Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Tell Her What You Like

In all the years that I’ve been counseling marriages, I have yet to have a couple come in to see me and complement each other. No, what they do is to come in and complain about each other. Granted, going to see a counselor for the purpose of complimenting your spouse is a waste of time; but I bring that up because unfortunately, what I’m seeing in my living room isn’t any different than what is happening in their living rooms.

Generally speaking, we don’t complement each other enough. People are much more likely to talk about what another person did, which they don’t like; than they are to talk about what they do like. You don’t find many people complementing the service they get in a restaurant, but let them have poor service and they’ll have plenty to say.

This carries over into our marriages as well. Most couples don’t take the time to tell each other what they do like about the other one. If they do something wrong, they’ll be quick to say so, but the things that they do like… well, somehow they just don’t seem to get mentioned.

Think about it; when was the last time you complemented your wife on what she does? When was the last time you told her that dinner was great? When was the last time you told her she was a great mother? Or told her that she was a great lover? Have you ever told her some of those things, or do you just take them for granted?

It’s so easy to take the everyday things that our wives do for granted; even when they do an excellent job of them. For some strange reason, our minds skip over that stuff, as if it’s just part of the scenery. But, let her spend too much money on clothes, and we suddenly start complaining about her whole closet full of clothes that she doesn’t wear; as if that’s important.

I’ve mentioned before that women constantly deal with society telling them that they’re not good enough. Well, if you’re not doing the opposite, you could be unwittingly contributing to that problem. Your silence can very easily be interpreted by your wife as agreement with the negativity of the world. Your lack of compliments can be interpreted as you thinking that she never does anything right. Your lack of building her up can actually help to bring her down.

It really doesn’t’ matter if you’ve complimented her on something before, if you like it, tell her so once again. Better yet, tell her over and over again. When she cooks something you like, let her know that you like it. When she does something which pleases you, let her know that you’re pleased. When her accomplishments impress you, let her know you’re impressed.

Not only are you helping to overcome the negative message which the world is sending her, you’re also providing positive reinforcement for the actions which you like. In other words, you’re encouraging her to keep doing them. That’s one sure way to encourage her to do it again.

You’re going to have to force yourself to do this, until it becomes a habit. But, it’s such a good habit to form, that it’ll be worth the effort. As you tell her what she’s doing well, it will help her feel better about herself, which will ultimately help her feel better about your marriage.

1 comment:

  1. Rich, you are so right. When my husband compliments me on how great dinner is, it makes me feel like my effort was worthwhile, and it makes me want to cook his favorites more often. The same thing when he tells me how good I look. I feel that he is really paying attention to me, and that's great.