You Look Great! No I Don’t

Brad says…

Husband; “Wow, Hun you look great.” Wife; “No I don’t.” Every guy I know says that they have had this conversation with their wife countless times. Kate’s post, “I’m Not Attracted to My Husband Anymore“, and my still wildly popular “I Don’t Find My Wife Attractive Anymore” brought up the extremes of dealing with attraction. This is a battle that almost every couple has. Eventually one of two things happens. Either the wife finally starts to believe her husband and takes the compliment. Or, sick of fighting it the husband stops telling her all together.

Expect Her DenialGirl

The comment that your wife makes isn’t just fishing for more compliments and it isn’t calling you a liar. Her response is not intended to hurt you at all. It is usually based out of years of training to not appreciate the way that she looks. It may take years of “unlearning” before she will stop the immediate come back. Here are a few ways you can help her take the compliment

Speak Up Specifically

Guys even if we are not  the root of the problem our reaction does alot to determine how our wife will react. When we don’t notice our wives or we don’t take the time to stop and tell them specifically what we like about them. It is easy to say “You look nice” while you are passing each other, or during a commercial break. It takes more commitment to be specific. If you can relate to the constant denial argument, then your first step is to get specific.

Mention her clothes, pay attention to her hair, point out your favorite body parts! Whatever you do make it specific to what you like about your wife. It is much harder to deny a specific compliment then it is the generic “you look great.” She will still try, but it is a start.

Start with I Think

Rather than saying, “You look great in that shirt, it really shows off your curves” try adding a “I think” in front of your statement. “Wow, I think you look great in those jeans.” “I think your hair looks really nice tonight.”

It is much harder to deny what you think rather than you telling her what she is.

Be Persistent

Even if your wife continues on the denials it doesn’t mean she doesn’t appreciate the compliment. Don’t give up. Remember her come back is not intended to hurt you, it is only showing you a picture of the hurt that she already has inside of her. It is your job to root it out. Be persistent. Don’t give up!

Ladies do you have any other suggestions for us?
Guys does this happen to you? How have you dealt with it?
Let us know in the comments!

Photo courtesy of and © Twmedia | Dreamstime Stock Photos

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31 Responses to You Look Great! No I Don’t

  1. The suggestion to use “I think…” is awesome! It will totally disarm her, I’m sure, though plenty of women will come back with “but this is wrong and this is wrong… how can you think that?” And the encouragement to keep at it… yes, yes, yes! Women are bombarded with pictures of beauty that we cannot, in our wildest dreams, match. I avoid seeing such things, even though I think I’m rather secure in my self-image and I know my hubby thinks I’m hot (not sure I actually understand what ‘hot’ is, but I’ll take his word on it). Really, it doesn’t matter how secure and confident she is, enough of the bombardment will get to her. So, yes, Hubbies, speak up, keep at it and be honest. If something is distinctly not flattering (or a zip is open, or something horrid is going on) speak up with “I think you would want to know that your skirt is bunching in the back.” Something she can easy fix. You are being honest, which makes the “Wow, babe, I think you look great in that skirt.” a bit more meaningful. And be specific. The “I think you look hot” is fun, but it means very little.

    Great post, Brad. Thanks!

  2. One of the first really serious conversations my hubby and I had was dealing with my body image. He sat me down early in our marriage and voiced his opinion about my body. I had to trust his opinion. That conversation was so important to me. I finally understood his desire of my body from his view. This conversation took place more than a quarter of a century ago.

  3. I loved this post! As a husband who has had the “roll-the-eyes-and-look-disgusted” reaction thrown back in response to the vast majority of the compliments I give my wife, I had completely given up on trying to convince her of her beauty. Ironically, before ever reading this post, God laid it on my hesrt to address this with her. This past weekend I took her by the band and explained how that resction hurt me, then informed her it would not dissuade me anymore and I was going to tell her of her beauty as often as I pleased and she darn well better get used to it.

