It can be all too easy to let your daily interactions with your spouse become routine, focused solely on tasks needing to be done. You might find yourself more often than not passing each other and saying, “Can you run out to the store for some milk?” or “The baby needs a diaper change.”
But with just a little extra effort to be sure to include simple but uplifting comments in your interaction, your routine will feel a little less ordinary and a little more extraordinary.
Here are just 10 nice things to say to the man or woman with whom you share your life.
We tend to want to teach our children to be polite, reminding them at mealtimes, for instance, to say “please” and “thank you.” But do we set a good example and reinforce those lessons by expressing simple gratitude to our spouse? It could be a bigger thank you for working hard at a paid job or taking care of the lion’s share of household cleaning, or a smaller one for making the bed one busy morning, or taking the time for a supportive hug.
“You do ____ well.”
From parenting to volunteering for a local organization, or devoting time to a talent, anyone stands just a little taller when complimented on a job well done. This boosts the spirits especially when you regularly express appreciation for “thankless” tasks like mothering.
“I admire your ____.”
Taking note of specific actions is a lovely way of expressing love and strengthening your spouse, but complimenting character traits can be a good way to boost his self-esteem and daily fortitude. Patience, kindness to all, good humor, honesty tempered by gentleness and determination, for example, are admirable characteristics that should be recognized regularly.
“Let me help you with that.”
When you see your spouse (or anyone, really) working hard or struggling a bit with a task, it’s much better to offer to lend a hand rather than leave an opening for a refusal by just asking, “Can I help?” An affirmation of intent to help will usually be met with gratitude and relief.
“I miss you.”
Couples don’t often get much time together in day-to-day life, with full-time jobs, parenting, helping with children’s extracurricular activities, and so on, filling the hours of each day. So a little text or phone call, when possible, to the other when you are apart can bring a smile to your loved one.
“I’m so glad I chose you.”
Whether you dated many frogs before you found your prince, or managed to kiss just the right one early on, you made a deliberate choice to marry who you did. If you remember every day why you chose your partner and remind him or her of that, you can enjoy some moments that will feel just a bit more like a fairy tale.
“You look beautiful/handsome.”
Though you married your spouse for all the qualities that spoke to you, and not just because of “skin-deep” ones, you do love how he or she looks, even if it’s been many years since that attracted you initially. Speak up and sincerely say how beautiful or handsome she or he is in the moments that strike you.
Yes, it does feel so good to hear. It can be hard to say, but swallowing your pride and just saying it out loud will make your spouse so happy. And if he or she is gracious in receiving your concession rather than smug, you will likely be able to share in the happiness. Win-win.
“I’m praying for you.”
It’s so nice to hear — or hear about — your spouse telling other people about how great you are. When your beloved talks to God about you, whether to just share gratitude for having you or to ask for comfort or support on your behalf in a special time of need, it adds a whole other layer of making you feel important and valued. So be sure to include your companion in your daily talks with God.
“I love you.”
Those three little words really do mean so much, day in and day out, year after year after year. And when they follow days of all the other meaningful words and actions, your spouse will never need to doubt your commitment and adoration.
Cathy Carmode Lim is the founder of RatedReads.com, a website that reviews books and gives them ratings according to content. She is also a copy editor and blogs at LifeandLims.com.