Where does your husband go for admiration and appreciation? He goes somewhere. All men do. Does he go to work in hopes of hearing “Job well done”? Does he go to the ball field in hopes of hearing “Way to go, man”? Does he go back home to mother to hear “I’m so proud of you, son”? Does he work late hoping for a few compliments from the gals in the office? Does he feast on compliments from patients or clients? Does he hang out at the gym flexing and building his biceps? Tell me, where does your man go to be admired?
In my first job as a dental hygienist, I noticed how the all-female staff, as well as the patients, admired the doctors in the building where I worked. I admired them too! They were a wonderful group of talented men who were gifted and skilled in their chosen profession. As a young woman in my early twenties, I wondered how the doctors’ wives felt about the praise their hubbies received from other women all day long.
Amazingly, a few years later, I had the opportunity to find out for myself. After working for two years, I decided to go back to college. While there I met and married Steve Jaynes, a young dental student. When he started his practice, I remembered the admiring women from the years before, and I made a commitment that of all Steve’s admirers he would have from the day he opened his practice until the day he retired, I was going to be his number one fan! And it wasn’t long before I realized that admiration and appreciation are the golden keys to unlocking his heart.
Dr. Willard Harley, in his book, His Needs Her Needs says:
When a woman tells a man she thinks he’s wonderful, that inspires him to achieve more. He sees himself as capable of handling new responsibilities and perfecting skills far above those of his present level. That inspiration helps him prepare for the responsibilities of life. Admiration not only motivates, it also rewards the husband’s existing achievements. When she tells him that she appreciates him for what he has done, it gives him more satisfaction than he receives from his paycheck. A woman needs to appreciate her husband for what he already is, not for what he could become, if he lived up to her standards. For some men—those with fragile self-images—admiration also helps them believe in themselves.
Without it these men seem inherently more defensive about their shortcomings…While criticism causes men to become defensive, admiration energizes and motivates them. A man expects—and needs—his wife to be his most enthusiastic fan. He draws confidence from her support and can usually achieve far more with her.[i]
If you have been withholding admiring words from your husband, it may feel strange to begin. First and foremost, be authentic—be real. If you contrive admiring words, he’ll be able to tell. Start with one compliment or one word of appreciation. It may be as simple as “thank you” and soon the admiration will begin to flow…hopefully both ways.
Dr. Harley explains the following about your husband’s heart:
Remember that a man really needs appreciation. He thrives on it. Many men who come to me because they have had affairs stress that the admiration of their lovers acted as a warm spring breeze in comparison to the arctic cold of their wives’ criticism. How can they resist? Don’t make your husband go outside your marriage for approval; he needs the perspective your appreciation gives him. That does not mean you have to fake it with him and tell him you love something that drives you wild, but work with him on the needs you must both fulfill, setting up a strategy that builds admiration.[i]
Not all men are admired at work. If work is a place where your husband meets opposition at every turn or leaves feeling like a failure, he will search for someplace to be admired. It may be on the softball field, on the racquetball court, as a deacon in the church, or through Facebook with old friends. How wonderful when that place is in your heart, in your arms, and in your home.
Look for ways to give your husband a compliment every day. Pay attention to him and take note of his appearance, behavior, and character qualities. Then sprinkle a few compliments his way. Your husband may be confused or skeptical with this sudden showering of praise. He may say, “What’s up with the compliments all of a sudden?”
If that’s his reaction, just say, “I’d forgotten what a wonderful man I’m married to, and I’m realizing it more and more every day!”
When you affirm your husband physically, emotionally, and verbally, you are blessing him in a way that no one else can.
Here are some ideas from my book, A 14 Day Romance Challenge
• Make a list of 10 to 15 reasons you appreciate or admire your husband and send it to him in an email, tape it to the steering wheel of his car, or post it on Facebook, making sure to tag him in the post.
• Write your husband a note, thanking him for something he did for you. It could be as simple as thanking him for working hard for your family, cutting the grass, or keeping up with your insurance.
• Fill one helium balloon for each year you’ve been married. Attach a love note to the ribbon of each balloon. Place the balloons over your bed so when he comes into the room he sees the cloud of balloons with love notes hovering from the ceiling.
• Make him a little card the size of a credit card that says “Lifetime Member of the AAA Club of Marriage. I Admire, Adore, and Appreciate You.” Slip it into his wallet.
• Put a note in his wallet that says, “You mean more to me than all the money in the world.”
Leave a comment and share one thing you did or will do today to show your husband you appreciate or admire him. We will randomly pick one comment to receive a free copy of Sharon’s new book, A 14-Day Romance Challenge: Reigniting Passion in Your Marriage.
Sharon Jaynes is a conference speaker and author of 21 books including Praying for Your Husband from Head to Toe and Becoming the Woman of His Dreams: Seven Qualities Every Man Longs For.
Her latest release, A 14-Day Romance Challenge: Reigniting Passion in your marriage is filled over 250 ways to show your husband just how much you love him and capture his heart all over again. If your marriage has grown hoo-hum in the daily routine of life, then this book will help you re-capture the romance of the early days. Learn more about Sharon’s resources at www.sharonjaynes.com.