    I have also employed the specificity tactic to great success success, and I will now add the “I think” twist to my arsenal. With the bogus portrayal the media has given of “beauty”, it is time we as husbands stand up and raise our voices about what truly makes our wives beaitiful- and how beautiful they are. With billions of advertising dollars screaming against what true beauty is, we have our work cut out for us, but God also gave us a special ability to speak to our wives souls the way no billboard or Cover Girl commercial can. It’s time we put that gift to use, in spite of the denail response we often receive.

    Sorry for the mini-blog I’m leaving here. Thank you, Brad, for your encouragement and Godly perspective.

    God bless!

    -Michael

    • Thanks Michael,
      I know alot of husbands give up when they hit this “resistance”. I hope this encourages them to keep going! Our wives need to hear us telling them how beautiful they are! The “world” tells them otherwise, and unless we are the voice of truth they will either suffer from horrible self image, or be vulnerable to hearing the truth elsewhere.

  4. “I think” is a very good approach and I will have to start using it. For the past few years, my wife and I have used the simple phrase “Please accept my gift.” when the other is resistant to accept a compliment. This has served us well too.

  5. This is all well and good, but what if you don’t think she looks good? Do I lie and propagate an incorrect idea? My wife does NOT listen to me when I offer a preference, she just does what she wants. Ex: She had great long hair when we married. She knew I liked it, but cut it very short. She wears dumpy/frumpy clothes rather than something that may appeal to me or even flatter her body. Worst thing is she will not take care of herself physically. She continues to gain weight (I’m not talking 5-10 lbs, more like obese) even though she knows I struggle and it is unhealthy! Do I say “Wow! You look amazing in that outfit!” when it is very unflattering? Do I say “I want to see you naked” when I don’t? Why is the man the one who just deals with it. It goes both ways.

    • Frustrated Husband,

      I can only relate to my personal experience. When I met my Hubby I was a size 11/12. Long story short, I grew to a hefty size 22 (3X). I’m now a size 16 again and have been for the last two years.

      The significance of these details are, my hubby never loved me less when I was a size 22. God bless that man. He is my beloved of my youth. He is now balding with grey hair, and I love him more now than when we married.

      Are there things you could do to align your attitude to be more like Jesus? He loves us even when we don’t deserve it.

      I seriously thank God every day that I did not end up with someone who judges me by my looks. Better than this is, I thank God every day that I ended up with someone who loves me unconditionally…no matter what.

      It is because of this unconditional love that I receive from hubby, that I show him every day/night how much I really do love him.

      • I’m not talking love. I love her. I am not thinking of leaving. I will continue to serve and support her. But I’m talking about the intent of this post. Do you lie and encourage the continuation of unhealthy living and (in the case of hair style and clothes)just allow the one spouse to ignore the other spouses preference? I can’t say “you look hot” when it isn’t true. She will never see the need to lose weight if she thinks I’m good with it. She asks me if I like her new hair do, I don’t and she knows it. So why ask? I would love her hair a little longer. How does a spouse (I’m sure she has issues with me as well) deal with stuff like that?

        • Frustrated Husband,

          You are her mirror. She listens to you. She values you.

          So, she cut her hair off. It might be for convenience. Is she a full time mom? Is long hair a headache for her because she’s so busy with everyone else? It’s just a thought here. It might also only be temporary until she can devote more time to her hair.

          You say she’s gained weight. Do things together on the weekends to keep active. Here’s a thought. Make love to your wife (and often). Tell her how much she turns you on. Woo her.

          Fake it until you make it true. May the Lord remove the scales from your eye so you can see the true beauty in your wife.

          You love her. This effort is worth it. I lost the weight and she will too, with a supportive husband.

          • The thing is, she doesn’t listen to me or value me. It is very plain. Who she cleans the house for. Who she takes time out of her day for. Who she dresses up for. Who she goes the extra mile for….. You are right, the hair is a small thing, but it was the lack of communication to me that hurt. I’m not looking for VERY long hair again. I’m sure that is a pain to care for. But she cropped it VERY short and has NO intention of ever letting it get much longer. She has told me that.

