What do you think to yourself when you’re flicking through Facebook or Instagram, and you come across one of those long tributes to a spouse, girlfriend, parent or best friend, often marking some special occasion like a birthday or anniversary? (Warning – You’re about to get that from me because at the end of this post I list, ‘The 10 things I’m celebrating about my wife’)
What if I told you that speaking fondly and thoughtfully about those you love in public has the ability to pay massive dividends in your relationships?
Whilst I’ve known this intuitively for a long time, it wasn’t until I read this blog post by Michael Hyatt, entitled, “5 Reasons to Speak Well of Your Spouse in Public”, that I really began to think more intentionally about the power of words in our relationships.
I must admit that when I hear partners poking fun at each other – even in jest – I cringe a little. I come from a culture where ‘paying each other out’ is the norm. Blokes joke about wives being their “ball and chain!” and the girls can easily spend an entire coffee date complaining about their boyfriends or husbands. Whilst it might seem a bit excessive to pick up on seemingly harmless banter between friends (some might even argue that it’s healthy for ‘blowing off steam’), I love the 5 reasons Michael provides for speaking well about your partner (the following have been slightly adapted):
You bring out of your partner what you affirm in them.
Affirmation shifts your attitude toward your partner.
Affirmation helps strengthen your partner’s best qualities.
Affirmation wards off the temptation of cheating.
Affirmation provides a model to those around you.
Am I perfect at this? Absolutely not. And there are still many times where I have to catch myself after saying something potentially hurtful and ask for forgiveness both from my wife Brittany, and anyone else we’re with who might have heard those comments. But as I’ve tried to be more intentional about this, I’m finding that I make this mistake less and less.
There’s no point talking about this any further when I could just put it into action!
So, on the occasion of my wife’s 26th birthday and only a few weeks out from our 3 year wedding anniversary, here’s:
10 things I’m celebrating about my wife
1.) Always gives of herself to others: Whenever we meet someone and hear of a need they have (whether they say so directly or not), Britty has already made a plan for how we can help meet that before we’ve left them.
2.) Insists on peoples best efforts: Britty has incredibly high standards. Some would think this tough, but I’ve come to see it as necessary, for she only wants the best from those around her, whether those she loves, works with, or serves alongside.
3.) Maintains incredible discipline: Britty completed a Masters during our first year of marriage and I hardly noticed that she was a student! She completed her work to a high standard with minimal fuss and rarely had to ‘burn the midnight oil’. Despite having a lot on her plate, she never comes across as a ‘scatterbrain’, enabling her to give her full attention to whomever is in front of her.
4.) Perseveres without complaint: In our time together, I’ve seen Britty; battle an undiagnosable parasite from India, lose one of her closest friends, and spend time in some of the hardest and most remote communities in the world in her role as a development worker (check out this video and you’ll see what I mean!). It’s not that she doesn’t admit how tough these times are, but that these trials don’t turn into cause for her own grumbles or pity parties.
5.) Stands on the side of the oppressed: Whether that’s asylum seekers, struggling mums, or children living in abject poverty. She doesn’t just talk about these ‘poor people’, she gets alongside them and fights for them.
6.) Isn’t afraid to have fun: I can be far too serious sometimes (and Britt lets me know about it!). It’s a good thing Britt is not. She has a wicked sense of humour and knows when everyone just needs to have a laugh.
7.) Keeps me healthy: Britty gets me up every morning for our exercise routine (and runs a fitness class for expat ladies over here each week), cooks amazing wholesome food, and forces me to rest, especially when I fail to see the need for it myself.
8.) Has an unshakable faith: Britt has ‘grown up’ a Christian her entire life. Some would mock and say, “That’s just the way she was brought up.” I can assure you her faith is far more robust than that. It has survived being tested through the trials of grief and loss, bewilderment at the experience of so much injustice in this world, and her own inquisitive and critical thinking.
9.) Is an example to others: She doesn’t realise this but others certainly do. Her life has encouraged countless others and will continue to do so well into the future.
10.) Is going to make an amazing mum: It sounds strange to say this given we’re not even expecting a child yet, but one of the reasons I fell in love with Britty was because even on our first date she made a point of saying how much she loves kids and can’t wait to raise her own one day (whether biological or adopted, we’d love both!). Others boyfriends might have run at this, but I knew I was going to marry her.
Question: How do you celebrate your partner and what effects have you seen of this in your own relationships? You can leave your comment in the section provided below.