How can you spur your mate toward love and good deeds? By accentuating the positive and minimizing the negative! Then you can do a better job of affirming each other.

Before marriage, it’s easy to look for the positive. But once we say “I do” the stars in our eyes begin to fade and we see each other’s idiosyncrasies.

The reality of living together does create tension and before we know what is happening, we can easily focus on the negative instead of the positive.

When you criticize you tear down and when you encourage you build up. So it’s time to do an “about face.” Stop being a critic and become your mate’s number one fan. What do you appreciate about your mate? Here are some questions to get you talking:

  1. How has your spouse affirmed you in the past? (Dave likes Claudia’s hugs, kisses, and she likes his practical help like volunteering to be the kitchen elf.)
  2. How would you like to be affirmed in the future? (Claudia likes it when Dave calls when he is going to be delayed, brings her corn candy, or takes the garbage out the night before trash pick-up without being reminded.)
  3. In what areas is your mate most competent? Affirm your mate’s positive attributes like his happy disposition which enables him to laugh and handle pressure, or her verbal skills that help her be so expressive and articulate.
  4. Is there an area that you would like to explore together? Perhaps learning a new sport or craft or taking gourmet cooking lessons, or a community course.

As you begin a concerted effort to spur each other on, here are some tips to help you accentuate the positive:

  • Actively look for the positive. It takes five positive statements to offset one negative statement, so for the next twenty-four hours track your positives to negatives and see how you’re doing. Concentrate on each other’s strengths. We already know our weak areas so look for strengths!
  • Give honest compliments. Describe what you appreciate about your mate. We would all like to get more compliments.
  • Develop a sense of humor. Humor is a first cousin of affirmation. So relax, look for the lighter side of life and affirm each other through laughing together.

You may find that as your spur your partner toward love and good deeds, you will also be the benefactor! For sure, things will become much more positive around your house!

Related Posts:

I Want My Spouse to Know I Believe in Them

Becoming a Selfless Spouse

Written by Claudia and David Arp, MSW

David and Claudia Arp, MSW, founders of Marriage Alive Seminars, are marriage educators, columnists and authors of numerous books and small group video curriculum including “The Second Half of Marriage and 10 Great Dates” (Zondervan). You can visit their website: www.marriagealive.com