Most couples who get married jump ship before the going gets good. Marriage is a divine dance that you get better at with age. More importantly, marriage is the most graphic display of what the gospel of Jesus is all about. It is a daily dying to self and a daily resurrection because of Jesus’ grace that He lavishes upon two broken sinners, living together in the same space. I am nowhere near being an expert on marriage. However, I am convinced that if you spend ten minutes doing this daily with your spouse, your marriage will be transformed for the better:
Compliment your spouse, consistently.
Now, I can already hear your response:
This sounds too simple.
It is never going to work.
Worse yet, you might be saying: How am I ever going to find the time.
I will never forget a story one of my seminary professors shared in a preaching class with over forty young preachers ready to create fire out of logic:
He said that he had a student once who only cared about his books and studying. He paid very little attention to his wife, much less giving her compliments daily. One day after he came home from classes, the house was eerily quiet. Upon entering his bedroom, he stopped dead in his tracks. There on top of the neatly made bed was a pile of books. On top of the books penned by theological giants, there lay a handwritten note. Bewildered, he picked it up and read it. Here is what it said:
You spent more time with these books than with me, so now you can spend the rest of your life with them.
The point of why I tell you this story is not for you to quibble on whose fault it was or where the blame should go. That is not our part. What is your part is your marriage. Your spouse. That is the most important climate for which you are responsible for. A Christ-centered marriage should be practical, not only confessional.
But don’t get discouraged because even most marriage experts who have written books on marriage (think Tim Keller) actually struggle with being a great spouse daily. I can’t forget Keller’s candid recollection of him striving to be a great husband daily, but often falling asleep with the realization that he once more failed to live up the Ephesians five imperatives. This is why Jesus provides grace – and hopefully so too does your spouse.
I believe the relationship you have with your spouse should be prioritized far above any other relationship you have with other people in your life, save for Jesus.
So back to my original premise: Compliment your spouse daily. Here are five types of compliments that you can begin implementing today. By doing this, you show your spouse that you care for them, you notice them, you affirm them, you validate them and ultimately, you love them because you took time out for them. Super important. Here we go:
1. Verbal Compliments. Say things that encourage and build up your spouse. Compliment their beauty, their appearance, the way they handled a specific situation, the way they made a right decision.
2. Diverse Compliments. Say things in a way you have never said before. Notice things you have never noticed before. Find out new things about your spouse and wow them with the fact that you study them. In a non-creeper way of course.
3. Action Compliments. Do things for your spouse that you don’t normally do. Go out of your way to please them. Surprise them.
4. Public Compliments. Speak well of your spouse in public. You don’t have to over-do this or make your spouse feel awkward. But the occasional public affirmation of your spouse will do great things for your marriage.
5. Consistent Compliments. Compliment your spouse frequently and compliment your spouse often. Do it right now. Text them one of these types of compliments. Email them or call them. If they are next to you or in the same room as you are, go ahead and tell them how amazing they are. Even if you don’t feel like it. Even if you think they don’t deserve it. Motion initiates emotion.
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Question: What else would you add to this list? Have you done this in your marriage or are you planning on doing this when you get married? Jump into the conversation by leaving a comment below.