            I try to be active with her, but the excess weight is limiting her and actually has given her joint problems. I still express my interest in our sex life, but sleep apnea has taken her to the chair in the living room to sleep in a more upright position. She also spends time late in the evenings doing dishes, crafts, TV, reading, facebook, phone calls, etc… So I typically go to bed alone.

            “Fake it until you make it true.” I see the beauty in my wife. She is a kind-hearted servant to many. I have no ‘scales’ toward that aspect of her life. As to being a healthier wife, I’ve been praying and pleading for 20 years and it is just getting worse. I’ve been supportive, she shows NO interest in losing weight. All I here are excuses about all the things that make weight loss difficult.

    • Frustrated,
      Thank you for your questions. I think it is a good question, trying to find the balance between truth and flattery, or truth and encouragement.

      You seem to be stuck on the question is it lying to tell her that I find her attractive when I don’t. I understand what you are saying, but I would encourage you to think about the Biblical story of Zacchaeus (Luke 19: 1-10).

      Zack was not a nice man, every one hated him. Yet Jesus didn’t say to him, “Go clean yourself up so you can come to have dinner with me.” He did the opposite. He said, “Come as you are, and I’ll show you how much I value you. Then as a result you might want to make some life changes.”

      Yes, that is talking about inward “unattractiveness” and you are talking about outward, but I think they relate.

      The problem really isn’t about lying, it is about how do you show love that will lead to change. People rarely change because of a negative, and if they do it is often temporary. They make the kind of life changes you are talking about because someone has shown them they have value.

      I would encourage you to talk about your wife’s value. How much you love and appreciate her. Pray that you can see the beauty in her. Then tell her about it!

      Start there, then be willing to talk about how the two of you can get healthy together, not with the goal of changing her appearance, but in achieving health together.

      When she makes a change like her hair, you can talk about your preferences, but only after you find out why she decided for the change.

      I hope that helps…
      Brad

      • Much of this is addressed in my reply to ‘FarAboveRubies’. Thank you for the response.

        • Hi Frustrated Husband,

          Both my hubby and FarAboveRubies have shared and the one thing that keeps coming back to me is this: While I understand that lying is not something you want to do, nor is it good for a marriage. You can be an encourager of your wife. Be her biggest fan. Cheer her on. Love her even when she does nothing in return. As it has been said we are barraged with media and images that sell us a lie about ourselves. That we will never be good enough. Some dive into extreme exercise and diet to fight that lie while others go the other direction. There are two relationships on this earth that can affect your wife’s view of herself-you are one of them. The other is her father. You cherishing her and loving her in this time is vital to her loving herself. Ultimately she has to see her worth in Christ, but God has given her you, as her groom on earth.

          In my last post (link is above in this post) I addressed the issue of praying for restored attraction/desire. Even though it was written for husbands, it is true for both spouses. I would encourage you to pray for this, God can do that in your life. Then you will be speaking with truth when you tell your wife she looks good. God can restore that attraction!

          The other thing is to remember to view your wife as God sees her. Beautiful and cherished-always!

          The only thing we CAN ever do is to pray for our spouse and to love them as Ephesians 5 calls us to do, no matter how they are or are not loving/respecting us in return. Is it easy? No, many times it is a struggle. But one that God wants to help you through. Know that we hear your hurt and pain. I believe in both of your hearts being healed! Blessings, Kate

          • (Sorry it has been awhile. Summer time my job is a killer.) Thank you for the response and encouragement. It is hard to keep giving without the response you hope for. That is selfish sounding in a way, but ‘real life’. She is a very giving person in general, but in the case of me and our marriage, she gives what she thinks will bless me. Not what I’ve told her blesses me. So it is all on her terms or standards.

        • Frustrated Husband,
          You are the one who is outwardly unhappy. Then it might make sense if you make the first move to change things.

