People who are selfless and “acts of service” oriented may minimize words of encouragement because they don’t feel a strong need for them. What if your partner needs acknowledgment? If your partner points out they’ve taken out the trash although you’ve done it the last 99 times, they’re asking for a word of encouragement. Don’t fall into resentment, give it to them! What gets rewarded gets repeated.
Now, words of encouragement are only valid if they’re valid! That means you have to actually note something positive before you remark. Sometimes that’s difficult when you’re in conflict with your partner. You might have to dig deep, but you can do it!
I ask couples to make a list of wonderful qualities their partner possesses and keep it handy. When they fall into negative feelings about their partner, I encourage them not to stay there. I challenge them to grab their list and read it, and reread it until they shift into gratitude and appreciation.
I know this is valuable for everyone, so make your own list. If you need a kick start, here’s some ideas:
Good for you!
Thank you for making my day.
Thank you for… taking out the trash…..picking up the milk….putting the laundry in the hamper….making coffee this morning…..working so hard.
That was really smart.
I feel safe with you and you’re safe with me.
I want to go on a date with you tonight.
Thanks for fixing that.
You put a lot of work into that.
It’s fun to take walks with you.
Keep it up.
It’s always nice when we can watch our favorite TV show together.
That was very nice.
You always make me laugh.
You’ve made my life so wonderful.
We’ve raised some great kids.
I hope you have a great day.
You make a great point.
I’m glad you’re my friend.
Wouldn't anyone be stoked to hear some of those things? Your task now is to make your own list of words of encouragement. Search as long as you need to; discard the negative. Find honestly good things about your partner that you can consistently and persistently compliment them on. Keep that list handy and refer to it whenever you notice some negative feelings about your partner. It’ll shift your thoughts into a more positive space and that’s a winning move.
In the comments below, let me know how it goes. I’d love to hear from you via email too.
Stay encouraging! Namaste,