Why Speaking Well of Your Spouse Is So Important

As a leader, the health of your marriage directly affects the impact of your leadership. (Click here to tweet that.) I have witnessed this time and time again. Being effective at work or in ministry begins by being effective at home.

A Couple in Love  Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/courtneyk, Image #10563305

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/courtneyk

Early in our marriage, Gail and I attended a church led by a dynamic, thirty-something pastor. He was an extraordinary communicator. He was a wise and empathetic counselor. As a result, the church grew rapidly.

But as we got better acquainted with him and his wife, we started noticing a disturbing trend in the way they related to one another. They would often make disparaging remarks about the other in public.

At first, it seemed cute. Their comments seemed playful and humorous. Everyone laughed. But over time, they became more and more pointed, thinly masking their frustration with one another.

We ultimately left that church. But several years later we learned they suffered an ugly divorce, both admitting to multiple affairs. They lost their family, and, of course, their ministry. To this day, it grieves me to think about it.

Conversely, I noticed that Sam Moore, my predecessor at Thomas Nelson, always spoke highly of his wife. He would often say, “I hate to leave her in the morning, and I can’t wait to see her in the evening.” They have been married now for nearly 60 years. Last time Gail and I were with them, they were holding hands. It was obvious they were still in love.

In reflecting on these two experiences, I am convinced that praising your spouse in public is one of the most important investments you can make—in your family and in your leadership. (Click here to tweet that.)

This is important for at least five reasons:

  1. You get more of what you affirm. Have you ever noticed that when someone praises you, you want to repeat the behavior that caused it? This is just human nature. It can be a form of manipulation if it isn’t genuine. But it can be a powerful way to motivate others when it is authentic.
  2. Affirmation shifts your attitude toward your spouse. Words are powerful tools. They can create, or they can destroy. They can build up, or they can tear down. I believe most people have a drive to align their actions—and their attitudes—with their words. If you start speaking well of someone, you start believing what you say.
  3. Affirmation helps strengthen your spouse’s best qualities. Encouragement is also a powerful force for good. All of us need positive reinforcement. This is why when we are losing weight and people notice, it gives us the strength to stick with the program. This is true in every area of life.
  4. Affirmation wards off the temptation of adultery. When others see you are happily married, they are less likely to proposition you. It’s like a hedge that protects your marriage from would-be predators. You simply stop being a target.
  5. Affirmation provides a model to those you lead. To be a truly effective leader, you must lead yourself, and then you must lead your family. Your marriage is a powerful visual of how you treat the people you value the most. (Click here to tweet that.) When you speak highly of your spouse, your followers are more likely to trust you. It takes your leadership to another level.

Affirming your spouse in public is an investment that pays big leadership dividends. (Click here to tweet that.) In a world where fewer and fewer marriages last, it can be a difference-maker.

Question: How have you seen this play out in the lives of those who have led you? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • http://blog.cyberquill.com Cyberquill

    How about affirming one’s girlfriend or boyfriend?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yep. Same principle applies. It is good practice for marriage. ;-)

      • http://twitter.com/BobbyWarrenTDR Bobby Warren

        Exactly. If you don’t do it while dating, then you are likely not to do it once married.

      • http://blog.cyberquill.com Cyberquill

        I suppose all relationships are good practice for future relationships. Some people learn from failed marriages and become better boyfriends or girlfriends as a result.

        I used to attend a private Catholic high school in Austria. It wasn’t overly religious—Austria isn’t exactly located in the Bible Belt—but I do remember that teachers could get in trouble (including termination) if they, for instance, divorced.

        How does a “Christian company” deal with employees who either divorce, live with partners that they aren’t married to, are gay, have abortions, or otherwise exhibit personal conduct that fails to accord with Christian values? Are they not hired in the first place, sanctioned or terminated as soon as their sinful conduct comes to light, do they receive loving encouragement to repent and change their ways, or is there a strict separation of workplace vs. private conduct?

        • 6kentsnonethericher

          I used to work for a christian school of music. We were very careful how we advertised and got most of our teachers by word-of-mouth…for this very reason. We wanted to be sure to retain teachers who lived the christian life. Likewise I went to a fairly strict bible college in the US which expected the same of their students. I think the way most organizations deal with this is to have their employees/students sign an agreement that they are going to live by christian standards, and then apply the discipline when the agreement is broken. I think you also have to consider cases as they come–different situations need to be considered. For instance, Francine Rivers’ book Atonement Child speaks of a young woman who is asked to leave a christian college when she becomes pregnant because of rape. Totally unfair it would seem and so this would be a prime example in real life how situations need to be treated case by case. When a young woman became pregnant at my bible college, she was asked to leave until the baby was born. Her and her boyfriend got married. After things had settled down, she reapplied to the school and was accepted, and finished her degree. Discipline is necessary, but grace is required. An isolated moment of sin is far different than following the path of sin in rebellion with no sign of repentance. The church needs to get better at loving and mentoring the former group along with grace and mercy…but that’s another soapbox to get on..:-)

          • 6kentsnonethericher

            Sorry, I realize that topic is getting away from the original post….I would like to affirm the article and say that it’s bang on….being around a couple who are tearing each other down is pretty awkward and we need to hear more of this kind of advice.

          • http://blog.cyberquill.com Cyberquill

            Interesting. I’m just wondering if Christian companies have something akin to a “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy with respect to certain issues.

  • Anonymous

    Perfect timing, sir. Some day I hope to meet you and share stories of how your blog has positively impacted my life, and as a result, those who are within our sphere of influence. Thank you very, very much!

  • http://www.leahadams.org Leah Adams

    YES!!! YES!! I KNOW this one from experience. It all boils down to respect. For so many years, early in my marriage, I was disrespectful of my husband in public, often without even realizing it. He pointed it out many times and I usually shot back at him one of two things: “I was not” or “that’s just the way I am”. Both were insanely wrong. If my husband perceived that I was being disrespectful, then I should have considered my ways and sought to be more respectful. It took me many years to learn this.

    Two books made a major difference in this regard: ‘Love and Respect’ by Emerson Eggerichs and ‘For Women Only’ by Shaunti Feldhahn. I am so thankful that I finally understood that it is not all about me. I must respect my husband!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I haven’t read Shaunti’s book, but I have read Emerson’s. It is awesome. I took my mentoring group through it last year. I have also attended his two-day seminar, which I highly recommend.

      • http://www.leahadams.org Leah Adams

        What a fantastic idea to take a mentoring group through ‘Love and Respect’. I just may try that with my small group of ladies. Thanks.

        • Audrakrell

          There is a book by the Eggerichs that is just for women, it’s called Motivating Your Man God’s way. It is based on the Love and Respect book for couples. It’s perfect for women’s groups.

          • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

            I haven’t read that book, but I loved the title. Gail bought a copy when we attended Emerson’s conference.

          • Kris Taylor

            I read “For Women Only” after being married for 10 years & cried so much, out of repentance, when I read it. I had never heard the insights abbot the way men see thing that are in this book. I buy the couples set for every young couple for a wedding gift. Your post here is a great reminder, thank you.

    • http://blog.ashleypichea.com Ashley Pichea

      “If my husband perceived that I was being disrespectful, then I should have considered my ways and sought to be more respectful.”

      This was hard for me to come to grips with, too. I often act in ways or say things that I don’t think are disrespectful in any way, but if he feels disrespected, then I have disrespected him. We definitely need to be tuned into our spouses’ perceptions.

      • http://aithyne.net Lynn

        This quote resonated a chord in me too.

      • Shari Popejoy

        Yes, perception can become reality (for the other person), so we do well to help them perceive the truth!

    • http://twitter.com/bigmet Metric

      I brought “For Men Only” to work and it’s sitting right here on my desk. It’s a really good set for any couple to have.

    • http://LookingForPurpose.com Dylan Dodson

      The men version “For Men Only,” is also great too!

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Monica-Fox/569491416 Monica Fox

      Leah, I’m so glad to hear that you were convicted of this! I appreciate your testimony.  I completely agree that it has to do with respect. When a woman criticizes and puts down her husband in public, it completely tares him down. It’s not Biblical. A woman’s need is to be loved and cherished, while a man’s need is to be
      respected.  I think this is written somewhere in Ephesians, right? :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Monica-Fox/569491416 Monica Fox

      Leah, I’m so glad to hear that you were convicted of this! I appreciate your testimony.  I completely agree that it has to do with respect. When a woman criticizes and puts down her husband in public, it completely tares him down. It’s not Biblical. A woman’s need is to be loved and cherished, while a man’s need is to be respected.  I think this is written somewhere in Ephesians, right? :) 

  • http://yourway.net Mandi @ Life…Your Way

    Amen!!! I think this is the most important lesson that my mom taught me about marriage. So many women sit and “husband bash”, and I think the power of words is too often underestimated. Once you air those grievances — and likely receive affirmation that you deserve to be irritated by xyz — they grow and take root.

    Beautifully written!

    • http://www.leahadams.org Leah Adams

      I so agree, Mandi. Words are so powerful.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      It also subtly reinforces the bad behavior. Thanks.

  • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

    One of the best known leadership principles is “Praise in Public, Reprimand in Private”. It applies to both our official and personal spheres of life.

