People often say “love is blind” to describe the early days of infatuation in a romantic relationship. When you’re falling in love, it’s easy to see all the positive traits in people and to avoid acknowledging their weaknesses. But that’s not because they don’t have them. We all do. Especially after the honeymoon phase, the “real” you starts getting to know the “real” her for the first time. And if we’re not careful, we can forget the strengths that drew us to each other in the first place and focus on how to change our beloved’s weaknesses.
In most marriages, the natural tendency is to magnify a spouse’s weaknesses while overlooking her obvious strengths. But we should be doing the exact opposite. Here are three ways to appreciate your wife’s strengths.
1. Praise her more for her strengths than you correct her for her weaknesses.
I’ve heard that it takes seven positive statements to counteract each negative statement we say to someone. Accurate or not, the principle behind it is true: praise is always more powerful and productive than criticism. When you see your wife thriving in her strengths, remind her that you’re her biggest fan. Whether she is being a rock-star mom, excelling at a passion, exemplifying grace and forgiveness, or quietly putting others’ needs before her own, she needs to hear you regularly edifying her, not constantly nagging her about her weaknesses.
2. Allow her strengths to complement your weaknesses (and vice versa).
Most married couples have a lot in common but most also think and operate very differently. How a couple deals with differences can make or break a relationship. In our home, we love having people over. My wife is an amazing cook but she’s not an amazing “cleaner-upper.” (Sorry, Babe). However, I’m all about keeping things clean and could barely fry an egg if my life depended on it. So she does most (if not all) the meal prep, and I do most (if not all) the cleanup. We learned to complement each other’s strengths rather than nag each other over weaknesses and it works out well.How a couple deals with differences can make or break a relationship.
3. Work through the messy middle.
Navigating each other’s strengths and weaknesses is not easy (you’re still going to leave your dirty socks and underwear on the floor and she’s still going to keep trying to read your mind before you speak). There is no getting around having differences from your spouse. But if you work toward understanding your wife and respecting her different perspectives, you gently can lean into each other for strength rather than colliding with each other and creating disaster.
Sound off: Which of your wife’s many strengths could you praise her for today?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your wife and ask, “In what area of life could I praise or encourage you more?”