Verbal compliments, or words of affirmation, are powerful communicators of love. They are best expressed in simple, straightforward statements of affirmation, such as:
“You look sharp in that suit.”
“Do you ever look nice in that dress! Wow!”
“You must be the best potato cook in the world. I love these potatoes.”
“I really appreciate you washing the dishes tonight.”
“Thanks for getting the baby-sitter lined up for tonight. I want you to know that I don’t take that for granted.”
“I really appreciate your taking the garbage out.”
What would happen to the emotional climate of a marriage if the husband or the wife heard such words of affirmation regularly?
Within every language, there are many dialects. Here below you will find just a few but in the end you need to understand your spouse’s dialect.
Verbal compliments: read above
The word encourage means ‘to inspire courage’. Infuse your spouse with encouraging words in areas of insecurity.
Kind words: Love is kind. If then we are to communicate love verbally, we must use kind words. That has to do with the way we speak. The same sentence can have two different meanings, depending on how you say it.
Humble words: Love makes requests, not demands. The way we express those desires is all-important. If we make known our needs as requests, we are giving guidance, not ultimatums.
If your spouse’s love language is WORDS OF AFFIRMATION:
- To remind yourself that ‘Words of Affirmation’ is your spouse’s primary love language, print the following on a 3×5 card and put it on a mirror or other place where you will see it daily: Words are important! Words are important! Words are important!
- For one week keep a written record of all the words of affirmation you give your spouse each day. At the end of the week, sit down with your spouse and review your record. On Monday I said: “You did a great job on this meal. You really look nice in that outfit. I really appreciate your picking up the laundry.” On Tuesday I said: …
- Set a goal to give your spouse a different compliment each day for one month. If “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” maybe a compliment a day will keep the counsellor away. You may want to record these compliments also, so you will not duplicate the statements.
- As you read the newspaper, magazines, and books, or watch TV or listen to the radio, look for words of affirmation that people use. Observe people in conversation. Write those affirming statements in a notebook. (If they are cartoons, clip and paste them into your notebook.) Read through these periodically and select those you could use with your spouse. When you use one, note the date on which you used it. Your notebook may become your love book. Remember, words are important!
- Write a love letter, a love paragraph, or a love sentence to your spouse, and give it quietly or with fanfare! (Chances are, when he dies, you will find your love letter tucked away in some special place.) Words are important!
- Compliment your spouse in the presence of his parents or friends. You will get double credit: Your spouse will feel loved and the parents will feel lucky to have such a great son-in-law or daughter-in-law.
- Look for your spouse’s strengths and tell her how much you appreciate those strengths. Chances are she will work hard to live up to the reputation.
- Tell your children how great their mother or father is. Do this behind your spouse’s back and in her presence.
- Write a poem describing how you feel about your spouse. If you are not a poet, choose a card that expresses how you feel. Underline special words and add a few of your own at the end.
- If you find speaking “Words of Affirmation” is difficult for you, practice in front of a mirror. Use a cue card if you must, and remember, words are important.
(Please also refer to the book ‘The five Love Languages’ by Gary Chapman)