and it takes discipline. But you’ll be so thankful for the results, the internal ones so much more than the exterior.

3. Spend time with other friends, and don’t make your marriage the only source of your emotional fulfillment.

Girlfriend time is what I’m referring to. Or sports night out for guys type of thing. If you rely on your hubby to meet all your social needs, you’ll wear him out. And you’ll be gravely disappointed. Our spouses are not meant to be our all in all. They’re only human, after all.

4. Spend time with God and nurture your spiritual health.

Some people might shy away from this because they didn’t grow up with religion or had too much religion forced on them so they’re done. Maxed out and filled to the brim with all that mumbo jumbo. Well, I challenge you to find yourself the place where you do it for you. Read a psalm. Listen to a song with lyrics that tell you the truth. Pray for someone who is hurting in your life. And ask God, not the mirror, mirror on the wall, the truth about you. Fill your head and heart with truth and over time, the lies will fade. I really believe they will.

5. Spend intentional time together where you’re not distracted by work, kids, finances, and stress.

In other words, date as a couple. It’s not easy. But who ever promised that marriage would be easy. And take turns planning. It helps the planner to get a break and the other spouse to initiate. And when one spouse initiates a date night, it speaks volumes to the value that spouse places on the marriage. And once a year, if possible, invest in something longer, a weekend, a marriage retreat, a class like PAIRS or Third Option, something that says, “My Marriage is important and worth fighting for.” Read a book together like the Five Love Languages and then actively apply what you’ve learned. Who cares if you didn’t think of it? Someone did the work for you, but you still have to choose to get off your comfortable behind and live out the challenge. I always say that falling in love takes a moment, but loving someone takes a lifetime. Of daily choices. One act of kindness at a time. That’s the journey of marriage.

You might have noticed that none of these points to conquer insecurity in marriage included therapy or specific words to say or even a formula for how to get through low self-esteem seasons in your marriage. That’s because I don’t have them. What I have learned is that “the grass is greener where you water it,” but the weeds of life will never cease popping up to try and mess us up. When you take the time to take care of yourself, your spouse’s’ self-esteem issues should move to a better place, but ultimately, you cannot fix or change him. You have to work on you. And that helps the team of us. Every time. I really believe it does.

**On a side note, there’s something to say for complimenting your spouse in public, being thankful for your marriage in front of company, and championing his dreams in and out of the house, even if deep down you question the rationale for such a dream or his ability to reach it. Everyone needs a cheerleader in life. After all, we don’t walk this life alone. We weren’t meant to. And something mysterious happens when we allow those dreams to soar like kites. They lift us up, give us something to look forward to and help us swim through the cloudy days of marriage. :)

What’d I miss? What has helped you and your spouse during a season of doubt, insecurity or sadness? Got any date night ideas you want to share? Let us know in the comments!


swimmingthroughcloudsRajdeep Paulus studied English Literature at Northwestern University, and spent over a decade as an English Teacher and SAT Tutor, during which she married her best friend from Chicago whom she then followed to the island of Dominica where he began medical school. Fourteen years, four daughters, and a little house on a hill in the quaint town of Locust Valley, New York later, she now blogs weekly and writes masala-marinated, Y.A. fiction.When Raj is not tapping on her Mac, you can find her dancing with her princesses, kayaking with her hubs, coaching basketball or eating dark chocolate while sipping a frothy, sugar-free latte. She blogs at www.insearchofwaterfalls.com and secretly hopes someday she’ll own a laptop that functions under water.

And check out her first YA Novel: Swimming Through Clouds! Sheila reviewed it here.

Now, what advice do you have for us today? Just enter the URL of the individual post in the linky below! And make sure to link back here, too, so that other people can read all these great marriage posts!




