How to Praise Your Wife

by Elise Wile

Mark Twain once said, "You can live for two months on a good compliment." Such is the power that positive words have to affect our mood and that of those around us. Some Southerners are fond of saying, "If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." They recognize the importance of making a wife feel valued and appreciated. Giving praise is an easy way to boost your wife's happiness and satisfaction within your marriage.

Make a list of all the things your wife does for you, your family and others. Include actions that you may take for granted, such as picking up your dry cleaning or making dishes for potlucks the two of you attend. You won't be able to give her kudos unless you are aware of the hard work she does and the ways she adds joy and comfort to your life.

Choose the right words. Exclaiming, "Honey, you did such a good job cooking dinner!" may please your wife...or make her feel like a 3-year-old child. When your wife decides to go back to school or takes on a challenging project such as landscaping the yard, you might take the advice of Gary Chapman, Ph.D., author of The Five Love Languages. He recommends saying something like, "That's one of the things I like about you. When you set your mind to something, you do it." To choose the right words, consider whether your compliment would sound at home coming out of the mouth of a kindergarten teacher. If so, reconsider and rephrase to give your words the dignity befitting an adult.

Praise your wife on a regular basis. John Gottman, Ph.D., author of The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, recommends giving your spouse "heartfelt praise" at least once a day for one week, then extending the experiment day by day after the week is over. Not only will your wife feel the positive effects, but you may very likely notice a difference in how you view your marriage. Chances are, you'll feel more appreciative of your wife, while she enjoys the experience of living with a happier and more satisfied spouse.

Give your wife kudos in front of other people if you want to make her feel especially valued. You might rave to friends at a dinner party how she recently started a conservation program at work, or that she makes the best lemon meringue pie in the entire country, bar none. She'll feel proud, and so will the other people who witness the love you have for your wife.

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  • Avoid bringing up shortcomings after giving your wife positive feedback, as this will negate your words.


  • "The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts"; Gary Chapman
  • "The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work"; John Gottman, Ph.D.
  • Mark Twain Quotes

About the Author

Elise Wile has been a writer since 2003. Holding a master's degree in curriculum and Instruction, she has written training materials for three school districts. Her expertise includes mentoring, serving at-risk students and corporate training.

Photo Credits

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