Self-Esteem Boosters: 4 Ways to Affirm Your Spouse

By October 18, 2017February 23rd, 2018Communication

Building one another’s self-esteem is an essential component of a happy marriage, but it can be easy to fall into a rut where we stop affirming one another in meaningful ways. We might find that we’ve been taking our spouse for granted—or maybe we’ve just been thinking nice things about them that we haven’t been verbalizing.

The truth is, we live and die by encouragement. Mark Twain once said, “I can live for two months on a good compliment,” and we’d venture to say that’s a true statement for all of us. It’s easy to have admiring thoughts about your spouse that you don’t take the time to share, so take the next step and begin telling your spouse all the things you’ve been thinking, but haven’t been disclosing.

You know your spouse best

It’s also important to be creative about complementing your spouse. Maybe you regularly tell them things like, “You look nice,” but those things don’t get down to their areas of greatest vulnerability. You know your spouse better than anyone, and you know their areas of highest insecurity.

One way to start giving your spouse that much-needed self-esteem boost is by honing in on that area where they’re most vulnerable and complementing them in that area:

  • If your spouse just started a new job and feels insecure about it, encourage her
  • If he tends to worry about the meals he prepares, let him know his cooking is delicious
  • If she’s beating herself up about her parenting, tell her she’s doing a great job

Set aside some time every week—maybe after dinner or right before you go to sleep—to give your spouse that much-needed boost.

Self-esteem in four parts

It’s easy to give your spouse cliched affirmations and complement them on things that everyone already knows they’re good at (including them). So get creative! If you’re not sure where to start affirming your spouse, there are four major areas of our lives that we like to call the four “legs” of self-esteem.

     1. Spiritual

Is your spouse spiritually-attuned? Does he or she have a knack for discernment or a depth of wisdom beyond their years? Maybe they have an insight into scripture or other spiritual matters that you have always admired. You could tell them something like, “Wow, you’re so wise. I see spiritual strength in you and character that a lot of people don’t have.” Let them know that their spiritual gifts are a blessing to you and ers around you, too.

     2. Mental

Is your spouse incredibly intelligent? Are they well-read and academically accomplished? Maybe he’s an excellent teacher, or she’s a math whiz. Tell them how they impress you with their capacity for thinking outside the box or solving tough problems. Simple compliments like, “I love the way you think,” or, “Wow, that’s an interesting perspective; I never thought of it that way,” could make your spouse’s day.

     3. Physical

Maybe your spouse is strong, fast, graceful, or healthy. They might have a sense of style that knocks your socks off. Maybe he’s a good dancer, or she’s beaten her own record at deadlifting. Perhaps your husband is recovering from surgery and you’re proud of his progress through physical therapy. Or maybe your wife just gave birth, and you’re marveling at the miracle her body created. Find ways to build them up and let them know which of their physical attributes, appearance or no, make you happy.

     4. Emotional

Is your spouse emotionally intelligent? Do they excel at connecting with others? Are they nurturing, hospitable, and loving, and do they enjoy bringing friends and family together? Let your spouse know how much that means to you. “You’re such a good friend; I love how supportive you are,” or, “I love how it lights you up to bring everyone together,” are great places to start.

You fell in love with your spouse because of the attributes that make them who they are; in the process of building their self-esteem, remember those attributes and pay each of them special attention. You’ll love seeing your husband or wife light up each time you pay them an intentional, meaningful compliment.

Do you and your spouse work to intentionally build each other’s self-esteem? Got any ideas to add? Share them with us in the comments!


  • Patti says:

    Is this reply confidential? How much of my information appears?

    • Esther says:

      I can see your first name is Patti, but no other information.

    • Joel 774-11-609X says:

      It has your social security number, but one digit is blurred out for your safety

      • Linda says:

        Joel why are you messing with her? This is a site to HELP people…

        • Linda says:

          I’m sorry, Joel. I shouldn’t have been so quick to correct. I realize you were just having fun, which IS a way to HELP people.
          No reason, but could you please tell me your mother’s maiden name?

          • Joel 774-11-609X says:

            I understand. Not everyone GETS it.
            Johnson was her name (crosses self) but there were lots of Johnsons, so let me know if you need any more info. Are you wondering if maybe you knew her? That would be neat.

          • Lauren says:

            Yay Linda! Being a “funny” person like Joel, I often am misread, when I am joking, as being rude but thank you for realizing he was just being lighthearted.
            Joel – your comment made me laugh!
            About the article – I really like it and I agree with all of these!

      • Lemon says:

        Lol I enjoyed your comment

  • A says:

    Thank you guys. I needed that!! 🙂 True story, I just found out what 🙂 is. Don’t know you have to turn your monitor sideways to see smiley. The up side is that my arms no longer jiggle. Great arm workout, and keeps dust bunnies flying. win win

  • Lezlie says:

    I find this post somewhat troubling. I know I am not in a marriage to tear down my spouse at all and my husband’s self esteem should come from his relationship with God, not from his relationship with me. I certainly should be kind, respectful and encouraging and if one is living and dying by encouragement, then encouragement has become an idol in that person’s life. I think this article runs the risk of setting people up to feel responsible for their spouse’s emotional well being which is counter to the Boundaries material of Henry Cloud and John Townsend around the idea of being “responsible to” rather than “responsible for.” It is also inconsistent with the language of Christ in John 8 where he affirms himself in his relationship with his Father, not based on the validation of others. Healthy marriages are definitely based on thoughtfulness and awareness of each other; I don’t mean to diminish that concept at all. This article insinuates an emotional dependency that could be destructive. My sense of self must come first from knowing I am created in the image of God. When I know that then I am able to love from a place of health and goodness.

    • Cherise says:

      I appreciate this post. My husband and best friend on earth of almost 20 years needs both a secure relationship with Jesus his wife ( myself) to remind him of all he has in Jesus. We both work full time, are raising 6 kids and love serving in our church. Especially times when we are worn out or going through a spiritual desert. Because know one knows us as well as both Jesus and each other, when we are feeling most vulnerable, we pray together and help each other by building each other up in our faith. I think speaking very specific words , especially when the word is truth written in the Bible about who we are in Christ or who we are in God’s eyes, is way to build one another up in our faith . Because my husband is also my friend,I feel joy in reminding and affirming him when he is feeling discouraged or struggling with faith. And there is also the perk or experiencing spiritual growth together.

  • chuck says:

    right on Cherise-you have included both parties, not one to the expense of the other….ie Jesus and the spouse!

  • Pleas Williams says:

    My wife is awesome in so many ways. Thanks for the extra ideas on ways for me to remind her and encourage her.

  • Meamo says:


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