A lack of self-esteem can damage any relationship. In marriage especially it can cause a lot of problems. A spouse suffering from low self-esteem can contribute to infidelity, child or spousal abuse, divorce or financial trouble. If your spouse has low self-esteem and you don’t think it matters, you might find out the hard way that it really does make a lot of difference.
This kind of problem can erode the foundations of your relationship until there is not much left. This might take years to happen and then the spouse will just blow up. Obviously this can have catastrophic results on the relationship.
You cannot force any to have more self-esteem because it has to come from within themselves. Saying that, it is possible to encourage them to work on self-esteem issues, even though you should not expect overnight results.
Here are some tips for building self-esteem in your loved one:
1. Offer them unconditional love. Whatever they do or don’t do, show your love for them. If their behavior is upsetting you, discuss this with them but do it together. Everyone makes mistakes. If they make a mistake, show that you still love them regardless.
2. Be supportive. Make sure your spouse knows they have your full support. If someone else is criticizing your partner, you need to defend him or her from this. The relationship between a husband and wife is supposed to supersede other relationships. You need to stand by your spouse fully and show total support.
3. Be respectful to your spouse. Don’t be a doormat but do show respect. Use words like please and thank you and avoid treating him or her like a child. Doing that or nagging is disrespectful and demeaning and will crush their self-esteem even more. Someone with low self-esteem often feels they don’t deserve respect. Respect will make them feel better and can help to build their self-esteem.
4. Be appreciative so your partner is aware that you appreciate the things they do. Whether it is cleaning the bathroom or cooking a meal, let them know you appreciate the gesture. Tell them they make a great parent if you have kids. If you are being honest and loving, you will see many things your spouse does which you can praise them for.
5. Make sure to share the credit. If your spouse is suffering from low self-esteem, they might not see how they are contributing to the marriage and family every day. Point out these things to others and to your spouse. Let your spouse know how much you value their abilities and how much it helps.
6. Help your spouse to discover any hidden talents. Ask them about what they can do well or like to do or would even like to learn to do. Encourage them to do more of this or take a class. Perhaps you will both be interested and can learn or practice together.
7. Sometimes it is nice to do little things “just because”, such as giving gifts, leaving notes and doing other special things for your partner. These things can (and should) be done outside special occasions too.
8. Never be deprecating, in private or in public. Don’t put your spouse down or make generalized comments like “you never take out the trash” or “you always leave a mess in the kitchen”. These comments will make your spouse feel they do everything wrong. And saying bad things about them in public is never acceptable and will just embarrass them and knock them down emotionally.
9. Show that you are interested in them. Do you know their favorite animal or color? Do you know their ambitions and dreams? Find out these things and use the information. If you find out your wife likes turtles, buy her a turtle ornament, for example, “just because”. Find out her favorite dinner and make it for her. This demonstrates your love and care for your spouse by actions, which speak louder than words. Asking questions about what your spouse likes and doesn’t like is a great way to build intimacy and show that you are interested in everything about them.
10. Remember not to go it alone. Asking “what is your opinion?” is very important, especially in a marriage. You must always take your partner’s views into consideration when making a decision. Whether it is a major purchase or just a small thing, ask what your spouse thinks. Whether you are deciding where to go on vacation or changing the color of the bedroom carpet, ask them. This tells them that you trust and value them and this can greatly enhance your marriage.
Healthy self-esteem ensures a happy, fulfilling marriage. Taking the time to implement the above ideas can help to build your spouse’s self-esteem and make the two of you, plus any children you have, happier together. It might take weeks, or even months, to build up someone’s self-esteem but if you use these ideas, hopefully it will be a great success in the end.