Spouses need sincere words of admiration from their partners, writes Dr. Willard F. Harley, Jr. in his book, “His Needs, Her Needs.” Harley believes that compliments energize and motivate a spouse, rewarding the spouse's accomplishments in satisfying ways. If you want to meet your husband’s basic needs, bestowing sincere compliments on him is one of the most effective habits you can have. You could motivate him to new heights and energize your marriage.
Make a list of the characteristics you admire in your husband, advises Harley. Highlight items where you can express sincere appreciation. Include information about what he does to display those characteristics, such as look for ways to be helpful when you are stressed and divert his mother when she becomes too much for you to handle. Compliments tell your spouse that you are paying attention, notes an article on "Psychology Today" called "The Art of the Compliment."
Take time each day to focus on one of the characteristics you admire about your husband and think about the ways in which he displays that characteristic, such as giving you a hug and kiss when he arrives home or helping out in the kitchen when you’ve had a rough day.
Create an opportunity to compliment him on his efforts. For example, “It means so much to me when you help me clean the kitchen. It is one of the ways I know that you love me.” Be sincere, not gushing or fake. You must really believe what you say for your husband to receive the compliment.
Focus on the things he does that make you feel appreciated or loved and you will find more reasons to compliment him, suggests marriage and family therapist Dr. Corey Allan, Ph.D. Focusing on what makes you happy can help the things he does that annoy you become less annoying.
Compliment the things that make you happy and leave out the “buts” that criticize him and backhanded compliments that can be cutting and destructive, advises "Psychology Today" in "Backhanded Compliments and Sugarcoated Hostility." Your compliment should spotlight what you appreciate, notes Sherry Jennings, a marriage seminar director and facilitator at Intentionally Yours. Jennings believes that when you follow a compliment with “but,” you negate the compliment and all your husband hears is the negative comment. Instead, pass on the compliment with no reservations and leave criticism for another conversation at a different time.
- His Needs, Her Needs; Dr. Willard F. Harley, Jr.
- Psychology Today: Backhanded Compliments and Sugarcoated Hostility
- Psychology Today: The Art of the Compliment
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