“Does this dress make my rear end look big?” One of the cruelest things women do to men on a regular basis is ask them “no win” questions. Ladies, we all know if we’ve gained weight. If our husbands say, “No, it doesn’t,” we say, “Are you sure you’re not just saying that?” If they say, “Yes, it does,” we act hurt and wonder why they didn’t tell us more gently. Many a date night has been ruined by the asking and answering of a “no win” question.
This is a lesson I learned early in our marriage. My father is a peacemaker. He does not like to hurt anyone’s feelings, and if he thinks he has, it makes him sick until he apologizes and makes amends with the offended party. And… I take after my Dad. If someone asked me, “Does my rear look big in these?” I’d have to think of the most non-offensive way to be honest. My husband does not possess the peacemaker gene. My husband possesses the “honesty is always the best policy” gene. Though I cannot remember the first “no win” question I asked him, I DO remember that he was bluntly honest. Since this was a far cry from what my father would’ve said, I was in shock. After considering the situation, I realized I could not be angry with my husband for honestly answering a question that I asked. In his mind, I wanted an honest answer, not an indirect complement. When we women ask our guys a question about our looks, many times we are hoping they will say something like, “Your hair looks beautiful,” not “Yeah, it really is time to trim those dead ends.” Eric does not answer my questions with unnecessary cruelty and tactlessness, he just answers them honestly. For that reason, I have never asked him if my rear end looks big. Interestingly, I have become very thankful for his consistent honesty. It makes me comfortable to know that each complement is a real complement, and it has taught me to only ask questions that I really want answered.
Ladies, think about it. How often do you ask questions that are passive attempts at complements? It is so easy to do that we don’t always know we are doing it! I urge you to notice your questions and practice only asking questions when you want, and are prepared for, the answer. Men, when your woman does ask you a question, try to answer honestly, but not brutally. Sometimes people answer honestly with a touch of spite as an attempt to get even for something else in the relationship. Though the “Does my rear end look big in these jeans?” question is a “no win” question, it should not be answered with a “I thought you stuffed beach balls in your pants!” A simple, “Yes, a little” will suffice, and likely keep her from ever asking you such a question again (unless she becomes brave enough and really wants to know)!
Sometimes these questions are asked out of desperation for a complement. Some men are romantics at heart, and it is natural for them to say, “You are beautiful!” or “Your eyes sparkle!” Yet, a good majority of men do not naturally think to give complements all the time because many men do not need constant complements themselves. How often do you hear this conversation around the water cooler? “Bill, I do believe your hunter green shirt brings out your eyes! … Why thanks, Mitch… and may I say, you look so good in that suit. Have you lost weight?” Females complement each other as a way of life. “Wow, I love your earrings! Your shoes are awesome! You look so good! That diet is really working!” This is a hint to men on how to live with your woman in an understanding way (I Peter 3:7). Men, your woman needs to hear, and keep hearing, how you feel about her and she needs to know, and keep knowing, that you think she is attractive. One heartfelt complement per day will make her security skyrocket – and it will remind you of how blessed you are to have her. Once she is completely secure that you love her and find her attractive, there will no longer be a need for to keep asking you “no win” questions. My husband says that a woman’s security – in relation to her man – is like a gas tank: it needs to keep being filled by tenderness and care – otherwise it will eventually run completely out and you’ll have significant repairs to make. But, ladies, it is also up to you to not put your man in that “no win” situation.