I love a compliment. Any compliment will do, but a compliment from my husband means more to me than any other. For people like me who have words of affirmation as our primary love language, hearing we are doing a good job is very important and makes us feel loved.
Maybe you don't deal in compliments. But, maybe your spouse does... In that case, you need to be able to speak the language of affirmation too.
I have yet to meet anyone who doesn’t like to be told they are doing well, in the right context, and in the right manner, but for some people, encouraging words are more essential than for others. I think at least some words of affirmation are essential in every healthy relationship.
Words of affirmation are:
- Compliments (“you did a great job today”)
- Encouraging Words (“that is a great idea, I think you should go for it”)
- Kind Words (of forgiveness, mercy “that’s okay that it didn’t work out, let’s move forward together from here”)
- Humble Words (requests rather than demands e.g. “do you think you will be able to mow the lawn this weekend?” instead of “if you don’t mow the lawn this weekend, the kids will get lost in the backyard”)
Words of Affirmation can be given as:
- Direct words to your spouse
- Words of praise to others about your spouse
- Written words to your spouse (letters, lunchbox notes etc)
Many people struggle with giving affirming words. This might be related to your own family or cultural background, if encouraging words were/are not forthcoming. It can be related to your own preferences against sentimentality. It can also be difficult to give words of affirmation if you have a negative attitude towards your spouse (obviously). But, if your spouse speaks the language of words of affirmation, expressing your love might mean challenging your own preferences.
It is also useful to know that those spouses who speak words of affirmation don't always speak them the same way. Though I am partial to well-placed, private and heartfelt words of affirmation, I actually get very squeamish about soppy speeches at weddings and parties. I get uneasy when compliments are too gushing or sentimental... or too public. On the other hand, some who speak words of affirmation can't get enough of the sop!
Maybe you don't see yourself, or your spouse as words of affirmation people. Stay tuned... Maybe you speak physical touch, acts of service, gifts and/or quality time more strongly.
Do you speak words of affirmation? Are they essential for you, nice or just awkward?
Julie blogs at The Useful Box