    Of course, praising your spouse in public has affirmative ripple effects. And, on the other hand, reprimanding your spouse in public has its own negative ripple effects. So, the choice is ours.

    King Solomon utters in the book of Proverbs in Chapter 16 Verse 24 that “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Again, he writes in Chapter 15 Verse 30 that “good news gives health to the bones.”

    Whether our words are hurting or healing others? Whether it is bruising or blessing others? It is all in our hands (and mouth!!!).

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for these verses, Uma. Perfect.

      • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

        Thanks Michael! It’s always joyous to devour the word of God and draw inspiration from it.

    • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

      Nicely said Uma! Proverbs lays out the effects off both ways. I agree that it is our responsibility to make the choice.

      • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

        Thanks for your kind words Steven!

      • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

        I agree!

    • Joe Lalonde

      Nicely put Uma!

      • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

        Thanks Joe! You are welcome.

  • Kerry Palmer

    When I think about the best leaders that I have personally known, I instantly think of spousal “partnership.” This isn’t to say that the spouse interferes in any way with the leader in his/her job. It simply means that there is a high level of support and affirmation that is very obvious.

    Come to think of it, I can’t think of a single great leader with whom I have worked who did not have a beautiful marriage. It does indeed inspire confidence and trust.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I agree: confidence and trust. We also have a sad picture of what happens to someone’s leadership when the marriage falls apart. Think of John and Elizabeth Edwards.

  • http://www.godsabsolutelove.com Patricia Zell

    My marriage, like most others, has gone through some rough waters. The last time we worked our way through a storm, God put it on the line for me–I had made a promise when we got married, so the question was, how good was my word? I really got the message–from my perspective, our marriage was and is based on my faithfulness to my promise. So, I am bound by that promise to love my husband no matter what the circumstances are. I rest in God’s promise that love will never fail and I work to guard my words to make sure that what comes out of my mouth reflects the promise of my love.

    • http://www.leahadams.org Leah Adams

      Patricia, what you are saying is that you desire to be faithful to the COVENANT you made with your husband. Unfortunately our society does not realize the importance of covenant. Biblically, the consequences of breaking a covenant are HUGE!!! God takes our making of covenants very seriously, whether we do or not.

  • http://www.tonyjalicea.com Tony Alicea

    This is beautiful and SO needed. Thank you for sharing this Michael. I was just talking about this the other day with my friend. The pastors in my church are walking this out for real. They’re not the ones saying “my wife is smoking hot” from the pulpit, they live it every day in their lives.

    This should be one of those things highly stressed in marriage counseling. I’m sharing this all over the place today.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for this. I do get annoyed with the “my wife is smoking hot” comments. This seems to me to be ostentatious and inauthentic. I am really talking about simple respect and honor.

      Thanks again!

      • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

        I agree! I get so tired of hearing that comment from preachers. I would rather people see me treating my wife as if she was, rather than telling people about it.

  • Anonymous


    I needed to read that. Thanks.

  • Anonymous

    This is a great lesson, one which also applies to children and employees/co-workers. I’m embarrassed to admit I learned these lessons the hard way.

  • http://gailbhyatt.wordpress.com/ Gail Hyatt

    Of course I MUST comment on this post. :-)

    Michael speaking well of me has been something that has grown over the course of our 32 year marriage. It wasn’t necessarily intentional in the beginning. (And wasn’t always the case.) But over time, as he realized the unintended, and powerful, consequences, he became more intentional about it. In the beginning, he just tried to be a good learner of others, both by their good and bad examples.

    I have to say how wonderful it is to be married to someone who is intentional about speaking well of you. I feel loved. I feel honored. I feel challenged to live up to his view of me. I feel motivated to focus on his best qualities and put words to them. I feel safe. (This is what Emerson Eggerichs calls the “reward cycle.”)

    Michael travels a lot. And he always has. In the beginning there were opportunities for him to slip into unhealthy extramarital relationships/encounters, however thankfully he never took the bait. But there was always that fear in me that one day, he would not say no.

    A woman’s need for security is huge, at least it is for me. I can’t tell you what it means for me to know that when Michael travels by land or sea or air, or when he travels in cyberspace, I don’t have to fear. I know he loves me and is committed to me—and, SO DOES EVERYONE ELSE. This is huge.

    One last comment. Michael and I don’t have a “perfect” marriage and we never will. We’ve had very rocky times and been in counseling several times. But we are committed. We’re committed to believing the best about each other’s heart and working through the problems and fixing what needs to be fixed.

    Speaking well of each other publicly is one of the things we’ve learned to do. The payoff is huge. You can do it, too.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      You are a great example to me of this, GAIL HYATT!

      • Karl Mealor

        This is awesome, you two. Thanks for your transparency.

    • http://blog.ashleypichea.com Ashley Pichea

      “We’re committed to believing the best about each other’s heart and working through the problems and fixing what needs to be fixed.”

      This is the critical piece in any marriage that is going to last. No marriage is perfect, and Satan is out to attack marriages. We need to have a commitment to fix the marriage “no matter what” in order to last!

      • http://gailbhyatt.wordpress.com/ Gail Hyatt

        I think if you go into marriage taking the divorce option completely off the table, it forces you to find other solutions. Some work some dont. It takes time and commitment. Slow and steady wins the race.

        • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

          My wife and I decided from the very beginning that divorce was not an option. This has been a great foundation – we know that, no matter how upset we might get at times, we are committed to each other and we will work it out. It hasn’t been perfect for us; but, we have never questioned our commitment and we are now at 14 years and looking forward to many more.

        • http://blog.ashleypichea.com Ashley Pichea

          So true. We entered marriage with a “no divorce” policy, and it has made us
          “have to work it out” when times have gotten tough. Also, desiring a
          marriage that is THRIVING, not just SURVIVING (and being willing to work at
          it) will go a LONG way toward having a great marriage.

        • http://blog.ashleypichea.com Ashley Pichea

          I actually wrote a post on this topic a few weeks ago and the conversation
          surrounding it was great:

          • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

            Thanks for taking that stand, Ashley.

          • Heatherscott07

            I tried to go to your link and read your post Ashley but it said it was removed :(

          • http://blog.ashleypichea.com Ashley Pichea

            I moved from Blogger to WP yesterday, so my blog was down for a bit. I’ll double check and make sure the post is still there. Thanks for letting me know!

          • http://blog.ashleypichea.com Ashley Pichea

            Here is the updated link:
            http://blog.ashleypichea.com/2011/01/mark-10-11-12/ Sorry about that!

        • http://markjmartin.wordpress.com Mark Martin

          A good illustration I heard for this was that, if the door is bolted and there’s no way out, and there is a fire in the room, the attention goes to putting out the fire. If there’s a way out and there’s a fire, you take the way out.

          My wife and I never see divorce as an option. We focus on putting out the fires.

          Thank you to both of you for being a good example of the principle of speaking well of your mate.

        • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

          We also committed to no divorce. Sometimes the road has been rough, but nothing we haven’t been able to overcome with God’s help and patience with each other.

    • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

      Gail, thanks for your transparency and allowing us to see into your marriage. Congratulations on 32 years of marriage – it is becoming less and less heard of. Being able to learn from you and Michael (from your ups and downs and how you have traversed both) is invaluable.

      • http://gailbhyatt.wordpress.com/ Gail Hyatt

        You are so right. Marriages for life are becoming less and less heard of. Tragic. Thank you for your kind words.

    • Lynette Sowell

      Thanks for posting! I almost always find a nugget of wisdom in your husband’s posts, and yours is no different.

    • http://www.ericconnor.com Eric Connor

      Gail – I also appreciate your authenticity especially when you mention going through counseling together. I am a therapist myself and LOVE seeing couples finally decide to see somebody about their relationship.

      Before we even got married my wife and I decide we would see a counselor once a month no matter what as a way of keeping our marriage “fit.” It has been HUGE in not letting things build up. We still do it 5 years later and I would consider our marriage to be fairly strong.

      Unfortunately, most couples wait until it is almost past the point of no return before they see a counselor. So, thanks for specifically mentioning it – I am sure many people now will be more willing to go themselves after reading about it from you and Michael.

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        My therapist once told me, “Only the healthy get counseling.” In other words, it is not a sign of weakness but strength when you can admit that you need help. That completely reframed it for me.

        • http://www.ericconnor.com Eric Connor

          You have a wise therapist….and that is very true in my experience as well.

        • http://www.ninanesdoly.com/ Nina Nesdoly

          Michael, I love that quote. I love my counselor too! I first saw her in sixth grade (and was not a happy camper about it) but over the years she’s offered so much amazing insight, even when I thought I didn’t need it. 

      • HBTGF

        Somone once told me, “Don’t ever forget that the man is the head of the family…but the woman is the neck!”

        I have tried to get my wife to join me in counseling so that we can discuss our issues openly with another person. However, she has a strong belief that all we need is to live by the bible’s teachings and that if I, as the leader in our family can be the husband that the Lord has laid out plainly, everything will turn around. The head can only do so much if the neck is frozen in place. While I agree that women are responders, I also know that their are issues from her past that continually creep into our lives and they will always be at the root of our marriage (not that I don’t have my own things but I am willing to go talk them out, she is not). How can I get her to join me? Should I get her to join me? I am taking steps to do what I can personally by meeting with our mens ministry leaders buit money is an issue so formal counciling is not really an option. Some of those root issues look like unscalable mountains to me right now, butI know prayer is more powerful than anything and we have the no-divorse promise so I am commited to working on this!

