Welcome to “Love and Sex Today.” I’m Dr. Doug Weiss, and today’s topic is “The Power of Praising Your Spouse.” If you have a spouse, you are fortunate indeed. If you are in a long-term relationship, you are fortunate indeed. The benefits, camaraderie, and friendship you’re establishing over the years, and sometimes multiple decades, really is life changing for both of you.
Today, I am going to teach you how to give the vitamin that’s so important to your relationship to stay positive and powerful—the power of praising your spouse. This is really, really, critical because sometimes we duplicate the very thing we grew up with. When you look at your family of origin, ask yourself what the primary voice was. I’ve been counseling people at Heart to Heart Counseling center in Colorado Springs for many years and I’ve heard some horrific stories in this area, and some very positive stories.
One of the voices you grew up with might have been criticism—“You can’t. You’re stupid,” and you felt very criticized and limited. You might have grown up in a worse environment, which was silence. You didn’t hear anything good or bad about you. It was as if you weren’t even there. That’s a horrible way to grow up. You might have grew up in a family that was really good at giving praise, and you were praised, “You’re amazing. You’re smart. You’re capable. I’m on your side,” and you really felt supported and encouraged.
Oftentimes when we get married, we are really intentional about making sure we are a different or better parent than our parents. If your dad never said, “I love you,” you’re going to say, “I love you” to your kids. If your mom made you do all the housework, you might not make your kids do very much of that at all. We’re going to try to be different at parenting, but something that’s interesting to me is how we’re not as intentional with “I want to be a different kind of spouse. I want to be the kind of spouse that’s really encouraging and powerful.”
I don’t know if you’ve ever taken the time to think about this. I’ve been married for almost 31 years. At this point, Lisa’s been married to me longer than she stayed at home, and she stayed at home until she was 27, which is a really long time. At this point, Lisa has heard my voice more than any other voice in her life. That’s a really weighty thought if you just take a minute to think about that. As a spouse, your voice is the verbal environment of their soul for decades. They’re going to marinate in your voice, whether it’s criticism or silence, praise, validation, or support. See, your voice is the sauce in which your spouse’s soul marinates. What kind of sauce are you intentionally giving to your spouse? You may have never thought about how important your voice is to your spouse, that you’re going to be the primary voice on planet Earth that they hear day in, day out, for decades.
I’m intentional about the voice I give to Lisa. I’m a very encouraging man. I decided a long time ago, that my role was not to be her critic, but to be her cheerleader. I want to cheer her on in the various phases of life, before we had children, during children, and now that the children are gone. I want to be her cheerleader. That’s my role.
As you look at your words, if you put them on a three-way scale, which scale would weigh the most? The words you don’t speak, the words of criticism, or the words of praise? Well, I hope if it’s not what you want, today’s podcast will encourage you to take it to the other side, that you will become intentionally positive and praising of your spouse.
There are different kinds of praise. Of course, you can praise them physically, that they’re handsome or beautiful. If that’s all you’ve got though, that’s going to limit how much they think you see them. You want to praise their soul for how patient they are, kind, genuine, generous, creative, caring, and hardworking. See, you have a lot of things you appreciate about your spouse, but sadly, they stay inside your brain. You want to let these positive, powerful thoughts out of your brain, through your lips, and into the ears of your beloved. There they can grow. There they can be encouragement, and bring strength to their soul. It makes them more buoyant.
Think about the last time you were sincerely praised by your spouse. Maybe they said something along the lines of, “Honey, you’re amazing. You’re awesome. I love you with all my heart. I just want to be with you my entire life.” How would you feel if that was going into your ears, into your heart? It makes you feel great. I love when Lisa just randomly praises me.
Now, we have a discipline of praise, which I’m going to get into right now. Lisa and I decided a long time ago that we were going to be each other’s cheerleader. We intentionally give each other two praises every single day. We do two feelings a day, we do two praises a day, and we connect spiritually every single day. It’s the foundation of our success in marriage, that we have a discipline to marriage. One of those disciplines is praising. I’m going to share with you an idea you might want to practice and enjoy, and pass on to other couples: tell your spouse two positive things about them every single day. Don’t just think of two positive things about your spouse. Say them out loud. Let them know, “I really love, appreciate, or value dot, dot, dot about you.”
What’s really important about praise, is receiving praise. To receive a praise, you have to say thank you. You have to acknowledge it’s been spoken to your heart. When you say thank you, it’s like the deposit actually goes in. If you have one of those spouses who doesn’t say thank you when you give them a praise, and they continually think they’re not appreciated, it’s because they’re not letting it in. So say, “Honey, say thank you so you know it went in.” I give Lisa praise, “Lisa, I really appreciate this about you. Lisa, I really love this about you.” She says, “Thank you.” Then she gives me two praises every single day.
Even if we’ve had a rough day, we still give our two praises to each other. If we had a rough day in some kind of circumstances in our lives, whether it’s extended family, or business, or something, we still come together every day and praise each other. Now, how do you think that’s going to affect your relationship? I know, no matter what’s been said all day, Lisa’s going to say two positive things about me and I’m going to say two positive things about her, and you know what? Our kids grew up watching us do this. So they believe you’re supposed to be positive towards your spouse, even when things aren’t always perfect.
It has been really, really helpful, so I want to encourage you, as you look at your marriage, as you look at your relationship, look at your intentionality. Maybe you don’t want to look into your spouse’s eyes and give them two praises every day. Will it greatly improve your marriage? Absolutely. Has it worked for thousands of people? Absolutely. Will it work for you? Absolutely.
Some people say, “You know, I just want to do my own thing.” Okay. Do your own thing, but just make sure you can check off the box that today, I saw my spouse in a positive light. Maybe, you need to focus on their actions to help you do this, “Today, when you were cleaning out the pantry, I realized how focused you are on details. I really appreciate that about you.” When your spouse realizes that somewhere today, you saw them, took a photo, and brought that photo back to them and praised them, they will be so touched—”Here you are. You’re amazing. You were kind. You were so thoughtful to think about that. I love that you remember little things.” Let your spouse feel very good about being in a relationship with you.
The power of praising your spouse is immeasurable. I can’t tell you. Lisa’s my best friend. She’s my lover, she’s my wife, and we encourage each other. I think awesome thoughts about her, and I think she thinks awesome thoughts about me. If you’re not going to sit down and do it, just keep yourself accountable in some way, on your cell phone or something, and see how consistent you can be at this.
If you’re one of those people who have been silent or critical in your marriage, this will help you start finding the positive in your spouse. I’ve found that this simple assignment of giving two praises to your spouse daily changes the way people you look at your spouse. Instead of looking at what they haven’t done or what they’re lacking, they begin to look at what they are and what they are doing that’s good. They begin to see the positive much more and how they benefit from being in a relationship with this amazing person.
Most of our spouses are 95 percent amazing. Five percent may not be the most wonderful part for you, but they’re awesome people. You need to focus on what is amazing and what is awesome. If you do, you will have the power of praise working on your side to strengthen your relationship and to make you feel good about each other. It might actually boomerang and come back into your own life. You might be seen and appreciated in real words.
Now, I want you to go to loveandsextoday.com, subscribe there, and find a free chapter to one of my books. Review us on iTunes, and one of you will get a private conversation with me, which has been really fun. I love getting to know our audience and be able to chat with you, and see if we can accelerate something in your life. Remember always have great love and great sex today.