          You mentioned that your wife doesn’t value you. I call this a lack of respect. Could you set aside time to communicate, just the two of you? If you would serve her, things might change. Do you know what love language speaks to her?

          It’s very likely that your wife is also unhappy. If my husband would’ve nagged me about being a hefty 3X, I would’ve gained more weight. That’s reality.

          We have a rule (among many) that we go to bed within minutes of each other. We feel it makes for a more intimate relationship. I’m not sure if you can do that due to her medical condition.

          Another “rule” we have is, neither one of us can turn down sexual intimacy. “No” only happens if we both agree with “no”.

          I will pray for both of you.

          • You are right that I am unhappy. It is because I’ve made the “first move to change things” to no avail. As I’ve said, I continue to serve and pursue, I go out of my way to look to bless her in her LL (yes I know it). I have tried to communicate in various ways my emptiness and hurt. Our LL’s are not the same yet she tries to love me in her LL, NOT mine, despite my communication to the difference.

            I wish we could go to bed around the same time, but you are right, her medical issues (as well as her own choices as to spending her time) make that a hit-and-miss thing. If we do go to bed at the same time, quite often she just reverts to the chair soon after anyway. So it isn’t like we are sleeping together. Or, due to disturbed sleep patterns, she is tired all the time and I feel badly about even asking for a time of intimacy. (Especially in the morning.)

            I just never imagined it would be this way. If Jesus waits, or I don’t have some accident, I’ve got 30+ years to live. It could be tough. I know He will help me, but that doesn’t eliminate the pain and rejection.

  6. I guess it depends on her how you approach it. There is no one-size fits all answer. Is she open to your being honest? If not, then bald honesty will not do any good.

    I think the best you can do is lead by example. Offer to shop and cook healthy meals. Unless she’s part of the 1% of the population that has a medical issue, chances are it’s too much unhealthy food and not enough healthy exercise.

    Ask her to go on walks, bike rides, hike to a picnic site, etc.

    If she’s willing to talk ask her what she thinks about it.

    She probably knows. The question is is she willing to do anything about it and does she feel supported by you?

  7. Frustrated Husband,
    I believe that the issues you are dealing with goes beyond the scope of this

  8. Frustrated Husband,
    Sorry about that. My computer just went crazy. Anyways, I believe that the issues you are dealing with goes beyond the scope of this post.

    Have you thought about counseling? The most important thing is a marriage is communication. Without that, things would be very hard. I truly am praying for your marriage.

    • We have tried counseling. Funny thing about sitting in a room airing out your life. It is truly hard to find someone who doesn’t appear to have a bias. A female Dr might seem to lean towards the wife in which the husband doesn’t seem listened too. A male Dr might come across to the wife as just a ‘good ole boy’ siding with another man. Plus, by the time you get your life story out there, you have enough time and money invested that you don’t want to go searching for a new Dr. How does one go about finding an impartial Dr who is willing to equally challenge each person?

      • Have you looked into going to a Christian counselor? You can’t simply be looking for sides here. You guys are on the same side but just don’t know it yet. It will take some good old fashioned communication skills to get you guys there. This won’t cost you a dime. You must play fair. No name calling ever. No profanity ever. No bringing up the past once forgiveness has been had. No attacking relatives…even if they deserve it. Trust me. The list goes on and on.

        Would you be interested in ground rules for a Christian marriage? It’s very long.

        • Like I said, we have tried counseling. (Yes they were Christian. We wouldn’t see a secular one. No. Way. No. How. lol) We’ve seen one of both genders and neither time was successful. Any help in making a selection would be welcome.

          All those things you listed have never been an issue. It is usually just trouble talking and being willing to look at yourself and admit that issues exist. If you don’t see a problem, what is there to fix? If things are the way you like them, where is the need to change?