        Hanging by a thread, but the grip is firm!

        • http://www.ericconnor.com Eric Connor

          I feel for you friend! It is much rarer to have the wife be the one not willing to engage in counseling, but happens nonetheless.

          I’d try to explore more what is blocking her from speaking with someone. Fear of what might come out? Perhaps from her past?

          From my experience try to keep the focus on yourself as you speak with her about why you want counseling….and continually reaffirm how much you want to love and serve her well. I am happy you are seeking support at your church although try to ensure you are working with people trained in this.

          Grace to you.

      • http://gailbhyatt.wordpress.com/ Gail Hyatt

        I love the idea of committing to counseling BEFORE a couple finds themselves in crisis. I’m going to recommend that to all the newlywed couples I know. Thanks.

    • http://www.themindfulmama.com Pauline Magnusson

      I love seeing the sacramentality of your marriage expressed in your blogs and even your tweets to and about each other. It’s such a form of encouragement to see your love and respect shared so openly! It’s also such a gift that you chose to be open about having used the tool of counseling to move through difficult times in your relationship. It seems that in our collective cultural fear of counseling, it becomes difficult for many to discover how to get help through the rocky periods when the emotion of love isn’t there and couples need to learn how to make the decision to love.

      Carl and I have made a Worldwide Marriage Encounter weekend, and it was an amazing gift to give each other! It also opened our eyes, though, to the myriad ways in which society at large really tries to tear down marriages. We’ve learned how important it is for us to intentionally socialize with other married couples committed to building strong marriages as a sort of inoculation against the world’s view of marriage. It’s too easy to become numb to the little jokes or hurtful comments that are the norm(we’ve learned this one the hard way).

    • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

      It’s awesome to see couple who are committed to one another regardless of what the world throws their way. Thanks for being so open, both of you!

    • Anonymous

      comments by Gail truly make this post effective 

    • http://www.ninanesdoly.com/ Nina Nesdoly

      Gail, I really love that you commented on this! I feel like Michael mentions you fairly regularly in posts and I’ve always thought it was wonderful. I’m 18 and no where near marriage right now, but it’s motivating to see strong marriages. Thanks for sharing, both of you :)

  • Anonymous

    As a single person who hopes to one day be married, I am constantly watching those around me. Everything I see is not positive. Sometimes it scares me away from wanting to be married. But watching my pastor give his wife the utmost respect, and vice versa shows me that I too have hope. His family comes first and that is evident. Because of his honor for her and her honor for him I believe God pours blessings over our church.

  • Jay

    What’s just as bad is when spouses put down their partner in public, right in front of them. Women are able to get away with it more (let’s face it), but I’ve seen both genders do it.

    • Karl Mealor

      I cannot stand to hear husbands disrespect their wives in public, and I certainly don’t like it when women put down their husbands.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      i agree. It is so awkward—and really abusive.

      • http://blog.ashleypichea.com Ashley Pichea

        I once had the unpleasantly awkward call from God to approach a friend about her “husband bashing” on Facebook. It was difficult as I’m a “people-pleaser,” but I felt strongly about the issue. After approaching her (in private), she and I had a great talk about what was biblically appropriate and the change in her relationship with her husband has been amazing.

      • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

        And repulsive…

  • http://www.danieldecker.net Daniel Decker

    Honestly, that was one of the things that drew me to following you on Twitter way back when I first began following you. It wasn’t because of your position, although that initially was what brought me to you but it was your character (or at least what I perceived it to be) that kept me. When I started seeing how you and Gail interacted and the many positive things you said about each other I was drawn in because 1) I knew you were human 2) I knew your heart was focused in the right direction. So, while the direct impact of affirming your spouse is extremely significant for your relationship… the after effect of it being felt by others around you (lead by example) is pretty solid as well. (Thanks to you and Gail for being that… an example).

    • Anonymous

      I was going to say something like that but Daniel said it better and typed a much longer and more elegant response! So I will say.. “Tru Dat”

      • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

        And I’ll say “ditto”.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Daniel. It is heartfelt. It is also fun to see that our children are practicing this in their own marriages.

    • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

      I second this as well. The content of this blog is compelling; but, it is the character behind the man that keeps me coming back. Solid moral (biblical) character allows us to trust what is said.

    • http://twitter.com/Beckster1024 Becky Williams

      I totally agree with Daniel’s post! I started following you on Twitter because I LOVE the company you work for and your posts and blogs have become my favorite ones.
      Thank you for talking about your marriage and how important building up is. I really appreciate you and Gail talking about counseling and how things aren’t always perfect.
      You are definitely a blessing to others!

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        Thanks, Becky. I really appreciate your encouragement.

  • Karl Mealor

    Great article, and well needed. This is especially true for those whose love language is “Words of Affirmation”.

  • Robert Wolgemuth

    Thank you, Michael. Such a strong reminder. “No wife jokes” and “no husband jokes” has been an important promise between Bobbie and me…41 years next week. Both of us spend some time in front of microphones and sometimes speakers/singers try to be funny by doing this at the expense of their mates. We’ve determined that it’s not funny. Not funny at all. You’re a good example of this good idea as well.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      You and Bobbie are great role models to Gail and me as well. I love how the two of you interact with each other!

      • http://gailbhyatt.wordpress.com/ Gail Hyatt

        I ditto that. We’ve learned SO much from you (Robert) and Bobbie. We were watching you all the time when we were first married. You’ve played a huge role in shaping the way we relate to each other. I thank you for loving each other so well.

  • http://twitter.com/schmi142 Steve Schmidt

    Excellent points, Michael, I could not agree more. I am in the midst of reading the book “Practicing Affirmation” by a pastor, Sam Crabtree. As I am working my way through this book I am being reminded of countless examples of how affirmation is sprinkled throughout the Bible and then the author gives practical advice on how to be better at applying affirmation in our daily life. I highly recommend this book for any parent, spouse and those who are in positions of leadership inside or outside the church.

  • http://twitter.com/schmi142 Steve Schmidt

    Excellent points, Michael, I could not agree more. I am in the midst of reading the book “Practicing Affirmation” by a pastor, Sam Crabtree. As I am working my way through this book I am being reminded of countless examples of how affirmation is sprinkled throughout the Bible and then the author gives practical advice on how to be better at applying affirmation in our daily life. I highly recommend this book for any parent, spouse and those who are in positions of leadership inside or outside the church.

  • http://www.confessionsofalegalist.com Jeremy@confessionsofalegalist

    We need to be busy about encouraging each other towards these things. Thanks for doing it today.

  • Joe Lalonde

    Good message Michael! I can struggle with this sometimes and I find myself falling into the “playful” remarks that are not always uplifting. I’m going to work towards becoming better at not doing this and instead give more uplifting remarks when we’re in public.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Ask someone to hold you accountable. And rather than just NOT making negative remarks, work hard to make POSITIVE ones. I have found that it is easier to change a bad habit by replacing it with a good one as opposed to just trying to stop doing something NEGATIVE. Thanks!

      • Joe Lalonde

        Thanks for the encouragement Michael. I’ll have to look for an accountability partner.

  • http://blog.ashleypichea.com Ashley Pichea

    I have always tried to have a “no husband bashing” mentality. Whether he is present or not, talking poorly about him is a sign of disrespect, and as wife I am to respect him no matter what. I struggle, though, with intentionally praising him as often as I should. Not saying anything positive is the same as saying something negative.

  • http://twitter.com/ronniereid1 Ronnie Reid

    Great wisdom! I appreciate your passion for young leaders.

  • http://twitter.com/MegHMiller Megan Hyatt Miller

    Dad, thank you for leading by example in this. I have found, in my own marriage, that this has been hugely important to us. In the beginning, we made a commitment to speak well of one another in the presence of others–even if our spouse wasn’t present. I have seen so many girlfriends use complaining about their husband as a way to connect with each other. It’s so wrong. Thanks for the reminder that our words can be a source of life or death in our marriages.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Meg. You are bring up another really important point. (Maybe you can blog on this.) Speaking well of your spouse when they are present is one thing. Speaking well of them when they are NOT present is a whole other thing. These are two sides of the same coin—and both hugely important. I love YOU!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Meg. You are bring up another really important point. (Maybe you can blog on this.) Speaking well of your spouse when they are present is one thing. Speaking well of them when they are NOT present is a whole other thing. These are two sides of the same coin—and both hugely important. I love YOU!

    • http://gailbhyatt.wordpress.com/ Gail Hyatt

      Your comment, “I have seen so many girlfriends use complaining about their husband as a way to connect with each other.” is really true. So sad. Thank you for deciding not jumping in just so you can connect. I’ve seen you refuse to get sucked in when that happens.

      We do have power to redirect conversations. You’re one of the very best I’ve seen. And you do it with much grace.

