The power of praise in your marriage

This March, we will have been “social distancing” for a full year. Looking back, we are finding that we are missing many of the life interactions that encouraged us and helped us to feel positive about ourselves.

Our lives are feeling drab and limited and we are looking for ways to feel better about ourselves and our spouse. So how can we do that?
When we were dating and then first married, we often were quick to tell our “best friend” the things that we enjoyed about them. Those traits, habits, skills and talents that filled us with awe or admiration. As our life together became settled, we started taking those things for granted and stopped talking about them. They are just “understood” because they are always there.
Now life is busy and while we are traveling this life together, we aren’t necessarily interacting very much. We each have our “roles” that we do without much extra thought. And consequently, without a lot of conversation. So, what should/could be done to rejuvenate your life together?
We would like to suggest that you take some time to come up with a list of your spouse’s habits, skills and talents that you see in a positive way. What sort of things do they do for you or the family that you enjoy or benefit from? What things are they good at doing, or that others ask them to do? This is your “praise” list.
Got your list written down? Yes, if you are going to the effort to think about what you want to share, you need to write it down so you don’t forget any of those precious items. Now, you can start figuring out how to express that characteristic in such a way that your spouse will see it in the same way you do. As something wonderful and endearing and special. That you can “PRAISE” them for.
For instance, if your spouse is good at providing different meals that are nourishing and taste good every week. You could say, “Hey you’re a good cook.” But how uplifting is that? Build it up and make it special! Like, “Darling, the thought and effort you put into every meal you prepare fills me with gratitude and joy! Your ability to prepare different foods each week is really awesome!”
Or, if they are good at taking care of the yard and keeping it and the house looking good, you might say: “Honey, I appreciate the effort you put into the yard in making it look neat and good looking. I enjoy coming home and bringing friends to such a wonderfully kept place. I am proud of your efforts in doing this work.”
With this in mind, write a sentence or two about each item you listed to help guide you when you finally share your spouses list with them. Then figure out a good time to share your list with them. Maybe, a date night where you can talk and share and laugh together. Or a long walk where you can take a break on a log or bench and look in each other’s eyes and share your list together. The key here is to make the sharing as special and meaningful as you can with lots of feelings and eye contact. Because, that is how your spouse will know that you really mean what you are sharing with them, about them.
In case you are wondering how many items you should strive to list about your spouse, the experts have said that ten to twelve items are typically sufficient to get past the negative screening we all have. Too short a list just indicates that you weren’t really trying and they aren’t worth the effort. You NEVER want your spouse to think that. So, take the time and make the effort and WOW them with your picture of what a beautiful, talented person you married.

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