        • Oh, the ground rules. Sure I’m open to good teaching and info. (Don’t know if she is, but …)

      • Just jumpin in here . . . Brad and I always say that marriage counseling is best done by a couple! Brad does counseling as one of his professions, he is a licensed in our state. And yet he always gets frustrated when he meets with couples, because he says its best to have me there to challenge the wife as he challenges the husband. We do couples coaching together, but not counseling. If you can find a couple, that is always best!!! 🙂

      • Frustrated Husband,
        Kate is 100% correct. It would be very good with couples counseling. I found these set of ground rules that I read over and over. It was submitted by someone from The Marriage Bed website.

        Ground rules:
        1. Sex is a gift from God for our intimacy, pleasure, and procreation.
        2. We will not use sex as a reward for “good” behavior.
        3. We will not withhold sex as a punishment for “bad” behavior.
        4. Sex is good and beautiful and we want to do it a LOT! We will always be cheerful and generous lovers.
        5. The one with less desire will always try to please the one with greater desire.
        6. We never go to sleep angry. We always work it out before sleeping. We will never walk away from an disagreement. Silence is not an option.
        7. We never refuse sex or any other intimate act. Never, ever.
        8. Not all sex needs to involve romance or a big buildup. “Quickies” are also fine. Sometimes it is OK to just “get your release.” [mod edit]
        9. We give each other ALL our sexuality and intimacy, including control over masturbation, and the keeping of friends of the opposite sex. We do not expect privacy from each other in these things.
        10. We don’t ask for sex when it would truly cause pain or injury, or anger. These times should be very rare.
        11. I am not qualified to judge whether I am being a good husband or wife. Only you are qualified to make this judgment. If you say “there is a problem” or that I am not being a good husband or wife, then that settles the matter and I will change until you judge me to be a good mate.
        12. I will always listen to your rebuke. If I am wrong I will apologize, ask for your forgiveness, and then repent and start to change my ways immediately and without resentment.
        13. I agree that you may appeal to the Bible at any time. If you can show me that what I am doing is contrary to sound teaching, I will change my opinion and actions without argument. I promise to always be “teachable”.
        14. If all this fails I will not refuse to go to our pastor with you for counsel. I will listen to what he says. In fact either one may compel the other to go to the doctor, or counselor, at any time (jointly).
        15. We each have the authority over the other’s body according to 1 Cor 7. This authority should only be used to increase intimacy, never decrease it.
        16. In disagreements over things that distract from our marriage the more permissive one will yield to and support the more conservative one.
        17. In disagreements over which influences are harmful to our children the more permissive one will yield to and support the more conservative one.
        18. We will not argue in front of children. We will always present a united front to them.
        19. We will not be so involved in ministry to save the world that we lose our own children for Christ. They are our first mission field.
        20. Our marriage comes before the children in importance. We will not neglect each other’s needs because we are so busy with the children’s needs.
        21. In all things the Bible will guide us. We do not start with the assumption that American culture is correct. We will conform our family life to Bible standards and not to our surrounding culture.
        22. When one of us offends the other it is not sufficient to just apologize. Generally there is sin involved, so confession and forgiveness are required in a Christian relationship. This means “I am sorry. Please forgive me.” followed by “I forgive you.” (Never “That’s OK.” Because it is not OK). And once forgiveness is given the forgiving one must “forget” the matter and loses the right to bring up the topic or have it affect his/her attitude or behavior forever more.

        All of these commitments, and more, we made to each other before we wed, and we have kept them to this day 30 years later.

        These rules have made our marriage solid. We have had tough problems, but worked through them relatively quickly. It is not acceptable to let dissatisfaction boil for years.

        It’s from 2008 and not by FarAboveRubies but I do like these rules.

        • Of course they aren’t yours! They come from Job29man. (credit where credit is due) I agree, they are good rules to live by.

          • I read it and copied it word for word from him! Yes! It was a while back but still good. I wish I would have known all those ground rules when we first got married. I have 25 years of learning on the fly. My hubby is a very good man. I speak highly of him. Life is easy with him.

            I am stilling praying for openness in your marriage, with that comes growth.