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        I think she learned that from her mother. ;-)

  • http://jennyrain.com JennyRain

    I love this post, and totally agree! I happen to work for a Sr. Leader who has a stellar marriage and who intentionally protects it and regularly affirms his family in public. It is SO inspiring. Our Senior Leadership team – if you add up the length of years they have been married – is over 500 years combined! And they are GOOD, God-centered marriages… add in the Elder staff, and phew – you are like at 900 years.

    I’m two years into my marriage (PTL!) and one of the reasons I came to work at my church is for the health of my marriage. I knew that if I was consistently around strong, God-centered marriages, I would learn healthy habits not only for ministry, but for my marriage. I praise God every day for our leaders here who have made a decision to focus on their marriages and be servant leaders :) Love this post Michael and wholeheartedly agree!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Wow. This is not a testimony you read everyday. Thank God for those God-centered marriages!

    • Emily Deiana

      Incredible points. Sound arguments. Keep up the amazing work.

  • Simon

    Wow, thanks for this post. My wife and I haven’t been married for a long time but your article really opened our eyes on how to treat each other.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Public praise of your spouse is like taking your vitamins. I guarantee it will keep your marriage healthy. (Especially, if you also praise her in private!)

  • Ali Thompson

    My husband is hard of hearing and is much better at reading comprehension than oral. I recently had an “aha” moment where I realized that the affirmation I was giving him often went unheard. (Or got lost in all the other things I say…I like to talk…) That’s when I challenged myself to thank or encourage him via sticky note, at least one a day. I put them in strange places all over the house, and he loves it…he’s got a box now that he keeps them in.

    So I think affirmation is important, but understanding how your spouse will best receive the affirmation is equally important!

    • http://gailbhyatt.wordpress.com/ Gail Hyatt

      I love this!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      That’s a great idea. Kudos to you for noticing HOW to love him well.

    • http://twitter.com/christophermust christopher battles

      Great idea.  This is good even with someone who is not hard of hearing.  
      Thank you for the idea.

      K, bye

  • Ali Thompson

    My husband is hard of hearing and is much better at reading comprehension than oral. I recently had an “aha” moment where I realized that the affirmation I was giving him often went unheard. (Or got lost in all the other things I say…I like to talk…) That’s when I challenged myself to thank or encourage him via sticky note, at least one a day. I put them in strange places all over the house, and he loves it…he’s got a box now that he keeps them in.

    So I think affirmation is important, but understanding how your spouse will best receive the affirmation is equally important!

  • Dan Miller

    My wife and I married when we were very young – both escaping from homes where expressed love and respect were absent. We decided we would create a new family legacy. I think the bad examples caused us to be very intentional about making our marriage great – rather than assuming it would just happen. Now celebrating 43 years of marriage this month I can attest to the fact that the intentionality has been well worth it. Joanne just returned from 10 days helping out with grandkids in Colorado — and returned to a professionally cleaned house, flowers on the table, and with a massage scheduled for the following morning.

    After all these years of experience I know the little deposits I make are accumulating for those withdrawals I’ll inadvertently make – but I won’t bankrupt my account.

    • http://gailbhyatt.wordpress.com/ Gail Hyatt

      How wonderful. One could have just as easily greeted his wife with complaints about how hard everything was while she was gone—implying that it was her fault. Instead you affirmed her for serving others and blessed her with your love and sensitivity to her needs. You’re the best.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      That is a GREAT testimony, Dan. Thanks for hanging in there and being such a great example.

    • Joe Lalonde

      That’s awesome Dan! Way to take care of Joanne!

    • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

      Congratulations on 43 years! It is awesome to see examples of marriages lasting a life-time instead of being thrown out when the water gets cold. And thanks for the example of intentionality – it is something I can learn from!

    • Paul Darilek

      Dan, you’re making the rest of us look bad.

  • http://LookingForPurpose.com Dylan Dodson

    I’m getting married in a little over 2 months, few things are more inspiring than being affirmed by my fiance in public. Great post!

  • http://twitter.com/DeniseMcClain Denise McClain

    This really does mean something in everyday life, not only in our personal lives, but our professional ones as well.

    My own parents suffered from bringing each other down. They’re no longer married after 30 years of negativity.

    I’ve known some managers and directors who only comment to/about their employees to criticize. It seems their departments are always stressed, with low morale. Those directors who make the effort to compliment the work of their employees, building them up? Well, they reap what they sow.

    I’ve saved this post in my Mail. It’s a good lesson to return to over and over again.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Denise. Personal affirmation—in public and in private—works in every context: work, marriage, the children, etc. I agree!

  • Anonymous

    I so agree with #4. Praising your spouse is the best hedge against affairs, creating a firm boundary.

    • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

      I like this as well. This reaffirms in our own minds that our spouse is awesome and exactly who God wants for us. And, this tells everyone else the same thing.

  • http://www.LinkedIn.com/in/davidandlisafrisbie David & Lisa Frisbie

    Thank you for communicating this powerful truth! Effective leadership begins at home, in matters of private character and primary relationships. Keep spreading this word!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I think this is one of the reasons the Apostle Paul includes it as a quality elders must possess (i.e., 1 Timothy 3:4).

  • Brandie Lagarde

    My husband and I had an issue where he put his mother and father and siblings before me and his children. I continually tried to tell him he was doing this and he couldn’t see it, I realized that my nagging him and getting angry was only driving us further apart. I came across Proverbs 31 and decided that that was the kind of wife I was going to be and pray for him everyday. Everyday turned into nine years and five kids. I wasn’t perfect, but when I felt resentment rise up, I turned my thoughts to all the things I loved about him, because there were just as many great things about and I chose to focus on that and just pray for the other. I made it a point to say nice things about him to everyone, even if I didn’t feel like it and never said bad things about him.
    He walked in one day and apologized and told me he had a conversation with his parents and he was putting God first and me, then our children, then his extended family. I never told him I was praying for him to realize his proper place as our leader all those years and I didn’t then. I just hugged him. Later I did when it didn’t seem like an ‘I told you so’ moment. God has led three other couples to us to share our story with and to be a blessing to them through what He taught us.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Beautiful. That story made me tear up. I so appreciate your faithfulness to pray for him. What a legacy to give to your children and your children’s children.

      • http://www.BrandieLagarde.com Brandie Lagarde

        Thanks, but I can take no credit. I just knew that divorce would never be an issue for me so I had only God to rely on and as always He is faithful to do this awesome work through me. I knew He would move because I was asking for something that was His will for our lives.

    • linds

      Thank you for sharing! You have no idea how much I needed to read your words today.

  • kdanielnm

    Good post. I’d like to add that this can be applied to parenting as well. Hardly a week goes by when I don’t hear a parent complain about their child, often half-jokingly with a roll of their eyes … but only half. The more we complain about the “little things,” the more our hearts start to buy into it and before you know it a relationship is broken. Sometimes all it takes is a little intentionality about focusing on the positive.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      So, so very true!

    • Agonistes

      As Hemingway wrote, “There’s death in every joke.” I think that applies to this topic.

    • http://www.BrandieLagarde.com Brandie Lagarde

      You are so correct in this, thanks for sharing that. When you homeschool your six children, it is sometimes difficult to remember this! But God taught me the art of biting my tongue when I’m angry and immediately self-reflect, then ask Him to help.

      I try to remember His command to love your neighbor as yourself.

      • kdanielnm

        Brandie – Your post is a reminder to me that it was when I was homeschooling my daughter that God taught me the importance of speaking to and about her in a positive manner. There were some trying days, but it was also a very pivotal and fulfilling time in our lives. Bravo to you for all you do as a teacher and mom. I know it’s not easy. And thanks for the reminder. –Karen

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FJRLITL5IEFHDDFURAESLXOOZ4 Jim Whitaker

    Great post. Really shows the human side of you and it is very nice to see that transparency. The word husband comes from the Norse for house and toil. In others words to be a husband is to cultivate a house. You have to work at it. You have to tend to your wife and take care of her. Part of that is how you talk to each other. I have been married for 15 years and I can affirm what you have said here. When you give you get back so much more. When you speak highly of your wife, she begins to think highly of herself. Often times people do not even recognize some of the gifts that they have since they take them for granted because they use them every day and they seem second nature. Affirmation reminds them of these gifts and helps to them to remember that they are being used by God through the gifts that they have. Not only does it lead to less proposition, but I have even had guys were in the possibility of temptation in their marriage talk to me about mine and get new perspective. The old saying goes that you can really tell the intent of someone in what they do when no one is around. Well the same can be said about what you say about your spouse when they are not around. Nothing cultivates a culture of trust and positive affirmation that when you do that for those who are not around. Although marriage is work, and it is not always the happiness and bliss that you see most of the time. It still benefits from actions like these. Thanks again Michael for the insight and transparency.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I didn’t realize that that was the etymology of the word “husband.” I will definitely be using that!

  • http://twitter.com/BobbyWarrenTDR Bobby Warren

    Michael, I appreciate your thoughts. Years ago, a former boss went to a golf outing with another worker from the company. Upon return, the worker was smiling and showing off photos of him with scantily clad young women who were there promoting a major brewing company. I asked my boss where were the photos of him with ladies, and he said, “I will never do anything that will embarrass my wife.” My sister told me before I got married that when I walked into a room, I better be looking for my wife and not making eye contact with others. The apostle Paul said in Rom. 12:18, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” To me, if we are going to try to live in peace with others, how much more so should we do it for our spouse?

