Relationship experts agree that communication is important in successful marriages. The quality of that communication is also important. "Take out the trash. Bathe the kids. Pay the bills," and similar statements might not be well-received. The following phrases are sure to make your husband feel good about himself and his role in your family.
Just like you appreciate gratitude, your husband does too. Thank him for doing specific things like working to support your family, supporting you in reaching your goals, doing the dishes, taking care of the children and loving you. If you're feeling underappreciated, try thanking your husband more often. He might follow your cue and show you more gratitude too.
I love it when you...
Everyone likes positive feedback. Whether it's the way he shows affection or how he helps around the house, tell your husband the things you love about him. I love to hear my husband sing songs to our daughters as he puts them to bed. I also love it when he gives me a spontaneous shoulder rub.
Let's spend time together
Knowing how your husband shows and feels love is important, but most men I know enjoy one-on-one time with their wives. Clearing your schedule and putting everything, including the kids, aside for your husband shows him he's a priority in your life. This time doesn't have to be intimate. My husband and I had a great time doing yard work together recently. We also like to cook together and play card games. Of course, he appreciates the intimate time as well.
Like expressing gratitude, telling your husband the things you appreciate about him will strengthen your relationship and your feelings of love for him. Think of some of the things he does and tell him what they mean to you. For example, "I appreciate the way you recognize my role as mother and support me in it," or, "I appreciate you taking me to dinner last night. It was a relaxing evening."
You look amazing
Not every husband looks like a professional athlete, but most people like to receive compliments about their appearance on occasion. If your husband puts forth effort to dress up for a date even though he'd rather not, or is exercising to lose weight or be healthier, compliment him. His confidence will increase and he'll continue to take care of himself.
I find myself taking over our family life sometimes, because it's easier not to consult another person and negotiate, and because my husband is pretty easy-going. But it's nice to treat your spouse as an equal member of the relationship. I ask my husband what he'd like for dinner, where to go on vacations and day trips, what he wants to plant in the garden, and what snack he'd like while he watches TV or relaxes.
I love to see your smile and hear you laugh
Phrases like this one show you want your husband to be happy and it makes you happy to see him happy. Pretty simple, really.
Why don't you take some time for yourself?
Even though husbands are often gone all day at work, they still need time to explore their own hobbies and talents. My husband plays basketball with friends most Tuesday nights, and I encourage him to go golfing or to action movies with his friends. Your approval and encouragement will remove the guilt factor, and he will be more likely to return the favor.
Say yes when you'd like to say no - like when your husband wants to invite his buddies over to watch a football game. Compromise instead of insisting on your way when choosing paint colors or vacation spots. Showing your selfless side is sure to make your husband appreciate you. Then when you really want to get your way, you have some leverage.
There are also times when it's best to say nothing at all. I've learned not to criticize the state of the house when I come home after being out alone. He does things his way, and I do things my way. Silence is a form of respect. Another time I try to stay silent is if I'm in an emotional state where I am going to say unkind things. I ask for a time out until I can calm down.
The things you say, or don't say, make a big difference in your relationship with your husband. Try out a few of these phrases to help your husband feel great about himself.
Amy M. Peterson, a former high school English teacher, currently lives in Oregon with her husband and four children. She spends her days writing, reading, exercising and trying to get her family to eat more vegetables.