Praise, Don’t Poke

Have you ever been out in public and caught in the crossfire of a couple’s argument? They throw insults, hurle grenades of negativity and treat each other with contempt.  

Conflict in relationships are inevitable. I don’t recommend avoiding difficult discussions to prevent conflict. However, disagreements are best resolved in private situations, not public settings. You don’t want to air all your dirty laundry to the entire world.

Men have a deep desire to be respected, a profound propensity for admiration and a strong motivation to be successful. Our words can build up or break down our significant other. Bill Farrel explains a man’s need for success means he will make a “fierce commitment to doing what he does well while avoiding the areas of life where he doesn’t feel successful.” If our words are discouraging, degrading, damaging and/or destructive we are making our man feel like a failure. Is it any wonder when he then will disengage and pull away? Sadly, I have seen this before. Women then feel unwanted and unloved so they begin to nag even more “Why don’t you spend time with me?” “You are always at the office, don’t you care about me?” Or constantly criticize the effort the man does make. In turn, making him feel like he can never win and that he is never enough.

I remember the first Christmas present Blake got me was a scrapbook. It was the sweetest, most thoughtful gift! As I looked through the pages I thought to myself “I wish he would have edited and lightened this photo. Those shadows are horrible!” I quickly analyzed how I would have done it differently. Yet, I know that he is insecure about his gift-giving abilities. If I would have criticized the gift, the gift-giver, my sweet man, would have been disappointed and discouraged. I certainly didn’t want to make my boyfriend feel that way so I bit my tongue. The thoughts I had would not have been helpful or beneficial.

Now, I’m not saying you have to lie or be fake. Please, speak the truth in love. But I kindly encourage you to analyze how you talk about your significant other. Are you complaining or complimenting, belittling or building, affectionate or antagonistic, helpful or harsh, kind or cruel, considerate or careless?

“Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45

If your words are negative, unkind and demeaning what does that say about how you view the person you are talking about?

“When used appropriately, our words have the power to heal, encourage, help and teach. On the other hand, words can also confuse, embarrass and hurt. Proverbs 18:21 says “the tongue can bring death or life” Our words carry tremendous weight, whether they are spoken to others or spoken to ourselves”

So where does your man go for admiration and appreciation? He will find it somewhere! I hope he finds it in you!

Communication Guidelines:

  1. Don’t try to always be right.
  2. Don’t use words as weapons.
  3. Don’t call each other negative names. Even the phrase “You’re an Idiot” said in joking is a way for the devil to get a foothold.
  4. Don’t speak bad about the other person to others. Be cautious and careful of who you talk to about your relationship conflicts. Seek to gain wisdom not unleash frustration.

Couple’s Challenge = Give your man a compliment every day. If it is new and feels foreign start with “Thank you”. It could be as simple as thanking him for cutting the grass or working hard to provide. Then begin to compliment his appearance, character and behavior. The more you do, the more natural it will become.

Extra Credit = Make a list of 10 reasons why you admire, respect and cherish your man. Then share those reasons with him. Watch how his face changes and attitude softens.

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