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Affirm Your Man

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Over-enthusiastic dad with a big smile kneeling by his slightly-embarrassed young daughter in her bedroom
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!”

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.

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Your Teen Needs You Most of All

No parent of teens is perfect and even the best can learn how to better connect with their son or daughter. Get practical action steps to better connect with your teenager in 8 Essential Tips for Parenting Your Teen in this FREE video series!

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.
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Understand How to Respect and Love your Son Well

Why doesn’t my son listen to me? Have you ever asked that question? The truth is, how you see your son and talk to him has a significant effect on how he thinks and acts. That’s why we want to help you. In fact, we’ve created a free five-part video series called “Recognizing Your Son’s Need for Respect” that will help you understand how showing respect, rather than shaming and badgering, will serve to motivate and guide your son.

Reconnected: The Digital Experience

Is the love there, but not the spark? Reawaken fun in your marriage and move from roommates to soulmates again with the help of this 7-part online video experience. Learn how to connect emotionally and spiritually as husband and wife using techniques such as dreaming together and establishing deep, heartfelt communication. The Digital Experience includes 7 teaching videos, an online study guide and access to additional tools and resources to help spouses reconnect.
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