As you’ve probably already seen, having a baby adds lots of stress to our lives. When we’re tired and stressed, we become irritable. Irritable people say things they would never say when they are rested and happy. They also fail to say some of the nice things that make life more enjoyable. We’ll always have stress. And babies, as much as we want them and love them, add a ton of stress to our lives. That’s why it’s important that we focus on, and work at, strengthening our love for each other, even in the stressful times. Building up our spouse pays huge dividends!
There are two great ways to ease stress and strengthen our marital bond: affirmation and appreciation. Affirmations are positive, true statements. These have a strong effect because they are spoken by one we love and are committed to. Appreciation is acknowledging what someone has done for us and showing we recognize their effort. Our goal this month is to try to replace any sharp, hurtful words with affirming or appreciative words. Now let’s look more closely at each of those qualities.
We deepen our friendship when we express and receive compliments. Affirmation and thankfulness are strong relationship boosters.
In some marriages, there is very little affirmation and appreciation. The inability to receive a compliment soon stops the flow of affirmation. Getting embarrassed, ignoring, or denying the heartfelt words hurts the giver. Do this often enough and your spouse will quit giving you compliments and affirmation.
On the other hand, you may find it hard to put your positive feelings into words. Your spouse could be dying to hear you say anything positive about them. With a little bit of practice and the genuine appreciation of your spouse, giving words of affirmation and thankfulness will come easier.
It is good to practice giving and receiving words of affirmation and appreciation. It is even better when it becomes such a natural part of your communication that you say and receive these words in very ordinary moments, doing ordinary tasks.
Time for Some Practice
Practice affirmation and appreciation with the Affirmation and Appreciation Exercise.
Affirmation is not just good for your spouse, it works well with your children too. See: Affirm Your Child
Here are some more articles that can help you understand the importance of affirmation and thankfulness:
See The Relationship Account for the next article in this series.