Affirm Your Man

By Erin Smalley
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email
Erin Drago
When my husband's parenting doesn't fit my expectations, I could nag or ridicule him, but I found a better way that doesn't lead to negativity in our marriage. I focus on the things he does right.

On Valentine’s Day, we all celebrate the idealized, romantic versions of marriage. The other 364
days a year, we’re back to real life, loving and living with a spouse who has strengths and
areas that need growth.

Over the years, I’ve tended to focus on the areas where my husband,
Greg, is lacking instead of the areas where he excels. When it came to dressing our young daughters,
for example, Greg would clothe the girls in mismatched patterns or garments for the wrong season.
They would be dripping sweat in their fleece amid the Arkansas summer humidity.

Greg’s unique
brand of parenting extended to our children’s personal hygiene. Upon my return from a mission trip,
our daughter Annie proudly announced, “While you were gone, I got to sit in the hot tub, and Daddy
said that counted as my bath!”

When Greg’s parenting doesn’t fit my expectations, I could
nag, shame or ridicule him — but I found a better way that doesn’t lead to negativity in our
marriage.

A kind word counts

One powerful piece of research by Dr. Terri OrbuchTeri Orbach, 5 Simple Steps to Take Your Marriage from Good to Great, Delacorte Press, 2009, page 59. revealed that “a husband’s major source of
feeling affirmed on a regular basis comes from, guess who? His spouse.”

Dr. Orbuch found that
wives giving affirming words and gestures makes their husbands feel “noticed, appreciated,
respected, loved or desired” and is one of the greatest predictors of marital satisfaction. After
reading the study, I challenged myself to offer Greg an affirmation each day. I soon realized I
needed to be watching for something new every day to affirm because “you’re a great husband” would
get old.

The impact on me was unexpected. I started to view him in a much more
positive light, and I definitely noticed more of what he was doing versus what he wasn’t. And Greg
continued to light up every time I offered a new affirmation, such as, “I love watching you connect
with Annie after she has had a hard day. You know just what to say.”

Take the challenge

Although affirming your spouse may seem difficult, it really is simple. Even after Greg “bathed”
Annie in the hot tub, I found something to praise. Instead of lecturing him, I chose to thank Greg
for caring for the kids while I was away. He loved the affirmation and proudly said, “Anytime you
want to go out of town, I’ve got it covered!”

Erin Smalley serves as the strategic spokesperson for Focus on the Family’s marriage
ministry.

How strong is your marriage? Find out today with the Focus on Marriage Assessment. This reliable assessment is based on the research and experience of Focus on the Family’s marriage experts Dr. Greg and Erin Smalley. Take this free assessment now.

© 2019 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved.

Share:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

About the Author

Erin Smalley

Erin Smalley serves as the Marriage Strategic Spokesperson for Focus on the Family’s marriage ministry and develops content for the marriage department. In addition to her work at Focus, Smalley is a conference speaker. She presents with her husband, Dr. Greg Smalley, at marriage enrichment seminars where they guide husbands and wives in taking steps toward enjoying deeply satisfying marriages. …

You May Also Like

Thank you [field id="first_name"] for signing up to get the free downloads of the Marrying Well Guides. 

Click the image below to access your guide and learn about the counter-cultural, biblical concepts of intentionality, purity, community and Christian compatibility.

(For best results use IE 8 or higher, Firefox, Chrome or Safari)

To stay up-to-date with the latest from Boundless, sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter.


If you have any comments or questions about the information included in the Guide, please send them to [email protected]

Click here to return to Boundless

Focus on the Family

Thank you for submitting this form. You will hear from us soon. 

The Daily Citizen

The Daily Citizen from Focus on the Family exists to be your most trustworthy news source. Our team of analysts is devoted to giving you timely and relevant analysis of current events and cultural trends – all from a biblical worldview – so that you can be inspired and assured that the information you share with others comes from a reliable source.

Alive to Thrive is a biblical guide to preventing teen suicide. Anyone who interacts with teens can learn how to help prevent suicidal thinking through sound practical and clinical advice, and more importantly, biblical principles that will provide a young person with hope in Christ.

Bring Your Bible to School Day Logo Lockup with the Words Beneath

Every year on Bring Your Bible to School Day, students across the nation celebrate religious freedom and share God’s love with their friends. This event is designed to empower students to express their belief in the truth of God’s Word–and to do so in a respectful way that demonstrates the love of Christ.

Focus on the Family’s® Foster Care and Adoption program focuses on two main areas:

  • Wait No More events, which educate and empower families to help waiting kids in foster care

  • Post-placement resources for foster and adoptive families

Christian Counselors Network

Find Christian Counselors, Marriage & Family Therapists, Psychologists, Social Workers and Psychiatrists near you! Search by location, name or specialty to find professionals in Focus on the Family’s Christian Counselors Network who are eager to assist you.

Boundless is a Focus on the Family community for Christian young adults who want to pursue faith, relationships and adulthood with confidence and joy.

Through reviews, articles and discussions, Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live.

Have you been looking for a way to build your child’s faith in a fun and exciting way?
Adventures in Odyssey® audio dramas will do just that. Through original audio stories brought to life by actors who make you feel like part of the experience; these fictional, character-building dramas use storytelling to teach lasting truths.

Focus on the Family’s Hope Restored all-inclusive intensives offer marriage counseling for couples who are facing an extreme crisis in their marriage, and who may even feel they are headed for divorce.