The Power of Praise
Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth. Proverbs 27:2
Couples we visit with are often those who have overlooked the power of praise. Wives particularly seem to underestimate the power of their words of affirmation. And men can often appear so aloof or self-assured that you would never think they needed their wives' praise.
I remember Lewis's constant criticism of his wife, Andrea, for how she spent money. He challenged her with questions such as, "Don't you realize how much it costs to live where we live?" and "Don't you understand how expensive it is to send the kids to the school we send them to?"
It was obvious to all who knew them that
Lewis and his wife didn't lack for money. They had all they needed and more. So was Lewis just "tight" and critical by nature? What was the real problem with these two?
I (Teresa) remember asking Andrea, "Who has typically affirmed and appreciated Lewis for his diligence as a provider?" Her answer was insightful. "I'm not sure anyone has," she told me.
As strange as it may sound, Lewis's criticisms of his wife's use of money may have been his cry for appreciation. We encouraged Andrea to consider ministering to this need rather than reacting to her husband's criticism.
Andrea began to express appreciation and praise for her husband's diligence and wisdom, publicly praising him for his faithful provision to the family. What Lewis had really needed all along was his wife's praise. When she began to speak such positive words to him, his criticism stopped and their closeness deepened.
Through his or her words, a husband or wife has a particular ministry in building up his or her spouse.
In what area of your marriage can you change your words of criticism to words of praise?
Guard my lips, Father, that my words might only exalt and edify.