Blog Post by Rodney A. Wilson
Rodney Wilson is a regular guest post writer on Selma on Leadership. Rodney has been a marriage and family pastor/counselor for almost 20 years. Rodney and Selma have been married for 40 years and they have spoken and written on marriage and family issues for most of their married life.
Everyone needs encouragement. The statement was attributed to Will Rogers: “I can live for a month on a good compliment”. This newspaper columnist was constantly dishing out advice and opinion, and yet he was genuinely touched when anyone cared to say positive things about him.
Affirmation. Powerful stuff. Proverbs stresses its significance in our lives:
Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. (18:21)
And the book of James echoes a similar thought:
If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a mature man who is also able to control his whole body (3:2b)
What we say and how we say it completely affects our relationships, especially your marriage. If, for example, we say something harmful in the heat of a marital argument, all the “I’m sorries” do not put the toothpaste back in the tube.
It’s out. It’s devastating. It’s powerful.
However, the opposite is true as well. What you say positively – and how you say it – can affect your marriage immensely.
Let’s look at affirmation and its effect when good things are said from you to your spouse.
Here are five ways to look at affirmation and how it can impact your marriage:
- Affirmation is recognition of the good in someone. Maybe it’s a deed that was done, or just a positive something about the person, but it is recognition. You are pausing to brag on your mate – for behavior or just because she is yours. Either way, you are celebrating the good in your partner and it can be powerful.
Our pastor’s wife recently threw a (somewhat) surprise birthday party for her husband. He knew some friends were coming over but had no idea how elaborate the evening was going to be. As the evening unfolded, all he could say all night was, “Boy, does my wife know how to throw a party or what?” He said that to everyone, individually and to the group. It was an evening to honor him yet he turned it around and continually praised his wife all night. Trust me, she heard the continuous affirmation and its effect on her was amazing. Recognition. We all need it. Pass it on to your spouse – frequently.
- Affirmation is not easily forgotten. Do not underestimate the long-lasting impact of your affirmation. (It might even last longer than Will Rogers’ month although your compliments need to happen more frequently!) In fact, a steady diet of positive recognition from you can set an atmosphere that says you believe in your mate and that you are consistently looking for the good in him/her. And that kind of atmosphere can last a long time!
- Affirmation says you love your spouse. You are not saying he is perfect, but you are celebrating the moment in him and with him. He accomplished this small or mighty feat and should be recognized for it by you. He needs that Atta boy and he needs it from you. Give him that moment and he will feel loved by you.
- Affirmation is simple. You may be thinking, “I am not the affirming type. That’s just not me.” Take heart. There is hope for you, yet! Your wife still needs affirmation and it can still be done – by you. Note how simple an affirmation can be. Perhaps a mere mentioning of how well she handled a situation with the kids. Sometimes the simpler the greater effect it can have.
Or it can be, as my pastor’s wife did, a major party event. The size or cost is not the issue. Both are, at times, in order. The issue is paying tribute to the love of your life in whatever shape or size that looks like. So don’t be intimidated by others with their elaborate schemes. Acknowledge, recognize and affirm your mate in your own way. The effect can far surpass your expectations.
- Affirmation is biblical. Let’s take our model from the One who did it best: God the Father. Jesus’ baptism was an act of humility and obedience. Upon that occasion the Father said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 1:17).
And again in Matthew 17:3 on the Mount of Transfiguration the Father said:
“This is My beloved Son. I take delight in Him. Listen to Him!”
The Father affirmed His Son, more than once, so Jesus would know exactly how He felt about Him. Facing what He had to face in the days ahead, Jesus had no doubt that the Father was pleased with Him. Perhaps He needed that clarity as He looked to the future.
When you affirm your mate, you are making it crystal clear how you feel about her. And as she faces her own days ahead, she might need that clarity as well. And besides, you are following the perfect biblical example of what affirmation needs to look like from the Father Himself.
So bless your spouse with a positive affirmation on a consistent basis and watch her confidence grow in an atmosphere of love, consideration and admiration.Bless your spouse with positive affirmations on a consistent basis and watch their confidence grow. Click To Tweet