    I am not a big fan of the leadership genre where there are three points for this, five for that, seven tips, etc. I praise my wife in public, in private and all points between because it is the right thing to do. She feels blessed; I feel blessed. We have been married for 16 years and our next fight will be our first. God has blessed me with a wonderful wife!

    Thanks for your insights,


  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    One of the best books I’ve ever read on Marriage is His Needs, Her Needs, by Willard Harley. In the book the author explains the five basic needs of both men and women – based on the author’s counseling experience. My wife and I have led a number of small groups through this book.
    In the book, the woman’s greatest need is affection. This can be expressed in many ways but kind and loving words top the list. It is so important to say nice things to your wife.
    Conversely, one of the man’s top needs is admiration. Words that lift up instead of tear down are so important to a man.
    While men and women’s needs are different, we both need to speak well of one another. Once I realized that my wife’s needs were different than mine, I was able to focus on what made her happy. While this book is not perfect, it is a great book to go through as a small group. It is really eye opening to see that men and women are wired differently. The realization that we are different has saved many marriages.

    • JeanaMiller

      Emmerson Eggerichs’ book and study “Love and Respect” is similarly helpful!

      Luke 12:34 <

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      That is, indeed, a great book, John. In fact, it is one of my top two. The other one is Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs.

  • http://geoffreywebb.wordpress.com/ Geoff Webb

    I had a mentor in college who pointed out that loving your wife makes her beautiful. He referenced the difference in his wife and her sisters (same genes, very different relationships). I’ve found it’s totally true.

    Sarah is amazing at speaking well of me in public—it’s so encouraging; one of the many things I continue to learn from my bride (who, by the way, I got to marry 5 years ago today!)

    • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

      Congratulations on 5 years!

      Great words, “loving your wife makes her beautiful”. I haven’t heard it exactly that way…I will have to use this.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Congratulations on your anniversary!

  • Cassie Hansen

    So very true!! I have also found that when all else fails, be silent. If in that moment praising your spouse isn’t possible, failing to harm is just as important. I am thankful to have select friends to listen and help me keep life in perspective when I need it. We don’t bash our husbands, we brain storm on how to be better wives to our awesome men!!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      This is so true. You can’t pull the words back in once they leave your mouth. I have regretted many things I have said through the years, but I can think of very few times I have regretted NOT saying something. Thanks!

  • Mary

    This is wonderful, Mike. And I love seeing it with my own eyes. The way you are together, and the way you speak of one another when you’re apart is an inspiration. It’s obvious how you love Gail as Christ loves the Church. Just like Jesus taught. That’s why following you as a leader is very easy for me. And everybody knows it. Thanks for taking this stand and writing about it.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Mary. You are a huge inspiration to me in how you talk about your friends and co-workers.

  • http://twitter.com/webbadventuress Sarah Webb

    Affirmation in public certainly does magnify the compliment. That being said, it is also tremendously important that we thank and encourage our spouses regularly at home. I know it means the world to Geoff when I thank him for things like taking care of our family, going to work every day to provide for us, and being a wonderful dad. Sometimes the day to day gets so crazy that I forget how much he does for me – that he makes it possible for me to be a stay at home mom in a city where that is a rarity.

  • Jeana Miller

    Just last night, my husband complimented me, saying that I was “efficient.” Him using that particular word to describe me has invigorated me! I was SO charged, telling him that he had never complimented me in that way before. [We have been together for over thirty years!] TODAY, I awoke thinking about being Efficient!

    I have struggled with a clutter problem for many years, and today I have new hope to tackle it– one corner at a time– because of one simple compliment! My husband’s compliment didn’t even have anything to do with clutter; he was expressing gratitude that I saw ahead the need to refill my son’s prescription, when hubby thought we were almost out…

    Jeana Miller <
    Luke 12:34

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I love this. It goes to show you the power of words. I am realizing this more and more the older I get.

  • Mary Graham

    Ooops. I meant to say Mary Graham.

  • Mary Graham

    Ooops. I meant to say Mary Graham.

  • http://twitter.com/rhausler Ray Hausler

    This has been so key in the relationship between me and my wife. Our spouses often see us at our most vulnerable, so their ability to “playfully” joke about our shortcomings can be extremely damaging. It affects the ability to trust one another with our own personal issues.

  • http://twitter.com/rhausler Ray Hausler

    This has been so key in the relationship between me and my wife. Our spouses often see us at our most vulnerable, so their ability to “playfully” joke about our shortcomings can be extremely damaging. It affects the ability to trust one another with our own personal issues.

  • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

    As I read the post and the following discussions, it seems to remind me of one simple phrase:


  • http://www.facebook.com/itsjoanne Joanne Sher

    Obviously, this is important for everyone – not just leaders – but I can see how it would be much more so for those in leadership. Great post, Michael.

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  • http://refreshmentrefuge.blogspot.com Gina Burgess

    Such wise words!

    The question always pops into my mind, “If that leader cheats on his wife, then how can I trust him?”

  • http://www.johngallagherblog.com John Gallagher


    Thank you for sharing this. It is so important when you are with your spouse, and AS IMPORTANT to speak well when they are NOT around as well. That touches on your 4 & 5 above.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I couldn’t agree more.

  • http://candelierious.blogspot.com Lis

    I don’t have an answer to your question, but this is a great post–a wonderful reminder.

  • http://www.jdeddins.com JD Eddins

    Thanks for sharing this today. I couldn’t agree more with your assessment of speaking highly of spouse. We truly need to follow the Philippians 4:8 principle and speak only what is “true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise.”
    How different would all of our relationships be if we practiced this regularly.

  • Ex Rev

    I’m a former pastor and I lived by these principles for my 9.5 year marriage that is now in the final stages of divorce. While I mostly agree with what you have to say, and while I still haven’t gone there, there has to be a time and a place where more public honesty prevails, otherwise you’re just bolstering a facade.

    In my case, there was five rounds of counseling with four different counselors along with more books and seminars than you can imagine, public and private affirmation galore, and no matter what I did, no matter how I asked, I couldn’t get her to respond with any meaningful expression of love for me … not a mid-day text, not a card, not her looking into my eyes and saying that she was proud of me. Even after saying, “I’m lonely, I’m hurting, and I’m tempted, would you please do something to let me know you care.”

    And after 8.5 years of loneliness and trying to remedy the situation, my public praise and encouragement only made me look like more of a jerk when I did fall (I was arrested in a police prostitution sting), and people couldn’t understand how I could possibly want something other than the woman they’d heard me laud for years.

    Now she gets to bask in the pity of having been married to such a jerk while I hide in the shadows trying to pick up the pieces of my life.

    I don’t know how you say, “She’s great but life with her is miserable.” but just caution your readers in really ugly relationships that they could be setting themselves us for a serious fall.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I am so sorry. Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet. Marriage is a partnership. While one party can usually influence the other and take the initiative, there are some cases where even that is not enough.

  • Babyblue22309

    My fiances’ words are disrespectful when angry& also sometimes when he is kidding.its been 3yrs & I feel beat down,I tell him,I mentioned last night that I’m not myself & he responded with “you’ve been saying that for 2yrs”. You know,I hv been I thought to myself. He has got better,its just tiring. His 12yr marriage before me-that’s how they communicated. Thanx for the post,I really need to understand how if u truly love the person how o how can u speak to them n such a rudely manner…

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      It won’t get better after marriage. I always tell people who are dating or engaged, “Right now, they are on their best behavior. Essentially, they are selling. This is why it is so important to pay attention to this stuff when you are courting. The only thing worse than being single is being married to the wrong person.

  • Christian M.

    This seems a little backward. The first couple didn’t divorce because they disparaged each other in public. They disparaged each other in public because there were already problems in private. Disparaging was merely a symptom of the greater sickness. You cannot cure illness by merely treating the symptoms alone, though that is part of the whole. It’s also likely that the man from the second couple spoke highly of his wife in public because their marriage was solid, not the other way around.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I don’t think it is either/or. Obviously, it takes both to create a healthy marriage.

  • http://www.kathink.blogspot.com Kathleen T. Jaeger

    Thanks for the encouragement in this post.

  • linds

    Having parent’s that praise one another in front of their children is a HUGE impact!! I know my parent’s never said anything good about one another and that affects what you think of them for the rest of your life.
    I struggle with this because I saw it everyday and it affects how I speak to my husband. I hate that I let the devil convince me that it’s okay to speak down or with discontent to the man I love.

  • http://twitter.com/caferebee Chris Ferebee

    Your last reason seems significant. I’d like to see you expound more on the married leader. I’ve never connected how a leader treats a spouse as an issue of trust with that leader’s team, but instantly resonated. Great insight.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Chris. I will give that some more thought.

  • TNeal

    In answer to your question, I think of my father and mother. My mother was wheelchair bound for the last few years of her life and needed a lot of special attention. My father offered that special attention and I never heard him say anything disparaging toward her or her situation. He modeled a gracious servant and a loving husband–a great legacy for us children.

    I’ve become much better at caring for my wife when she’s had the flu or other short illness thanks to my father’s example and my own growing up. My wife’s been great in that department all along.

