Today I’m continuing my exploration of Dr. Gary Chapman’s book The Five Love Languages. This time around I’m talking about the language he identifies as Words of Affirmation. As I noted previously everyone has a different primary love language but I’ve found that Words of Affirmation seems to be a key one for men. The words we say and how we choose to say them can have a huge impact on our spouse.
Dr. Chapman is quick to instruct that we should not use words to manipulate our partner in anyway. The goal here is not to butter up your guy so that he will take out the trash. Rather, this is about open, honest conversation that encourages. For example when your fella does something, really anything that is kind or helpful, let him know verbally that you recognized that action. This can be as simple as "Thank you for doing X” or “I appreciated that you took care of Y”. Really this is so easy and only takes a moment, but the verbal acknowledgment and recognition of an action reinforces that behavior and other behaviors like it.
When you communicate with your spouse its important to remember to be kind. So often we are ruthless with the people we love the most. We think that because they are close to us that we can say anything, but this can lead to more harm than good. Choose kind words that build up your partner and not language that demeans them. Also, the way you say these words, your tone and inflection, makes just as much of a difference as the words themselves. make your default kindness and don’t be so quick to jump to blame or condescension.
Our words towards our partners have power even when that person isn't present. Saying positive things about your man to your friends can make a big difference. Negative talk or complaining creates seeds of doubt in your heart and will make you see your partner in a less than ideal light, even if that wasn’t your original aim. Tell your friends how great a time you had at your last date night- not out of a place of showing your friends up but rather to encourage positive dialogue about relationships in your circle. Actively choose not be be involved in conversations where others are complaining or trying to one up another with the latest thing that their husband hasn't done for them. Keep issues in your marriage protected and safe within the confines of the the relationship, this builds trust over time.
We can spend so much time in life just going through the motions and looking out for what is best for us that we don’t take time to acknowledge the positive little things that others are doing. This evening be intentional about saying thank you or letting your spouse know that you appreciate their actions- this one little thing can go such an long way!