I know a lot of ladies made up their minds that 2014 would be the year that they get their fitness game right. Instead of just talking, they committed to working out, eating healthily, and monitoring their stress levels to ensure that they could be svelte for the spring and summer. They created vision boards, maintained fitness journals and even enlisted the emotional support of coaches and Facebook private groups.
I have one friend who was hell bent on fitting looking fabulous in a bikini before her 40th birthday and after the birth of her first child. After months of putting in the work, she purchased her first bikini for the first time since she was a teenager and cried tears of happiness when she looked at her reflection in the mirror.
It was a real moment of triumph for her.
Feeling confident, she ran home to surprise her husband by showing off her bikini body. She walked passed him in her bikini and the first thing that he said, “I hope you plan on wearing that in the house because I know you are not wearing that anywhere else.”
She was shocked. She was expecting him to say that she looked beautiful and sexy. He eventually did say those things, but he was adamant that he did not want his wife putting herself on display for other men and women to see. He felt that as her husband, keeping covered was a form of respect for the relationship and his position as the only man in her life.
For her, the ability to wear a bikini at an age where society tells women, especially mothers that their “beauty well” was drying up (and with a quickness) was a personal victory over long-held body image issues. Her ability to wear a bikini and feel comfortable with her body was symbol of confidence and deeper self-love.
When she came to me with this dilemma, I told her that I felt that I could see both sides of the story. I had a problem concluding that her husband was insecure and not trusting. I thought that would be too easy of an analysis and a label. I also understood what setting and reaching a goal as personal and meaningful as the one that she set for herself meant to her. I could empathize with the bit of hurt she felt when he wasn’t her number one cheerleader. (He ultimately said, though, that she was a grown woman and could wear what she wanted.)
They have plans for a little island getaway in the next couple of months. I wonder what she will be packing in the way of swimwear.
BMWK Family—What do you think? Should a husband have a say as to whether or not a wife should wear a bikini? I would love to hear your thoughts. What advice would you give to this couple?