Comments

  1. Great words of truth Rajdeep!

    What you’ve said about food is so true..Nothing gets us spiraling down faster, on those “down days” than a lot of over-processed foods and carbs, too much sugar and salt. They clog our systems and make the body, brain and emotions raw, slow. sluggish, dull and clouded. Funny thing is that when we are battling down days is when we crave some of these unhealthy things…so we need to MAKE choices!
    Thanks for sharing your journey.
    Ngina Otiende recently posted…4 Habits of Highly Effective Young CouplesMy Profile

  2. These are great points! Like Ngina, I feel especially passionate about #2. Taking care of our bodies through regular exercise and healthy food choices are essential to feeling good AND feeling good about ourselves. I’m sharing a post here today about the importance of moving your body every day – for me it makes all the difference in the world. Thanks so much for sharing.
    Gaye @CalmHealthySexy recently posted…31 Days to a Better Marriage – New Series Begins October 1!My Profile

  3. That is exactly what I needed today. I too have gotten into the same game of blaming myself for all problems. Simple or big. My husband is frustrated to say the least…I have already started doing some of these things and my thoughts toward myself are starting to change. Thank you so much for your honesty.

  4. Heather D says:

    I love the suggestion of spending more time with girlfriends. I really don’t have a lot of girlfriends, as most of my closer friends moved away in the past few years. The other day my sweet husband suggested that I get away for a weekend and spend some time with my friends. I seriously had no idea that I was exhausting him with my emotional chatter. This post really opened my eyes!

  5. Great article. However, I am not there with the #1 suggestion. I absolutely do not see myself as pretty or even cute. I used to be when I was 45lbs lighter. However that was when my hubby & I were separated & on the brink of divorce, 2 kids, 2 c-sections & 10 yrs ago. I have tried to list 5 things I like about my body, per “31 Days to Great Sex.” But I only focus on the flabby belly with stretch marks, surgery scars, fatter ( fuller sounds better, but just being honest) face, ugly haircut, eczema-stricken hands & gnarly feet. I just see my body looking more like my overweight mother’s body. Yuk. So when I look at my body, I see my moms. Ugh. My hubby made a comment that I was “hot” when he saw a picture of me 10 yrs ago. That has stuck w me. He does tell me at times that he loves my butt or if I high heels on. But I just don’t see myself as a sexy person like some celebrities. And that I shouldn’t have hot, steamy enjoyable sex. I’m trying to tell myself differently after reading “Good Girls Guide…” But the lies override my positive thoughts. Sorry for all the ranting.

    • It’s important to remember that celebrities and models don’t even look like celebrities. They are all photo shopped and air brushed. They also diet every day of their lives and spend between 1 and 4 hours a day in the gym. Sure we could look more like them if we had personal trainers, dieticians, chefs, make-up artist, hair-stylist and style consultants to look after us and hours a day to exercise but we don’t. So please don’t compare yourself to women in the media. I stopped watching TV and I never read magazines and guess what? I feel way better about my body.

      Do something nice to your body every day (sleep 7/8 hours, eat 5 fruits or vegetables, go for a 15 min walk whatever) and keep telling yourself the truth: you are a daughter of the Most High King! You are lovely.

      • Nicely handled, Hanlie. Especially the final line. I always tell my princesses (all four of them) that the only mirror that matters is the reflection in God’s eyes. But I also challenge them to love themselves by taking care of their mind, body, heart and spirit. And anything worth wanting takes hard work. Fight for your best self, Crystal. We’re all in this fight together! :) hugs, Raj
        Rajdeep Paulus recently posted…Top Ten Healthcare Questions You Didn’t Think To Ask MeMy Profile

  6. I LOVE this Sheila!! Thanks for encouraging us ladies not to forget about ourselves in the process of loving our hubbies. Great list!
    Summer recently posted…Have I Forgotten My Ministry As a Wife?My Profile

  7. Excellent post. I would add that sometimes one spouse’s insecurity may be magnified by the other spouse’s sinful behaviors or put-downs, and that such things need to be addressed through Biblical counseling. Learning how to love each other selflessly and communicate in a way that honors the Lord can make a huge difference.
    Sarah recently posted…Parenting: There are Worse Things Than YellingMy Profile

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