  • Daniel

    Great post Mike! I am in total agreement with you on this and have seen it play out in my own life. I so incredibly grateful for my bride of 23 years who has practiced this without exception. Last night we attended the 90th Birthday party of Truett Cathy, founder of Chick-Fil-A. He gave thanks to his bride of more than 60 years which he does constantly. I am sure that his success at home has positily impacted his success in business.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      That is a great testimony, Daniel.

  • TNeal

    When you write about leaders who tear down their spouses, I’m saddened but not surprised. I went to a Christian university where the president’s son went through a divorce while I was a student there. As a single twenty something, like many of the students there, I thought, “If [blank] can’t make it, how can anyone?”

    I’m glad to say God blessed me with a wonderful life partner. She’s brilliant, funny, and adores me. The latter amazes me more days than not.

  • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

    So true! Our words have such a lasting impact on our kids. Even the little things that we don’t think are a big deal can make a huge difference to little ears that look up to us.

  • Rsr777

    Michael…great article for couples. My beautiful husband is now deceased but in our 40 years together in full-time ministry…no one ever doubted our love for each other. In fact that is a part of our legacy even to this day. These are powerful and life-changing words of wisdom. I hope it is being read by millions…I will help spread this word by posting some of your remarks on FB.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks so much for your kind words—and for sharing the message.

  • displacedcowboy

    Absolutely true! My wife is my life partner, my greatest gift, my biggest fan, and I am the same to her. I cannot imagine saying anything that would make her look bad to others. Why do so many think ridicule and belittling is ok, especially to their spouse?

  • Anonymous

    Great post!! Apparenlty i really need marriage advice, since this is the second thing to {hit} me between the eyes in the last 2 days. Thanks for being a Holy Spirit nudge today…*Blessings*

  • http://katieax.blogspot.com/ Katie Ax

    I’m not married yet but I have noticed affirmation makes a huge difference in any relationship. My ministry team has the unwritten rule to “Lift each other up in affirmation as often if not more often than we tear is other down with jokes.” It rarely happens, but it’s a great goal! While sassing and mockery can be a love language, it is not a primary love language for anyone other than the speaker.


  • http://twitter.com/JonathanAJones Jonathan Jones

    Good words. My wife (Maria) and I have held firmly to this–in public and with our four children. We’ll be celebrating 20 years this July.

    It always amazes us how spouses take advantage of a public venue to wound each other.

    Your post reminded me of M. Gladwell’s chapter in Blink about John Gottman’s research on contempt and divorce.

  • Anonymous

    Excellent! I’ve been married for 13 years in July, and we’re still pretty young (each in our mid 30’s). We have learned, and are still growing in this area of affirmation. Absolutely crucial to any healthy marriage. We’re working on being empathetic to each other in all things. We’ve noticed that when we offer empathy (not sympathy) – we are truly putting ourselves in the others shoes. It’s really the golden rule in action…

  • http://allyugadawg.tumblr.com/ allyugadawg

    I’m a new reader & it looks like this is the perfect day to stop by. What a great post! I loved this line in particular: “Your marriage is a powerful visual of how you treat the people you value the most. ” That’s so true. Those that have made a lasting impact in my life, (whether through church, work, or friendships) have all cultivated loving relationships.

  • http://passionsforthesoul.typepad.com/vicki Vicki Small

    I am an entirely different kind of wife in my present marriage of 22 years than I was in my first. I deeply regret the lack of respect that I felt toward and expressed to my first husband, as well as the things I said about him to friends.

    My present husband and I have made it a practice since Day 1 to affirm each other, privately and in public. Even so, because I had so much to learn, it was sometimes rough going, in the first few years. But one day, after he had worked out some new programming for autocad drafters in his office, he sighed that he hoped he could be a hero, at work. The reason for the sigh was that his frequent excitement over new programming routines led him to expect the same excitement in those who would use them–a hope that was rarely fulfilled.

    So on this particular morning, I felt sad for him and offered, tentatively, “Well, if it helps, any, you are always my hero”–which was and is true. Wow. His eyes softened, his spine straightened, and he assured me it did help.

    Now, I am so sensitive to things I hear from other couples–a wife jokingly referring to her husband as her “child” or “one of the children”; a husband who refers to his wife as his “ball and chain”; such comments bring out a strong urge to head-slap the speaker.

    Granted, my husband is so incredibly smart, talented, creative, romantic, loving and affirming that I would be hard-pressed to find some reason to disparage him. Not everyone is so fortunate. :-)

    Oh–I need to plug Dr. Laura Schlesinger’s book, The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands. She had requested letters from husbands about what they needed from their women, and so many of the excerpts she shared in the book brought tears to my eyes. Dr. Laura does not profess to be a Christian, but she often nails callers who do on their unChrist-like attitudes and behavior, and this particular book is pretty much in-line with scripture.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Beautiful. Thanks for sharing from your own life.

  • Rebecca Eaton

    Completely agree, and Facebook is the same way. When people trash their spouses on Facebook, it always blows my mind. Either they don’t realize it’s a public forum or don’t care. If my husband and i have a disagreement, the last thing I would do is text and call everyone I’ve ever known to let them know about our disagreement. Yet Facebook makes that really easy. I had a friend recently who posted a status that said, “Very unhappily married,” and I quickly de-friended him. I know my husband has too much respect for me to ever post something like that, and I’d like to keep it that way. So I’m fanatic about ensuring everything I say about him on Facebook or anywhere in public is only the best.
    Thanks for speaking out, as always.

  • Michael Fletcher

    I work in a bicycle shop and I am constantly helping young, healthy, beautiful women find the correct equipment and bicycle fit — do you know how difficult it is to fit a woman on a bicycle who is wearing a loose shirt and tights pants? You truly need to guard you heart, mind, and eyes at all times.

    Anyhow, I give this introduction because I will often speak highly of my wife (she races bicycles and she is a personal trainer) to these very ladies and my co-workers. It builds up my wife, it reminds me how wonderful she is, it has often created good couple friendships, it makes the ladies feel less stressed out because they realize I am in love with my wife, and it is the gospel being presented to my co-workers.

    We have been married for 5 years and it still takes us 20 seconds to say “good-bye” when we get off the phone. I am still twitterpated with my wife; she is lovely. Thank you for the post, Michael.

  • Stephanie


    Thank you for putting this very important truth into words. My husband and I have been happily married for nearly 27 years. This is something that we have practiced as a way of life from the very beginning. It is life changing; marriage changing.

  • http://twitter.com/JeffHolton Jeffrey Holton

    Timely post. This *can* backfire, and requires you to know your spouse’s personality well. I was reminded of this in a hard lesson yesterday when I gave my wife some public praise that she did not want. She tends to be very private by nature and considered what I said to be embarrassing and superficial. I am not complaining: It was a difficult and important lesson for me, as I tend to want to shout to the world how awesome I think she is, and why, and I’m often silenced from the opportunity. Respect trumps satisfying our own need to impress everyone with how good a choice we made in selecting a spouse.

    I want to echo some of the other comments about those of us who observe your relationship from afar. Your influence of genuine, compassionate love is obvious by observing the reflections of it in your children, son in law, employees, neighbors, and friends.

    Gail’s comments throughout this post’s resulting conversation have also brought me comfort. If the Hyatt’s have a marriage that’s a model to follow, the fact that they admit that it’s not perfect actually gives the rest of us MORE hope. In many cases (probably *most* cases), people are giving up on their marital relationships too easily. Knowing that you can achieve something so lovely, beautiful, and celebratory in the midst of imperfection is a great, great motivator and relief.

    I’m looking forward to Michael’s next book “I Love My Wife.”

    And yeah, I’m kinda serious. Biography? Psychology? Christian marriage guidance? Gratuitous mushy self-indulgent public praise for the awesomeness that he thinks his wife is?

    Whatever; it’ll sell.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      This is a good reminder, Jeff. We have to make sure the public praising of our spouse is not about us. We have to love them in a way that is meaningful to THEM.

      I don’t know about a book, but Gail and I are about to team-teach a class on marriage at our church.

  • http://twitter.com/ThatGuyKC K.C. Pro

    I just wrote about how men need to talk to their wives yesterday! http://wp.me/p1fZBZ-1k

    Thank you for sharing insight into the importance of affirming one another with our words, especially in public.

  • http://theartistoflife.com Kelly

    This post reminds me of a moment a year or so ago. It was after church, and I was standing with a group of my friends. I began praising my husband for something, I don’t know what… He was not in the group at the time. The husband of my dear friend was there and had a sad look on his face and said, “I wish my wife talked about me like that.”

    Their marriage ended after 3 short years. I firmly believe that what you’ve written here is true, with or without the added benefit of helping with leadership.

  • Sasha

    Thank you so much for this post, much needed, my husband an I love you guys! My husband is pretty good at this I must say but the reinforcement for me is great confirmation.

    Gail, thank you so much for your reply. I am a pastor’s wife (newlywed), we are planting a church, opeining service is April 3rd, however I have some of the same fears you shared in your reply. Not very open about those feeling because I thought that I shouldn’t feel that way, but it’s very true! Thank you, at least I know that I’m not the only one that feels or has felt this way!

