Men Need Words of Affirmation


Last week I completed the biggest home improvement project I’ve ever taken on. After six months of blood, sweat, and even tears our basement is finished. For some guys this would be no big deal, but as my wife would be quick to point out, I’m no handyman.

She famously waited two years for me to put baseboards in our living room, and the three year old hole in our dining room wall is still waiting to be fixed. So when I finished our basement, having done most of the work myself, I was pretty proud.

In fact I’m thrilled! And what made it even better was to hear my wife heap praise on my work. In the past five days I’ve heard again and again how much the space means to her, how much she appreciates all my hard work, and how good everything looks. Kara encourages the kids to thank me for the added space, and for the past week I’ve felt like super dad!

Finishing the basement has reminded me of how important words of affirmation are as a language of love. There were moments in the project when our communication wasn’t as positive, and both experiences point to the deeper meaning our words often have with the ones we love. I’m often tempted to assume that love is static, that since I’ve already told Kara how much I love her, and that I’m proud of her it doesn’t need to be said again.

But I was reminded last week that every little word counts. I always want our love to grow, and I have realized it does so with small gestures of love like putting my arm around her, doing the dishes without being asked, and small words of love and affirmation. Not only do these words help love grow, but it makes me want to love Kara even better, maybe even by fixing the three year old hole in our wall!

The trick is remembering to focus on the small acts of love when all the daily distractions come flying in. I’m committed now, but will work to remember the importance of words of affirmation when I’m just trying to survive the week! I know it won’t be easy or perfect, but I’m committed to simple words of affirmation because I’m committed to a love that isn’t static, but is always growing!

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