The long-term success of a marriage is partly dependent on how both parties show gratitude for each other. One way you can show how grateful you are is by complimenting your spouse regularly. By complimenting your wife or husband you focus on the positive you see in them. The good news is that compliments are simple and cost nothing. Make sure you sincerely compliment your spouse at least once every day.
Look for things you can comment on that you haven't mentioned before.
Impact of Compliments on Your Marriage
When you give sincere encouragement and compliments to your spouse, several things happen. Your spouse's self-confidence increases, as well as your own self-worth. The friendship between the two of you is strengthened and you create a happy moment for the two of you to share. When you give your spouse a compliment, you demonstrate your appreciation and make them feel cherished and valued. You also focus on the positive instead of the negative, which is something every marriage needs.
The Difference Between Flattery and Compliments
It is important that your compliments are sincere and honest. When they aren't, your comments turn into flattery, which is untrue or insincere praise. Flattery is usually received with negativity and is often perceived as being manipulative. In other words, flattery is often just used to get something you want from the person you are flattering. It is about you, not them. A true compliment is said with the core purpose to make someone else feel good.
Keep a Positive Ratio
One of the biggest impacts of compliments is that it reinforces behavior. So if there is something you compliment, it is likely to get your spouse to do it more. Respected marriage researcher, Dr. John Gottman, asserts that in good marriages, compliments (and good interactions in general) need to outnumber criticisms by at least five to one. Luckily, if you are low on your quotient, it's an easy fix.
Tips for Complimenting Your Spouse
- Use "I" instead of "you." For instance, say, "I appreciate that you cleaned the house" instead of "You did a good job cleaning the house."
- Use congruent body language when you compliment. Smile, make eye contact, and speak in a warm and sincere manner.
- Be specific. For example, it's better to say "That color brings out your beautiful eyes" rather than "You look beautiful."
- Compliment your spouse's character as well. Comment on your spouse's sweetness, intelligence, kindness, and big heart.
- If you are the recipient of a compliment, take it in graciously. Don't be self-deprecating or deny your partner's perspective on something positive or good.
- Don't have a hidden agenda or disguise your compliment in a criticism. Your compliments must be direct and sincere. Don't say, "I'm glad you are finally on time." Say, "I love that you arrived so promptly."