  9. I stumbled across this just randomly scrolling through my news feed. I am one of those women who say “no I don’t” and the male perspective in your article gave me insight as to how my husband must feel when I say that. Thank you for sharing this! As for the “Frustrated Husband”s situation I am speaking from experience with this situation. My husband wasn’t attracted to me was open about it and even when he didn’t say the words I felt it. One day a Co worker looked at him and said “who do u think you are Brad Pitt” that somehow opened his eyes. He started only coming to me for his “needs” and through that simple act God opened his mind he saw me as his wife,friend,lover etc suddenly he says to me “I don’t see the weight anymore” within less than a yr I lost 100 lbs from ansize 18 to a 0 or 00 pants. I had to do it for myself not for him. Spite is a crazy thing for me it was I’m not going to do anything about it BC he wants me to I have to do it BC I want to. See her heart and only her heart frustrated. I wore frumpy clothes and could care less about anything except our kids. We were both miserable. Pray for God to help u be the husband he intended for u to be. Do u look in the mirror and see male perfection? Most likely not. None of us r. We all have “problem” areas. Except hers. Make sure everything is ok medically with her. Im insulin resistant and that was a big part of my weight gain to begin with. Once that was fixed I could loose weight naturally. I can’t express how much that simple phrase changed our lives. I thank God everyday for opening my husbands eyes and mine as well to the couple he made us to be. Hope this helps! God bless!!

    • Ashley,

      You stumbling over here must be a God thing. This blog is really good for encouraging Christian married couples. If you Google “The Forgiven Wife” you will find a blog with a wealth of information about saying “no”. Her story is quite the journey.

      I celebrate with you that your eyes are starting to be opened about marital intimacy. God gave us our husbands to love completely. Thank you for sharing.

    • First of all I want to say congratulations on the weight loss. And I’m so glad that he had that revelation and the heart attitude change that helped drive that loss.

      It is interesting that you used the ‘Brad Pitt’ thing. I have used a similar statement with my wife, admitting that I’m not ‘______’ and I don’t expect you to be ‘______’. I am a very average man, nothing to swoon over. I’ve put on a little weight, but I’m trying to be healthy. I just want her to be that as well. Because I fully believe that reasonable weight loss would actually change a lot in our case as well. We could sleep together. She would feel sexier. I would see her as working on our marriage. We would be able to be more active together. All those things have been stolen from us.

  10. Frustrated Husband, It says so much about you as a husband that you are reaching out for help on this I hope your wife realizes that you are fighting to help your marriage. That her weight and health are effecting your marriage in a negative way. Thank you for the congratulations. It wasn’t easy and believe me calorie counting is NO FUN and sometimes a pain in the butt. If she decides to try there is an app on android for calorie counting that was a life saver for me. Just search calorie counter its by fat secret. Try to keep in mind that diets don’t work if you have to deprive yourself of anything it will make it harder to stick to it. Just count everything. My weakness was fudge rounds. I ate them but I counted them also. It seems like she has given up on herself. Now is when she needs u to lift her up. Date her again. Make her feel extra special maybe that will help. Keep in mind she has to want it, she can’t do it for u. Maybe try surprise dates that include a long walk. Or shopping the mall. And when u go out make sure that u are affectionate with her. Hold her hand. Don’t let her feel like u are ashamed of her. Encourage her! A woman who feels loved can accomplish so much more than one who feels criticized. Pray for her and don’t give up.I prayed for 7 yrs for my husband to love me like I wanted him to. I thank God everyday that I never gave up BC if I had I would of missed out on what we have today. Try giving her some incentive. my husband told me if I lost the weight he would pay for a tummy tuck..lol. I didn’t get the tummy tuck BC I was lucky and didn’t need it but the fact that he would do that for me meant so much. I was afraid I would have a skin sagging problem after I lost the weight and he said baby if u loose it and u do then I will pay for the tummy tuck if u want it. I know it sounds crazy but it gaveme something to work towards . I hope maybesomething i’ve said helps.
    Rubies thank u so much. You are so right it was a God thing!