All of us appreciate receiving compliments from our partner from time to time. Compliments come in many forms, e.g. telling your partner that they look nice or acknowledging that they work hard – you get the picture! But there is a particular type of compliment that I want to talk about that can have a powerful impact on the one you love. And, what’s more, I think we rarely do it or even think to do it.
Before I share this important compliment that we can give to our partner, let me share this idea with you. One of the challenges in a relationship arises when we impose traits or characteristics on our partner that may not be legitimate. There will be times when we think that our partner is similar to someone who we have struggled with in a past relationship, e.g. a parent, sibling, or ex-spouse. It is inevitable that we will see traits in our partner that remind us of people and relationships we have struggled with in the past. You know the phrase “you are just like……” and it is not usually meant as a positive comparison! When you feel like saying this, try asking yourself “How is my partner different from this person?” Answering that question will help you get to a healthier place in your relationship.
Hopefully, there is a balance of aspects in your partner that you appreciate, as well as the challenges that you see the other person bringing to the relationship. They could be things you admired in the early days of your relationship or things you have discovered as your relationship has grown.
All of this being said, here is the compliment that I think needs to be made frequently and authentically in our marriage: I think what most of us want and need more than anything from our partner is “to be seen and appreciated for who we are as a person“. Most of us know that we have flaws, even if we don’t acknowledge them to others. Therefore, the most meaningful compliment that you can give your partner is to let him or her know you see them and appreciate who they are as a person.
For example, I see in my husband that he has a natural-born talent as a teacher. I have been moved to tears when I have witnessed him in the classroom; he has a unique ability to connect with kids in a way that I admire. I see this in him, and I know he appreciates that I see it.
My husband has shared with me that I have a unique ability to be intuitive and use it to be helpful to others. It means so much to me because my intuition and how I use it is an important part of how I see myself as a person.
Please know that when I share some of the positives in my marriage, I have no intention of portraying a perfect relationship – we struggle just like everyone else! But these shared moments of “seeing one another” are priceless. And, what’s more, not only will you make your partner feel the warmth within them and warmth for you but you will feel it toward your partner as well. Seeing the positive in someone and sharing it with them benefits both of you in a meaningful and loving way.
Additionally, you could share aspects about your partner that you know enhance your relationship as well. For example, one might recognize in their partner that they are loyal to the relationship or recognize that it is important to them that they work toward growth as a couple.
All of this will enhance your relationship, but I feel that it is necessary to address one concern here that might be on your mind as you read this post. You may worry that your partner may not reciprocate this meaningful compliment. Your concern is a fair one because it can feel awful to give something that is not reciprocated. One can feel vulnerable if you give something and do not receive it in return. However, if you are willing to take the leap, eventually your partner may eventually follow you. Or perhaps you can open up a dialogue with your partner after reading this blog. Share with them your thoughts and feelings on the idea of sharing what you appreciate about who your partner is as a person. I do hope it turns out to be an enjoyable and helpful conversation between the two of you!
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