Have you heard that it takes 10 compliments to build someone up after a correction or insult? It may sound crazy, but can you remember the last compliment you received? Maybe not, but I bet you can easily remember something said to you years ago as a child that cut you to the core...
Marriage was created to be the safest place on the planet for a husband and wife. It's the place to be naked and unafraid (physically and emotionally). Yet, through the fall, the person we're supposed to love the most, protect, encourage and feel safe with is often the person we hurt the most. And because marriage makes us vulnerable, your spouse is the easiest person to hurt.
The power of complimenting each other in your marriage is so much more than the power of the words you speak. To compliment each other, you've got to:
#1 Notice Each Other:So often you race through the day, barely seeing the people who are closest to you. Slow down, take the time to smell the roses...or to at least notice each other. You're likely so focused on everything YOU do without anyone in the family (let alone, your spouse) noticing, you don't notice what your spouse does. OR you're so focused on what your spouse ISN'T doing, that you totally miss what he or she IS doing. Imagine how it would change YOUR day to hear a simple "thank you for making dinner every night. I love that you love me that way!" or "the lawn looks fantastic- thank you for taking the care to keep it so manicured." Be sensitive to the ways your spouse expresses love- The Five Love Languages is a great book to help you notice how your spouse may be loving you and you don't even realize it!
So seize any opportunity the Lord gives you to do good things and be a blessing to everyone, especially those within our faithful family. -Galatians 6:10
#2 Look For the Good in Each Other:It's so easy to see the stuff your spouse does that makes you crazy. It screams louder than anything else in the room. But LOOK for the good, you'll be surprised what you find. Perhaps when you look for it, you'll realize your wife has been ironing your shirts for you. Or you'll realize your husband is checking the door locks on his way to bed each night. Whatever you look for, you'll find. Look for the good and call it up in each other with your words. Put the spotlight on it and it will grow!
I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Philippians 4:8
#3 Express Kindness and Goodness:The world will keep you well trained in cut downs and snappy comebacks...the Word of God seeks to fill your heart (from which your mouth speaks) with words that build up and give life.
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29
#4: Speak Life into Each Other:I'd once heard that "when you speak to the punk in your husband, the punk will respond; when you speak to the prince in your husband, the prince will respond." Do your words call your spouse up to being the man or woman, husband or wife God created them to be? Or do they affirm the lies from the enemy they've heard all their lives?
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. -Proverbs 18:21
In the presence of the God who creates out of nothing and holds the power to bring to life what is dead... Romans 4:17
#5 NO BUTS:No backhanded compliments like “That was sweet of you to help and clean, but I’ll just do it quicker.” Those aren't really compliments. Those are ways to be mean while attempting to sound kind. When you speak, KEEP "THE BUT" IN MIND. Whatever follows the 'but' completely negates what preceded the 'but.'
Husbands: some quick tips on complimenting your wife:
- Be specific.
- Follow the compliment with "I love you."
- Combine words with NONSEXUAL affection.
Wives: some quick tips on complimenting your husband:
- Keep it short and concise.
- Use words that honor and respect.
- Focus on character- he wants to be your hero.
RECEIVE the compliment when given. Believe it. Say thank you...don't negate it or minimize it.
BONUS: As you are speaking life, you're also building a hedge to keep out the little foxes!
Do it today, don't wait. Plan to compliment your spouse ten times today. Be creative- gentle whispers, texts, facebook posts, emails, post it notes...skywriting if you've got access! Ten compliments a day will put you on the path to a happier, healthier marriage!
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