The Girl in the Mirror: Stop Complaining and Start Complimenting!

Dear Shaunti,

I used to really look forward to our Friday night date nights, but they’ve become a source of tension. For meetings at work, my wife is spot on time. But for our dates, she takes so long getting ready you’d think she’s about to compete on “Dancing with the Stars.” I’m a pretty patient guy, but I’m tired of missing our dinner reservations – or rushing, and stressing, and making them by mere seconds. Last night, I tried to get her to hurry up and she got so upset. How do I talk to her about this without her crying or making me sleep on the couch when we get home? -Hungry

Dear Hungry:

Here’s the secret: stop complaining and start complimenting!

Get an extra cup of coffee and wake up, my friend, because you’re missing the most important reason she’s taking so long. If she’s like most women, your wife probably isn’t trying on her tenth outfit or staring into the mirror and correcting smudged eyeliner because she’s enjoying making you wait, or has to look perfect just because she’s vain. She’s doing it for you.

Like most women on my surveys, she wants her man to notice her. And if you don’t seem to notice her, she’s going to try harder and harder to get your attention. And seriously – for your date, aren’t you sort of glad she doesn’t just throw her hair back in a ponytail and scratch the pancake crust off of her sleeve before you head out the door?

In fact — you’re kind of lucky she doesn’t just jab you in the eye with her smoky brown eyeliner pencil when you start complaining!

My husband, Jeff, and I have a daughter who is now a lovely teenage girl, but it wasn’t long ago that she was a little peanut. She’d twirl around in her costume dress and ask Jeff if he thought she was pretty. Well, girls may get taller, but they never outgrow that part of them that longs to hear the most important man in their lives tell them they are beautiful –more than 90 percent of the women on our survey for For Men Only said that was so important to them.

You might be thinking, “So what? I tell her she’s beautiful all the time!” If you’re that kind of guy, I give you two thumbs up and humbly remove the tip of my eyeliner pencil from your eyeball.

But even if you do say that every day, you still need to know this: Most women still want that, “WOW! You look AMAZING!” kind of affirmation from our guy, from time to time. Not just a pat on the head and an “I still think you’re pretty” when we’re covered in baby barf and there’s a hole in the crotch of our sweatpants.

There’s a difference, you know?

After all, these days it is pretty darned hard for a woman to assume that her man finds her attractive. There’s a lot of competition out there fighting for your line of sight. Our culture tells us we’re just doughy housewives unless we look like Kim Kardashian.

Thankfully, you sound like a very good man who cares about his wife a lot, and is simply wrestling with a very common question (and exasperation). You probably think “But she knows I find her beautiful – doesn’t she?” But never assume that. Instead, on your next date night, hold your breath and give your wife time to put the finishing touches on for you. The restaurant won’t grow legs and move across town. When she appears before you, tell her she takes your breath away. (No more “you look fine, let’s go” moments.) And if you DO miss the reservation, laugh it off and tell her you’d be delighted to have her gorgeous self with you in the McDonald’s. There’s a good chance the night will come to a much more fun-filled conclusion if you do.

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