The Importance of Compliments in Your Marriage

It's not that hard to say something nice at least once a day

compliments in marriage
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The long-term success of your marriage is partly dependent on how you both show gratitude for each other. One of the ways you can do this is by complimenting your partner. A compliment is about remarking upon something positive you see in someone. The good news is that this is quite simple and costs you nothing! Make sure that you sincerely compliment your spouse at least once every day. A good idea is to look for things you can comment on that you haven't mentioned before.


Impact of Compliments on Your Marriage

When you give sincere encouragement and compliments to your spouse, several things are accomplished.

  • Your spouse's self-confidence is increased.
  • Your own self-worth is increased.
  • The friendship between the two of you is strengthened.
  • You are demonstrating your appreciation.
  • You are making your spouse feel cherished and valued.
  • You are focusing on the positive instead of the negative.
  • You are creating a nice moment between you both. 

The Difference Between Flattery and Compliments

It is important that your compliments are sincere and honest. When they are not, your comments turn into flattery which is untrue or insincere praise. Flattery is usually received with negativity and is often perceived as being manipulative. In other words, flattery is often just used to get something you want from the person you are flattering. It is about you, not them. A true compliment is said with a core purpose to make someone else feel good.


Quotes About Compliments and Marriage

"Sincere compliments cost nothing and can accomplish so much. In ANY relationship, they are the applause that refreshes." Steve Goodier, Prescription for Peace.

 "The most important element of romantic passion for both husbands and wives is to feel special. Not only do they want to feel sexually attractive to their mates, but they want to know they are appreciated.

Compliments feel good--both to give and to receive. So, to paraphrase a James Taylor song, 'Shower the person you love with compliments.'" Les and Leslie Parrott, Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts

"Mark Twain once said, 'I can live a whole month on one compliment.' Just think about the life we can bring to a marriage with an ever flowing stream of affirmation. Hearty affirmation is a key ingredient in unconditional love. It's like a magnet: It draws us in; it attracts us." Gary and Barbara Rosberg, The 5 Love Needs of Men & Women

"The power of a compliment or a few kind, sexy words can be overwhelming! Think back to all of the things that you used to say to your sweetheart when you were dating." Richard Carlson, The Don't Sweat Guide for Newlyweds: Finding What Matters Most in the First Year

Tips for Complimenting Your Spouse

  • Use "I" instead of "you." For instance, say, "I appreciate that you cleaned the house" instead of "You did a good job cleaning the house."
  • Use congruent body language when you compliment. You should be smiling, using eye contact and the words should be said in a warm and sincere manner.
  • Be on the specific side. For example, it's better to say "That color brings out your beautiful eyes" rather than "You look beautiful."
  • Compliment your spouse's character as well. Comment on his or her sweetness, intelligence, kindness, big heart and so on.  
  • If you are the recipient of a compliment, take it in graciously! Don't be self-deprecating or deny your partner's perspective on something positive or good. 
  • Don't have a hidden agenda or disguise your compliment in a criticism. Your compliments must be direct and sincere. For example, don't say, "I'm glad you are finally on time." Say, "I love that you arrived so promptly." 

One of the biggest impacts of compliments is that it reinforces behavior. So, if there is something you compliment, it is likely to get your spouse to do it more. Respected marriage researcher, Dr. John Gottman, asserts that in good marriages, compliments (and good interactions in general) need to outnumber criticisms by at least five to one.

If you are low on your quotient, luckily it's an easy fix.

*Article updated by Marni Feuerman