  • Dana

    How do we adjudicate the tension between being honest and using discretion? For example, I know leaders who publicly expressed weaknesses in their marriage to a couple, including an honest assessment of their spouse. As a result, it improved the relationship of the couple, helped them see the leaders struggle, and increased their respect for the leader. But, I agree that we need to speak highly of our spouse. What say you?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I personally can’t image a situation in which I would express a weakness my wife has to anyone other than her, unless it was within the closed and confidential confines of a pastor, therapist, or mentor. I do think it is helpful to express my own weaknesses publicly or how we are different (not good or bad). Thanks.

      • Dana

        I agree with you. My wife and I were surprised when the couple shared this with us. Thanks for an important reminder that invigorates and makes marriage last. Best!

  • Brasscastlearts

    Thank you for this valuable post. We do need to stop sometimes and be aware of our language, how we use it, and the actual words we employ. They often speak to much more than their surface meaning. The message of your post today was brought home to me a number of years ago, when a colleague at work spoke to me. He was newly married, while I had been married about 15 years at that time. As it happened, my husband was working for the same company, and through the window, I could see him arrive back at the office after his day in the field. Sometimes I would note quietly, but out loud, “Oh, here comes Phillip now.” My colleague noted to me that he noticed the light in my eyes when I noticed my husband’s arrival from the field. He noted the love and respect which I accorded to my husband when I was speaking of him, the tone of voice, the particular quality of the language. He said, “I hope that my wife looks at me the same way, that she speaks of me the same way.” I will never forget his comments, nor the courage it took him to speak them to me.

  • http://twitter.com/libertycc Taunton Liberty CC

    This is so true of not only leaders but every relationship. I have seen too many couples where one or the other speaks of the other in such a shameful manner. I think of Paul’s letter where he says “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up,”.

    I’m always challenging other guys to treat their wives/girlfriends better than they would want to be treated themselves. Believe me – it works guys!

  • http://joshuamhood.com Josh Hood

    I admire your marriage and your love for Gail, Mike. I believe many solid, faithful years of marriage are the finest accomplishments and truest marks of character in the world.

    I admire someone who’s been married a long time more than any business or professional accomplishment. You can be born into money, but you can’t be born into a great marriage.

    It is proof of patience, hard work, and commitment.

  • http://storiesfor.us Amelia

    This was something our pre-marital counselor spoke of 14 years ago when we were young and getting married. We took it to heart. Beautiful and sound advice. My husband will sadly shake his head after a guy’s night out saying how all of the men spoke poorly of their wives. He looks at me, still with stars in his eyes, and says, “I never have anything but good words to say about you.” I love that about him.

  • http://goinswriter.com Jeff Goins

    This caused me to go out to lunch with my wife in an otherwise-too-busy day. Thanks.

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  • Trooper

    Leadership excels over command by force in obtaining the best performance of your people. I learned from a supervisor years ago, the art of guiding people to a decision I desired while letting them feel that they did it on their own. I’ve been retired for over a quarter century and am still able to help people in that way on Face Book; just a little, “Have you tried it this way?” or “what do you think about doing it this way?” with plenty of, “You surely did that well.” or “I hadn’t thought to do it that way; your way is better..”

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jeffery-Haas/1081182602 Jeffery Haas

    I cannot begin to tell you how much this reverberates through every fiber of my body and soul. I thank God each morning when I wake up and see my sweet wife’s face as she sleeps.
    She has fought and won more battles than anyone I’ve ever known…and then she saved me with her love.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Beautiful! I can tell by the way you talk about her that you have a special relationship.

  • http://twitter.com/FRemy Remy Diederich

    Thought this might help many of you.

  • http://twitter.com/rejoicebeloved Rejoice Beloved

    This is such a significant topic. Here are my four tips that I learned from Pastor Warren Johnson when he visited our church recently: Give compliments to your spouse 4 times daily. This builds up and shows your love.

    One compliment just to spouse alone.
    One compliment to spouse in front of your children.
    One compliment to spouse in front of others.
    One compliment about spouse to others in his absence.

    Another wonderful thing that couples can practice on an anniversary is to jot down all the things they admire about their spouse. You can play with the list by numerating them according to how many years you’ve been married, or the number in which your anniversary lands, etc.

  • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

    My dad always used to say about my mom, “It’s easier to take her with me than to kiss her and leave her at home.” It’s no wonder that they eventually divorced.

    I always thought that was kinda funny till one day I realized the impact it was having on my mother. I try to never make disparaging remarks about my wife, either publicly or privately.

  • Anonymous

    When my husband and I did our premarital the pastor who did it and married us gave us much great advice. One of those was talk about your spouse in a way that others would think he’s perfect.

    I do my best to never cut him down whether he’s with me or not. And just as importantly try to never in my heart or during an argument.

    Thanks for this post!

  • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

    I don’t suffer from hearing problems, but my wife cut tiny slips of paper and wrote one thing she appreciated about me every day for about 5 years. Each day I’d find another one under my pillow, in my sock drawer, on the seat of my car… I still have every one of those notes and get them out and read them often.

    • http://www.facebook.com/bruce.beck Bruce Von Beck

      Jeff, that is an incredible gift from your wife! What an encouragement it must be to re-read them! 

      Your post reminded me of my sister who passed away in 2008 after a brief battle with cancer. She was a consistent encourager of family, friends, and work colleagues. She had a post card ministry for shut-ins and the elderly at our church.  For many years, she would send out cards each week to a group of 15-20 people. She would choose the graphics and then add a comment or share something from her life. After she had passed, one of her post-card recipients asked my family if we would like the cards that my sister had sent to her. We received a huge stack of cards carefully secured with a big rubber band.  This lady had kept the cards in her dressing bureau. From time to time, she would take them out and re-read them.  Just like you are blessed with your wife.

      • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

        Bruce, that’s an incredible story!  Thanks for sharing.

        And, yes, I do pull them out frequently and re-read them.  It boosts my day to new heights.

  • http://e-devotional.blogspot.com MelissaMiller

    This is a great article, both my husband and I enjoyed it and shared it on our FB’s and twitters. We both have noticed encouragement will go alot further than critisism so we build our marraige (and parenting) upon encouragement. We know a lot of couples, however, who really struggle with this. Hopefully sharing this article will help them see a door they have potentially left open to the enemy!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for sharing this!

  • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

    I love Harley’s stuff. That book is a standard wedding gift my wife and I give to every couple we know as they get married.

  • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman


  • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

    I’m getting the same picture, Steven.

  • http://www.transformationalleadershiphq.com Mighty

    I am a newly married guy and these are great advice Michael. I guess I better watch for any snide remarks in public. :)

  • http://www.communicatecreativity.com Rebecca Burgener

    This is yet another lesson I wish I had learned before marriage. Thankfully, my man is the wonderful type that truly took his vows seriously, even when his wife tore him down thoughtlessly.

    I would like to add something else. If you are in the habit of bashing your spouse, there will be those that love you that will never forgive your spouse for things you’ve long forgotten. As so many others have said, words are powerful.

  • http://dustn.me Dustin W. Stout

    Great post Michael. Thank you so much for writing it!

  • Kflotho

    My grandparents raised me. Through the years I witnessed first hand the love they shared for God, family, friends, and one another. I lost both shortly after they would have enjoyed over 60 years of marriage. Their life story and love is a powerful witness and testimony that I think of and am guided by to this day.

  • Anonymous

    Something I’ve been trying to get better at over the past few years. It takes practice to reverse bad habits – but it can be done. Thank you for the encouraging reminder.

  • Anonymous

    I’m relatively newly married for an almost-50-year old. (Just over four years, first marriage for both.) However, this rings true to me. There’s nothing surprising about what you wrote but I’m human and it’s the obvious things that are often both critically important and *so* easy to overlook. Maybe that’s why so many Facebook types liked this. (I’m not on Facebook, or I’d probably be one of them.)

  • http://cfpagels.blogspot.com Carrie Pagels

    Very true. Mutual respect and wanting the best for each other should show in what you say. I was at a Chesapeake Bay Writers luncheon recently where a couple married fifty plus years was just adorable like that – loving and complimentary of each other. After twenty three years of marriage to a wonderful husband, I sure hope I can easily find nice things to say about him, but as you point out that is not always the case, and often there are consequences.

    • Carrie Pagels

      What I was trying to say was, that couples who chose not to validate and uplift each other will face the consequences of such a bad choice.

  • Roger haynie

    I could not agree with you more. In the workplace I am amazed at how often I hear people bashing their spouse. I listen and wonder how I would feel if I knew my wife was talking like that about me. It is as if these social conversations are some form of counseling for them. The chance to share and see if others feel the same way. And then what I see is the group mentality clicks in. They start affirming each other in this criticism and judgment of their spouses. Not a good environment. If you find yourself in that kind of circle, run from it.

  • Anonymous

    Great lesson. I’ll use some of this material in the marriage weekend I’m leading next month.

  • http://www.joyceharback.com Harback

    I listened in a large public meeting to a prominent “family ministry” leader tell a story about his wife and admit that she hated when he told it, “but it’s funny so I’m going to tell it anyway.” I have not listened to him or supported his organization since. His actions were opposite of what his organization teaches others.

