Learning to love yourself is even more important when you're in a loveless marriage.

How to Love Yourself in a Loveless Marriage

by Elise Wile

In Walt Whitman’s poem, “Song of Myself,” Whitman wrote, "I celebrate myself, and sing myself." Doing so can be difficult when you find yourself in a loveless marriage, however. The less you feel that your husband loves you, the more important it is to love yourself. Otherwise, you risk finding yourself in a drab wasteland devoid of the richness that love brings to life.

1. Say "No"

If you're in a loveless marriage, you may be a people pleaser so that you get the acceptance you need from other people in your life. Ultimately, however, saying yes to everything others request of you can leave you feeling drained. Showing self-love means that you sometimes say no to other people's requests, says psychotherapist Drew Coster in a July 2013 article on PsychCentral.com. The next time your sister-in-law asks you if you'll watch her kids or the ladies at church want you to serve on yet another committee, say "No" and refuse to feel guilty!

2. Care for Yourself

Part of loving yourself is taking care of your needs, says Coster. If you've worked all day and come home and make dinner for an unappreciative husband, you're likely to find yourself too depleted to do much more than sit listlessly in front of the TV. Order take-out a couple of times a week and use the time to get a pedicure, attend a painting class or learn how to belly dance. You'll reduce your stress levels and grow as a person, which builds your resilience as you figure out how to address the problems in your marriage.

3. Affirmations

Your husband may not tell you you're beautiful, but you can say those words to yourself. Each morning, look in the mirror and say, "I am beautiful, strong and loving," or something to that effect. You might feel ridiculous, but your subconscious will hear your loving words and consider them to be true. While it may feel better to hear the words from a loving husband, the reality is that once you love yourself, you will have less need to have other people affirm who you are as a person.

4. Cultivate Healthy Friendships

Cultivate friendships with people who encourage you to be all you can be, advises psychotherapist Ken Page in a May 2011 article in "Psychology Today." Lean on these people and pour your heart into them as well, as they can help you to find a way to love yourself. Being friends with people who love your authentic self is also an act of self-love, and can provide you with some of the love and hugs that are missing in your marital life.

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