(But it’s so common-sensical that maybe you don’t do it.)
Here’s the thing:
We want the best for our kids and families:
- we want strong homes
- we want trusting relationships
- we want shared purpose
- we want mutual respect
- we want fun
- we want to pray for one another
- we want growth in all the right ways
- and we want an unlimited supply of ice cream and maple syrup
(Okay, that last one is optional. Maybe.)
And if it’s true that you want those things, you’ll want to build up your spouse in the eyes of your kids.
Why? Because your spouse is raising your kids just as much as you are. Their confidence, humility, strength, grace and faith, have a direct impact on the growth of your child.
And the reality is that our kids overhear our relationship. They hear us talking about everything from paying bills to navigating relatives. That’s how they learn.
They learn just as much—or more—from what they indirectly overhear, than from what we directly teach.
So here’s my blatantly practical down-to-earth suggestion:
Compliment your spouse in front of your kids.
Yup. That simple. And that powerful.
Make it a habit. It’s an amazingly effective way to build up your spouse in the eyes of your kids.
I know, it’s obvious. But because it’s so common-sensical maybe you don’t do it.
By complimenting your spouse in front of your kids not only are you building up your spouse, but you’re teaching your kids…
- what gratitude looks like
- what a home looks like
- and what love looks like
Life is difficult and can ware you down. And in this scarred and scaring world we often let out our worst selves on the ones we love the most.
So we need to be aware that words shape reality. Just how God’s words make life (see Genesis 1), your words shape the character, content and quality of your home.
Just watch what happens when you start saying things like this:
- “You work so hard for our family”
- “You make the best meals”
- “Thanks for always keeping things fixed around the house”
- “You look so nice today”
I tried a little experiment. Every night I complimented my wife on the dinner she made. I said something like, “Honey, this is so good, thanks for making it for us.”
A few nights later, my 2-year-old proclaimed: “Licious, mommy!” (Delicious, mommy!)
Guess how it made my wife feel? (And guess how it made everyone feel?)
Too often kids just overhear complaints, veiled nagging and words we can file under the category of “taking-people-for-granted.”
But it’s easy to turn around when you make it a habit to compliment your spouse in front of your kids.
Your daily routines are already creating a soundtrack for your kids’ lives.
Why not choose your words well and sing a chorus of encouragement?