• Dr. Bill Walker

Want To Strengthen Your Marriage?  Compliment Your Spouse

Few things feel as good and uplifting as a sincere compliment. Compliments from our spouse have a positive effect on our marriages. Let's talk about why.


Everyone like to feel appreciated. This is especially true in marriage. The daily mundane chores of going to work, cooking, cleaning and doing laundry can go unnoticed by our spouse and we can feel unappreciated.

Sometimes after cleaning the house my wife will ask me, “How does the house look?” When I hear this I always realize I have missed an opportunity to compliment her hard work and make her feel appreciated.

The truth is I usually DO notice and appreciate the good job she has done. I just don't tell her of my appreciation. Here is an Important Truth:

An uncommunicated compliment is as good as no compliment at all.

Why Are Compliments Important in Marriage?

1) Compliments Make Us Feel Noticed

A common problem in marriage is spouses reach a point where they become like ships passing in the night. Busy schedules act as wedges in our connectedness. We become too busy to acknowledge one another’s valuable contributions to the relationship.

The danger is spouses who feel this way become tempted to look outside the marriage for someone to make them feel noticed. This has led to many marital affairs.

2) Compliments make Us Feel Valued

Value is the importance, worth, or usefulness of something. For a relationship to work each partner needs to know they are valued by the other.

To feel UN-valued means you feel UNimportant, worthless and non-useful. I promise you – NOTHING good can come from a husband or wife feeling this way!

3) Compliments Keep Intimacy Alive

Common sense alert! Why would a spouse who feels unnoticed, unimportant, and unworthy by their mate have any desire to be intimate with that person?

Even if they did have the want-to, what are the chances that a person who feels this way will be able to?

If intimacy is about a close and affectionate, loving personal relationship with another person then feeling important, worthy and useful to that other person are necessary ingredients.

Action Steps for Effective Compliments

Someone has said,

Thoughtfulness and compliments are the WD 40 of your marriage.”

Follow these Steps to keep your marriage running smooth.

1) Be Tuned In To Your Spouse

Notice your husband/wife. Look up from the TV or your iphone. Look at them with appreciation – noticing their physical appearance.

Notice the things they do that are beneficial to you and the kids.

Fight the temptation to take your spouse for granted. Develop an attitude of gratitude towards them and all the things they contribute to your marriage.

2) Look For Opportunities To Compliment

This flows out of Step #1, above. If you are tuned in you will find the opportunities to compliment. If you are not, you won’t.

I hate to admit it, but I am better at finding things to complain about than I am to speak positive about.

My rationale for this is the things that are good and done don’t need attention. The things I need to bring attention to are the things (chores, projects, or missed spots) that need attention.

The unfortunate result is I constantly miss opportunities to compliment my wife for jobs done well. And this does nothing to strengthen our marriage.

3) Be Specific in Your Compliments

Want to go a step farther in making relationship-strengthening compliments?

Make your compliments more specific. Instead of saying, “You look nice”, say, “That blouse really brings out the color of your pretty eyes”.

Or, "The kitchen looks spotless."

When you compliment specific things your spouse does you are identifying the different ways they bring value and worth to the marriage.

4) Just SAY IT!

I will often 'think' a compliment to myself about my wife but don’t share it out loud 'TO' my wife.

Change your attitude about doing this. Here is the new attitude:


Our spouses need to verbally HEAR the good things we think about them.

Writing them down in notes and cards can also be effective. Make the effort to actually communicate your compliments.


Christianly Speaking

God commands us to say kind and supportive things to one another. This surely includes our spouses.

*Proverbs 15:4

Kind words are like a life-giving tree, but lying words will crush your spirit.

*Ephesians 4:29

Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.

*Romans 14:19

So then, let us follow after things which make for peace, and things by which we may build one another up.


The Conclusion of the Matter

Our spouses deserve to be built up and encouraged by our compliments.

Sincerely work at becoming more regular with your compliments. Everyone - including you - will benefit!