When people were asked if they'd rather be complimented on their looks or their character, only 16 percent said looks, according to Laurie Puhn in her book "Fight Less, Love More".
"You look pretty" or "You're beautiful tonight" are nice compliments to give your wife, but there are so many better ones. Society already puts too much attention on a woman's beauty, with almost no focus on her character. Only complimenting your wife on her physical attributes reinforces the message that her looks are her most import feature.
Compliments focusing on the positive attributes of her character are much more meaningful to her than compliments based on her figure, clothes or hair. Try out these phrases and see your wife smile:
1. "You're kind."
Kindness is a hugely positive characteristic. No one wants to be thought of as a mean person, but sometimes your wife might wonder whether people perceive her as kind. Let your wife know that her kindness is noticed and point out how much you love this quality.
2. "You're a great wife."
Of course she wants to be a good wife to you, just as you want to be a good husband to her. You see her making efforts to strengthen your marriage, but if you don't acknowledge them, she might wonder if they are working. Compliment her on the different ways she is a great wife.
3. "You're a great mother."
If your wife is also a mom, she probably feels like she's bad at parenting some days. The kids might throw tantrums, there might not be room to walk across the room without stepping on scattered toys and she might not have had perfect patience with her kiddos every minute (which is virtually impossible, by the way). Be aware of the times when she feels down about her abilities as a mother and remind her about the truth - that's she's a great mom.
4. "You're smart."
Your wife would love to know you notice and admire her intellect. When it comes to compliments, think brains over beauty.
5. "You're loving."
Your wife shows so much love - to you, to her kids, to her extended family, to her friends. This attribute is another great characteristic your wife will appreciate a compliment on.
6. "You're talented."
What are some skills your wife excels at? I'm sure you can write a long list. She would rather be complimented on any of her talents than on any of her physical attributes. So the next time you see your wife making something creative, excelling at her career, writing something moving, playing something beautifully or so on, acknowledge it.
You're proud of your wife for all that she accomplishes, but does she know that? She gets so much done in a single one day, let alone her what she's achieved during the time you've known her. After working so hard, she'll love to hear that you are amazed at what she's been able to do with her life.
The next time you're thinking of paying your wife a compliment (which spouses should do for each other often to show their love), bring up something to do with her inner character - she'll love it.