Improve Your Marriage: Compliment Daily

Mark Twain once said that he could live a full month on nothing but a single compliment.

If you’re looking for ways to improve your marriage, you can start with a compliment.

The following are four different types of compliments:

1. Possession:  One might say, “What an incred­ible car,” or “I love your earrings.” These compliments, though a bit superficial, provide a good place to start if you aren’t used to complimenting your spouse.

2. Appearance: “You look wonderful,” or “That shirt really shows off your eyes.” These compliments are more personal and let your spouse know that you find him desirable. We all like to be complimented on our appearance, but it’s com­mon to receive this kind of affirmation more from friends and relatives than from our partner. This is sad, because we most want and even need this ap­preciation from our spouse.

If your spouse doesn’t compliment your appearance, don’t look for it elsewhere. Talk to your partner about how you wish to please him. Find out what you could do to encourage more of these compliments, and then try some of these things. On the other hand, if you haven’t complimented your spouse lately, it’s time to start. Don’t miss a powerful opportunity to commu­nicate your love and strengthen your relationship.

3. Behavior: When your spouse does something good, kind, or sacrificial, what do you say? Too often a spouse says nothing. I recently heard a psychologist ex­plain that it’s normal for a couple to take each other for granted. He said we should accept this as the typical progression of marriage—the longer we are married, the more you take each other for granted. This is not right, nor is it healthy.

Your spouse does a lot that deserves your appreciation. Maybe it’s keep­ing the house or yard in order; it might be managing children or finances; it could even be going to work or to the grocery store. Most people like to be recognized for a job well done. When you feel appreciated, you tend to feel loved.

4. Character: Compliments of character—such as kindness, courage, responsibility, or wisdom—may be best, but any compliment is good. Make a list of sin­cere and personal compliments for your spouse, then every day offer at least one. It will make a difference. You will encourage your spouse.

You’ll make him smile. You’ll draw him closer to you and you will improve your marriage.

Rules and Tools to Put into Practice:

  1. Give your spouse one compliment on his appearance right now. Then make it a point to look for things to compliment every day.
  2. Make a list of all the things your spouse has done this past week. Reflect on the energy, effort, and sacrifice these things took. Thank your partner for doing these things.
  3. Write down ten positive character qualities you have discovered about your spouse. In the form of a compliment, share one of these qualities with your spouse every day over the next ten days.
  4. When someone compliments your partner in any way, publicly reaffirm the compliment.