Let him know that you appreciate how much fun you have together.

How to Compliment Your Spouse

by Kathryn Rateliff Barr

Men need compliments to feel desirable and appreciated in a marriage, according to Dr. Willard F. Harley Jr. in the book “His Needs, Her Needs.” Women also need compliments and may request those compliments, but they mean less if you have to ask. Self-esteem begins at home, writes Harley, so ensure that your spouse finds a healthy daily dose of sincere and specific compliments that help him thrive.

1. Recommended Daily Amount

Your spouse needs daily compliments, according to Harley. You don’t have to limit the daily dosage to one. Find opportunities to compliment your mate based on what your spouse does, such as assuming a fair share of the chores, helping out on a special project or creating an especially romantic evening. You can also compliment physical appearance, focusing on strong hands, beautiful eyes and clothes, for instance.

2. Never Fake It

Never fake a compliment, writes Harley. If you are insincere with your compliment, your spouse will sense it and potentially feel worse. Look for things you really feel. Make a list of things you appreciate about your spouse and use one or more of those to express a sincere compliment, advises marriage and family therapist Gary Lundberg and his wife Joy in a Family Share article entitled “The Power of Compliments: 5 Ways to Help Your Wife Feel Beautiful.”

3. Help Him Appreciate You

Women need and receive compliments differently than men, according to Dr. Trina Read, an international sexuality expert writing for "Hitched" in an article entitled “The Best Ways to Compliment Your Husband and Wife.” As a woman, you need specific details in your compliment, such as “I like the way your eyes sparkle in candlelight” or “your new hairstyle frames your face so well.” You need multiple compliments in a day on the things you do to make your family's life easier, such handling the kids well or getting the laundry done so everyone has clean clothes. Finally, writes Dr. Read, you need to hear your partner praise you in public, or your partner should praise you to someone who will mention that your partner was complimenting you.

4. Making Him Feel Manly

A man gets his identity from what he does, and compliments about his accomplishments energize and motivate him to do more, writes Harley. Keep compliments to your husband short and to the point -- “I appreciate it when you reach things I can’t” or “I’m glad you take care of the car so I don’t have to worry.” Let him know that he makes you happy and list the ways that he is a hero to you, suggests Dr. Read.

About the Author

Rev. Kathryn Rateliff Barr has taught birth, parenting, vaccinations and alternative medicine classes since 1994. She is a pastoral family counselor and has parented birth, step, adopted and foster children. She holds bachelor's degrees in English and history from Centenary College of Louisiana. Studies include midwifery, naturopathy and other alternative therapies.

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