Everyone wants to know others recognize and appreciate them. In fact, Mother Teresa said, “There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.” I agree. You may not find the opportunity to share appreciation for “everybody,” but there is one person who you can express appreciation to multiple times every day…your spouse. Here is a simple, yet powerful way to makes sure your spouse knows you appreciate them. Compliment them. Look for daily opportunities to compliment your spouse as often as you can.
You can compliment your spouse verbally, but there is another way that might prove more powerful than all the words you could ever say. Randy S. Woodley (link) brought it to my attention when he wrote, “Listening is perhaps the greatest compliment one person can pay to another.” Listening compliments your spouse in at least 4 ways.
- Listening communicates that you find your spouse interesting and of significance. It communicates a curiosity about them and their ideas, a desire to know them more deeply.
- Listening expresses how much you value your spouse’s emotions, ideas, and perspectives. In fact, you value them and their emotions, ideas, and perspectives enough to sacrifice your time to intently listen to them.
- Listening respects your spouse’s voice as equal to your own, important and informative. In fact, you respect their voice so much that you desire to hear their insights and thoughts.
- Listening communicates that you value your spouse’s opinion. It lets them know you consider their voice as valid as your own, so valid that you will put aside your own ideas and opinions long enough to understand theirs.
As you truly listen, you learn. Your spouse becomes an “open book” from whom you learn. You learn about them and their view of the world. And, you learn things you wouldn’t have known otherwise.
Just as important as what you might learn, listening also represents the greatest compliment you can give your spouse…a compliment of their significance, value, and importance…a compliment of their knowledge and their influence…all without saying a word!