If you pull up any article that talks about the most attractive trait that women look for in a man, confidence will surely come up. Women find it very difficult to be with men that lack confidence because it generally means that they are indecisive, overly agreeable, and way too clingy. And yet, women in relationships are not very confident.
Some would argue that women want a confident man to compensate for their own lack of decisiveness or their own confidence issues. I find this rationale to be overly simplistic. For my money, men and women both lack confidence, but men show a different side of themselves to mask their insecurities. I also believe that women look for confident men because they do not want to date or marry someone that they will not able to respect.
There are a lot of theories about the confidence dynamic between men and women, too many to focus on in this space. Regardless of the dynamics however, a lack of confidence can truly hurt a relationship or a marriage. I’d like to share some basic things that unconfident wives do. I want to develop some mindfulness around this because that which we are mindful of can turn into that which we begin to work on.
1. Say sorry too much: We apologize when we did something wrong or as a way of acknowledging someone’s pain or grief. For the unconfident however, saying sorry is a habitual act, largely carried out because they are consistently unsure of where they stand with whomever they express sorry to. It’s almost like a nervous impulse. Wives are historically apologetic for things that they have no reason to be sorry for. In a marriage that is supposed to be a partnership, an over apologetic wife can create a power shift that leans in favor of the husband.
2. Qualify their statements too much: Have you ever said something and followed it up with “but anyways” as if what you just said did not matter? Yeah, this would be a qualifying statement. Qualifying statements are nervous impulses that one does when they are unsure of their own value and thus the value of their words. Much like overly apologetic tendencies, qualifying statements can create unhealthy, permanent power shifts.
3. Become overly agreeable: If you lack confidence, you will end up agreeing with people out of fear of losing their favor or out of a simple but damaging feeling that your desires or views are invalid.
4. Lose their voice: Someone who lacks confidence will eventually lose their voice. From their lens, their voice carries no weight or their words no importance.
5. Forgo their own needs: I have met way too many wives who daydream about their needs and see them as unattainable pipe dreams. This sad reality surfaces when a wife has lost her confidence and feels the need to do anything she can to maintain the marriage or the peace.
6. Become too clingy: In a lot of cases, an unconfident wife will be so far removed from who she is that she latches on to the only person she ultimately identifies with, her husband.
7. Adjust: I recently had a client tell me that her husband no longer knows who she is. He said something to the effect of “you’ve become someone that I did not marry.” I asked this client if she knew the source of this statement, and she described a change that she undertook over the past five years.
In her words “I gained weight and was out of work for several months. I was so afraid of what I was becoming, and I just knew he’d leave. I found myself adjusting to everything I thought he would want.”
When you adjust who you are and become so far removed from who you really are, you no longer know you. Neither does your husband.
8. Tolerate: Wives who lack confidence will tolerate infidelity, abuse, laziness and a host of other unhealthy, unacceptable behaviors.
9. Settle: When we lack confidence, we end up accepting a lot less than what we deserve because we are sure that we cannot get any better. Wives are really good at this, especially as the marriage progresses and things like sex and spontaneity go the way of the dinosaurs. Will they speak up? Will they leave if it lingers? Nope.
10. Beat themselves up: Lastly, an unconfident wife will look past the unhealthy things in their spouse or their marriage and point strictly to themselves as the problem, the person that must change.
Be mindful of these habits of an unconfident wife and ask yourself, does it look familiar? Was I that wife? Am I that wife? Remember, you must love yourself first before you can truly love someone else and be loved in return.