Today's role for a Christian woman takes many forms working together - mom, sister, wife, home maker, career women, and more. All of these relationships demand your time and attention. At iBelieve.com we want to help you grow in healthy relationships whether you’re single and dating, newlyweds, married or widowed. Find encouragement and feel uplifted with the sharing of personal experiences from women in every walk of the Christian women’s life.
My husband and I are rushing out the door, hurriedly making sure the lights are off, the dog is fed, and the doors are locked. Suddenly, he pauses and locks eyes with me. “You look gorgeous,” he says to me, sincerely. I smile while rolling my eyes and, without missing a beat, counter his genuine sentiment: “My hair’s a mess and I feel like a whale.”
The moment has been killed, and we walk out the door.
I am a natural at deflecting my husband’s compliments. It wasn’t until he started pushing back on my deflections that I realized how quickly I block his kind and encouraging words about topics ranging from my appearance to my work to the dinner I cooked.
Together with my husband, we talked about some reasons why wives need to accept compliments from their husband (and vice versa!).
When we overrule our husband’s encouragement, we are moving away from God’s desires for our marriage. When our husband is verbally affirming us, he is living into God’s call for husbands to love their wives (Colossians 3:19, Ephesians 5:25). To receive our husband’s words is to also receive God’s commands for how husbands and wives love one another and build each other up.
Commonly speaking, men have a huge respect for and attraction towards their wife. In a healthy relationship, this will only continue to grow more and more over time. A compliment on your dress or the breakfast you made may be their first reaction, meaning it’s not something they had to conjure up in their minds before sharing it. When husbands compliment their wives, it should not be out of duty; when it is not said out of duty, it is said with truth and meaning.
Whenever I disregard my husband’s compliments, I am refusing to accept his honest opinion. If he tells me he really enjoyed an article I wrote, but I block his words with my own negative opinion, it’s as if I’m telling him that his truth cannot impact me. Deflecting his encouragement leads him to feel unheard and unworthy of being taken seriously. It tells him that his opinion is not enough for me to accept; he walks away feeling deflated and rejected, while I make room only for the self-criticism I hold in my own heart. Nobody wins.
When my husband is building me up, it does not lead me to want to tear him down. The more willing and able we are to accept our husband’s compliments, the more freely and sincerely we can respond in kind. When we receive our husband’s words of kindness, we are filled with encouragement and can pour that back into him. A relationship that takes compliments seriously builds a foundation of kindness and respect, while apathy or sneers will breed a contemptuous relationship. We need to actively love each other, and part of that action is in receiving the words of encouragement from our spouse.
We all need to be built up and encouraged by compliments from our closest companions. Honest compliments energize and inspire; they remind us that we are seen and appreciated. Genuine compliments are fuel to our often-waning fire. Blocking a compliment from the person we’ve partnered up to do life with is to rob ourselves of support we so deeply need. When we cannot receive our husband’s kind words, it’s because we are refusing to believe them, and that negativity will begin festering in our hearts, without space for positive words to enter. We will struggle in being a good wife, mom, friend, and employee if we are only making space for criticism to define us. It’s no secret that many of us have a hard time believing in our own goodness—begin by receiving your husband’s compliments, and see how your view of your own self may begin to shift.
I know the difficulty of accepting compliments. My husband’s words go against the lies I so readily believe about my own failures and perpetual shortcomings. What if, however, we start small? What if we begin by accepting our husband’s compliments, without hesitation, even if we question their accuracy? Begin by saying “Thank you,” rather than responding to his kind words with reasons why he’s wrong. Let’s spend a week—or, better yet, a month—accepting our husband’s compliments. Notice how your opinion of yourself and the encouraging nature of your marriage begin to strengthen.
Is our fear that we will begin to believe our husband and, therefore, begin to believe in our own goodness? Let’s believe it, sisters—because our goodness is no lie.
Image Credit: Unsplash.com
I am Mallory—a wife, a writer, and a dog mom to Roger. I love dry humor, clean sheets, sunny days, and frequent reminders of grace. These days, I hang out at malloryredmond.com, where I tell my stories with the hope of uncovering places of connection in our humanity. You can also follow me on Facebook and Twitter.