What Compliments Do For Your Spouse
י״ז במרחשון ה׳תש״פ (15 בNovember 2019)
You should take the initiative to compliment and praise your spouse even in times you don’t feel a special need to do so; the benefits are many.
1. Future gain:
Our sages said (Tractate Avoda Zara 3a): “He who prepares before Shabbat will eat on Shabbat”. If you are someone that compliments your spouse in normal times showing appreciation, you will find that in times of tension if that spouse feels wronged or insulted by you that it is easier to make up and go on.
In a life shared with another it is normal that one might make a mistake and lash out on the other without thinking or do something the other partner disagrees with. If the couple is well aware of their mutual respect and appreciation for one another it’s much easier to hold back, give in and not over react. A similar saying is; “If you clean all year long, Passover cleaning is easier.”
2. Compliments create love:
Many people wonder how to keep the first fires of love burning throughout their marriage. They need look no further! Compliments and praises for your spouse are a great way to keep that fire burning! When you praise your spouse for his/her attributes or things they did for you it arouses feelings of love. Your spouse feels appreciated and you who gave the compliment notice all the good things in your spouse.
3. Pure appreciation and kindness:
Some people will compliment their spouse to motivate them to get things done. However your main intention in complimenting should be genuine appreciation and making your spouse feel good with your acknowledgment and praise of what they did. Kindness is no less a mitzvah when doing it for your spouse and the truth is it is even more important. The verse says “Do not overlook your own flesh” (Isaiah 58, 7) and our sages say: “Your flesh means your relatives.” (Tractate Shavuot 39a)
Unfortunately, it is common to find people who do extensive kindnesses out of their home showering smiles and compliments to all they come in contact with. But when they come home it all stops; they suddenly become stingy with their smiles and compliments. Rabbi Chaim Vital the preeminent student of the holy Ari said that ‘kindness to others is only considered when a person showers kindness on his own wife and children. If someone is not kind at home, his kindness out of the home is worthless.’
We can learn the hierarchy of true kindness from Abraham. After receiving the prophecy to leave his land to another unspecified land, the verse said: “Abram took Sarai his wife, his nephew Lot, their property and the souls they made in Haran and they left to go to the land of Canaan” (Genesis 12, 5). The Torah rells us that first Abraham took care of his wife who was closest to him, his nephew was after that and only at the end were ‘the souls they made in Haran’ that they brought to recognize G-d. This teaches us that kindness starts at home and then spreads outwards.
4. Encouragement feeds the soul:
Just as a person who doesn’t eat will get weak and sick lacking what he needs to live, so too not getting compliments starves the soul of what it needs and causes weakness to the soul. Sometimes a husband avoids fixing something though his wife asked him countless times to fix it. This can be because he doesn’t feel his actions are appreciated or he was hoping for more appreciation whereas out of the house people appreciate what he does for them.
So with the slightest effort of expressing your appreciation to your spouse you gain countless benefits for you and your entire family.
This is an excerpt from Rabbi Zamir Cohen’s upcoming book “The Complete Digest for a Happy Marriage”. Stay tuned for its upcoming release.
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