Verbally affirming your spouse can have a profound effect on your relationship. Spoken compliments are a powerful way to express emotional love for your partner. Here are three types of words of affirmation you can incorporate into your marriage to strengthen your relationship.
Encourage translates to “inspire courage.” Every person has areas in which they feel less than confident. Feeling that we lack courage can impede us from accomplishing our goals and following our dreams. Untapped potential may be lying dormant in your spouse, just waiting for a few words of inspiration from the one they love to help them fully realize their true potential. Be aware though, encouragement requires that you see the world through your spouse’s eyes. There is quite a difference between fostering a desire your partner already has and pushing them to do something you think they should do. For example, if you think your wife could stand to lose a few pounds, you may think you’re helping when you “encourage” her to go to the gym, but this could be interpreted as criticism or disapproval. Whereas if your wife mentions that she wants to join a gym, letting her know that you will go with her and work out together builds a stronger bond between you.
We’ve all heard the expression “Love is Kind.” If you wish to verbally communicate love to your partner, the use of kind words is essential. Kindness often has to do with the tone of your voice rather than the actual words you speak. “I would love to help you clean the house today” can be interpreted in two very different ways, depending on your tone of voice. When spoken softly and with tenderness, these words can convey a genuine expression of love. However, saying these words in a snarky or flippant tone will undoubtedly cause displeasure in your spouse, resulting in anger and driving you further apart rather than bringing you closer together. When your spouse is angry or lashing out, responding with kindness can show that you understand and care about their feelings.
Make requests, not demands. A marriage is made up of two equal, adult partners. When you start demanding things from your spouse, you become the parent, in turn making your spouse the child. If you wish to cultivate an intimate relationship, it is important to know what the other person wants. But you need to express your desires by way of requests. “Your chocolate chip cookies are the best I’ve ever had. Maybe you could make some this weekend?” will go a lot further and create much more harmony in your relationship than “Haven’t had any chocolate chips cookies for a while. I guess you’re too busy to bake for me” will. Demands will only drive you further away from your spouse. Even if he or she complies with your demands, what they are most likely doing is acting out of fear or guilt-not love. When your partner is given a choice and chooses to honor your request and do what makes you happy, that is a true expression of love.