She'd spent hours preparing for their night out. From getting her nails done to shopping for the perfect dress to carefully arranging her hair and makeup, the end result was that she looked great. They'd hired a sitter and for the first time in months, they would be a couple again. Not parents, but a couple. But it would only be one night.
She emerges from the bathroom to find him sitting on the bed, adjusting his watch band. It has been years since she's looked this beautiful. The baby weight is gone now and she looks almost as good as they day they met. In some ways, even better. She knows the instant he looks at her, he'll be blown away.
"Did you leave the emergency numbers for the sitter?" she asks, knowing that will prompt him to look up.
With a slightly confused expression, he lifts his gaze. He focuses on her, squinting a little, then shakes his head. Without a word, he gets up and goes to the kitchen to put the numbers on the fridge.
She follows him. Obviously he was distracted by her question. It hurts a little that he wasn't blown away by her on first sight, but she'll give him another chance to redeem himself.
"Did you call to make the reservation?" he asks as she enters the kitchen. He walks from the fridge and stops at the edge of the counter. He's looking directly at her but she may as well be wearing the sweatpants and plain T-shirt that have become her daily wardrobe around here.
"Seven o'clock," she confims with a nod. And she waits. And waits. Still no compliment. The sitter arrives and they head out for the evening. As he opens the car door for her, she becomes all too aware that this evening can go two ways. She can throw a fit and ruin the evening or she can just push back her pain and try to forget that her husband no longer even looks at her anymore.
We all know which option she will choose.
Sometimes it seems as though a man would be better off murdering the family kitten than neglecting to tell his wife she's beautiful. Or going more than three months without sending her roses. Or calling her when he's going to be late coming home. I'm going to be the first woman in history to outwardly admit, we don't want to be hysterical about these things. We really don't.
We know even as we're saying the words just how nutty we sound, but we can't seem to help ourselves. You didn't say we were beautiful and in that moment we have an almost exhilirated anger with you because we know...
For this, you shall pay. And you shall pay dearly.
In preparation for this blog, I consulted my friend Bud, who has been happily married for years. He and his wife have learned a few things the hard way. Whenever a situation like this arises, instead of saying, "You didn't compliment me," which just puts him on the defensive, she'll say,
"Tell me how beautiful you think I am, in your own words." Or, "Tell me how much you love me." Instead of starting an argument, it becomes a fun little game, and it keeps him from feeling like she's saying he's a bad husband.
Men are not mind-readers. They just aren't. Sometimes life gets in the way, sometimes he takes a look at you and thinks, "Wow, she's so beautiful," but he can't quite find the words to express how he's feeling. Or maybe something happens that distracts him from telling you. Whatever the case, the woman feels taken for granted. She longs for those early days when you did tell her you thought she was beautiful. Back then you didn't assume she knew it. Back then you actually felt you had to tell her for her to know.
If I'm dressed up for the evening and he hasn't complimented me, I'm not sure there's anything I could do that would turn it around. The thing about romance is, if someone has to be told to do it, it loses its luster. But what I'm suggesting is that maybe men just need a little nudge every now and then.
Something that lets them know you need something that he isn't providing. And since temper tantrums only serve to completely destroy the evening, maybe simply asking for what we want is a more productive solution. How about saying, "Look at me and tell me what you think." Or, better yet, how about complimenting him and seeing if he says something in return?
But whatever you do, asking, "Do I look fat?" is NEVER a good idea!