    Since I started expressing gratitude for my spouse publicly, while privately emphasizing the gifts he brings to the marriage instead of complaining about his areas of weakness, my own attitude has exponentially improved.

  • Arend_NL

    Thanks, great blogpost. In our family we are blessed with 4 children. Although we are having great times with all, at Sunday-evenings all the kids go to their rooms at 7 PM. They don’t have to go to sleep immediately (when you are 15 yo you don’t want to!), but they can go reading, playing games or whatever. These Sunday-evenings are for the 2 of us, my wife and me. We can talk/laugh/watch a movie together, have a meal, read the bible and pray together. It’s a great blessing to do this and I can recommend it to all couples!
    Thanks again for your blog, I like it very much and inspires.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    It is important!

    When I don’t do it, I get hit over the head with a frying pan.

  • http://twitter.com/promobrain Mike Freestone

    I grew up in a house where this was taking place (more on one side than both) and I participated in ‘teasing’ in my marriage in the beginning of the relationship. My wife made it clear that it was not enjoyable to be on the receiving end of said comments and it was stopped immediately. It was a defining moment and praising the spouse is the model we both use and it has been awesome for our family and especially helpful in modeling to our children.

  • Bruski320

    How much did you make on the Y2K bullshit?

  • David Adeola

    This is beautiful! I do it but will do it even more now with this encouraging article! Thank you!

  • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com @kylereed

    Thanks for sharing this, I always need to be reminded of this. Even though I am not married I think this habit starts early with family and friends.

    I still remember Rob Bell talking about this in Sex God. He made it a point to say that if you are using your wife as a punch line or using her to make a cheap joke you are doing devastating things to your marriage. I find myself doing this at times with my family and friends. It is easy to use them as a chance to get a cheap laugh, but instead are doing damage that is not worth the laugh.

  • MMSC

    I believe this is true. Recently my husband verbally degraded me in public, in front of friends. He then kept apolgizing and laughing about it. I told him I did not believe his apology and that he needs to treat me with respect. He has a smartie, I know it all and I don’t have to listen to you type of attitude that I am praying will change. He is a Christian, please pray for him. Thanks!!

  • http://alexspeaks.com Alex Humphrey

    Absolutely fantastic, Michael.

    I am getting married in 5 weeks (as of today) and I love searching for deep advice like this. I will remind myself constantly to promote and love her. She is not a “ball and chain”, she is a gift from God. She builds me up and I build her up.

    It is my duty to serve, respect, and honor her.

    Thank you for this reminder, Michael. Some days are much harder than others.

  • http://www.melmenzies.co.uk Mel Menzies

    I survived fifteen years in an adultous marriage, and believe me there’s nothing affirming in knowing that your husband’s having affairs. I thought that if I forgave him enough and loved him enough he’d change – but he didn’t. Sadly, he died a terrible death of drink-related disease.

    My second husband is my best friend and I am his. Affirming one another is a natural delight in our lives. I’m so grateful that I’ve had this opportunity to experience marriage as it should be.

  • http://larryhehn.com Larry Hehn

    So true, Michael. We tend to gravitate toward affirmation. When we aren’t getting it at home, we can easily begin to seek it elsewhere.

  • http://www.christaallan.com Christa Allan

    I read a Tweet a few days ago,”Not all men are annoying, some are dead.” I thought of the men in my life…my father, who is dead, my husband, my sons, my brother…and I didn’t think that statement was funny.At all. In fact, it made me sad.

    How we speak to one another is important to our children. I wouldn’t them to grow up believing it’s acceptable to verbally bash or to be bashed by a spouse.

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  • http://twitter.com/dbonleadership Dan

    Great point. One of the best things leaders can do is to maintain a positive marriage. Speaking affirmation toward your spouse is key.

  • http://twitter.com/bethanyplanton Bethany Planton

    Thank you so much for this post! My fiance and I have made an effort to start doing this, and it makes such a huge difference.

  • Heather Moore

    Hi Michael! Thanks for the wonderful post. It inspired me to write a post of my own specifically geared for Pastor’s Wives. PW’s have a unique opportunity to publicly and privately encourage their husbands!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thank you for doing that. Pastors’ wives play a strategic role in the Kingdom!

  • http://www.thehahnhuntinglodge.com Nikole Hahn

    Sadly, my husband hears that all the time–people putting down their spouses. I grew up with that and I vowed I would never have a marriage that would be unpleasant. So we have kept a promise going on eight years now that we would remember to do the little things for each other–notes around the house, gifts (even small ones) tokens of appreciation, loving words, teasing, acting like children by being goofy, etc.

  • aj

    No doubt that affirmation is a great investment in a marriage. But, in the example above about the couple who lost their ministry, family, etc., I would imagine that the negative words in public were a sign that things were not okay at home. That doesn’t necessarily mean it is what caused everything to fall apart. Some spouses live a certain way in public that misrepresents what is going on at home. They live double lives. Even further, the other spouse is sometimes put in the position of validating their unauthentic life……that can’t be healthy.

  • http://www.inteliwise.com VirtualAgent

    I think just leading an affirming life creates a ripple effect of positivity in all the aspects of a person’s life. By being an all around genuine person, will naturally help a leader speak well of their significant other, and various people surrounding him.

  • Salmon

    1. You get more of what you affirm.

    This works well when parenting children. Take bratty behavior, for instance. When you speak to the brat in ways that express a favorable opinion of them (“You are so well behaved” “You are such a sweet person” “You are such a quiet child” “You are so grown up for your age”) and also treat them in ways consistent with the favorable idea of them they will conform to the favorable behavior. If they are exposed to this idea of them enough in a variety of contexts from the people important to them they will begin to believe it is true and not just go along with the compliment to gain any immediate perks.

    People do not realize that they affirm bad behavior more often than good. Good behavior is enjoyed. People are caught up in its intoxication. Bad behavior often elicits bad behavior from everyone around. There is usually something intended to make an impact with bad behavior. This applies to the offender and those attempting to stop them. Each wants the other to notice and remember something bad.

    Influencing personality is easier in a child than an adult. Unlike adults, a child is in development. On the other hand, behavior can be influenced in people of all ages. Almost everyone responds to warmth and respect.

    You do have to believe the quality/characteristic is within the other person and you have to believe its counterpart is within you though. No one lives in a vacuum. The people close to us are reacting to our existence to some degree at all times, even when we are taken for granted. This whole affirmation concept is probably more complicated and requires some thinking through.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I agree this generally works. I see it in marriage, parenting, work—almost every area of human interaction. I also agree that it is worthy of more study.

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  • Drshirleysam

    like it.very true.

  • Amy

    I loved this article. I think it’s so true. My husband and I have been married for almost 4 years and I believe one of the things that has kept us so stong is not only speaking positve words to each other but also to others around us. I hear so many of my friends putting down their husbands behind their back and never want to speak negatively like that. I often rave about my hubby among friends, on facebook, etc. and there has been times it’s actually got back to him and made him feel really good. My husband does the same thing. Aparently he told his whole mens accountability group how blessed he feels to have me as his wife. That makes me feel really special. So not only speaking words of encouragement face to face but also to others when your spouse isn’t around is a great way of building each other up!

  • Duke Dillard

    Having a great spouse sure makes it easier. I thank the Lord for mine every day.
    thanks for encouraging us in this direction,

  • Dave Meyers

    Thanks so much Michael for this excellent post. I use many of your posts and pass them on to many other business, ministry leaders and friends. I also am using your great example of “Creating Your Life Plan and am halfway through the Coaching book too. thanks…

  • http://twitter.com/xtemplarx Todd Taylor

    Great article, Michael, and so true.

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  • Joanne-kraft

    Mr. Hyatt, I’m reading your blog at 3:50am in a police department. The agency I work for in California oversees a quiet, affluent community. (I’m a police dispatcher and writer) My husband stayed up until 3am this morning sending me txt msgs to keep me awake. He leaves my vitamins on the bathroom sink for me each morning, and after almost fourteen years of marriage, he still believes I’m beautiful.

    When our family travelled to Nashville last fall, he made sure to stop off at your publishing house so I could get a picture by your Thomas Nelson sign. My first book is being published this June by Beacon Hill, still, he knows my dreams and encourages me to fulfill them.

    There is no greater gift I’ve been given than the man I call my husband.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thank you for that testimony. Your husband is indeed a gift!

    • http://twitter.com/BobEwoldt Robert Ewoldt

      Thanks, Joanne. This is the kind of husband that I strive to be. It’s good to hear that there are guys who are doing it out there (and gives me an example to strive for).

  • Anonymous

    This is so true! My husband is a pastor and, as his wife, I feel like I know him better than anyone else. I can honestly say he is the most amazing man I’ve ever known; he LIVES what he preaches and believes.

    I have never heard my husband speak offensively of me or toward me. Because of this, it’s so easy for me to trust him, trust his judgment, and, quite honestly, take his correction when necessary.

    I know many pastor’s wives who struggle to support their husband in ministry, even becoming bitter at God, their man, and the church. I won’t pretend that ministry is a piece of cake, but following a man who is crazy about you isn’t difficult. :)

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  • M_nikolopoulos

    My husband & I encountered a dinner date very similar. The wife complained about their car, the PDA they didn’t show, how happy we were. It made us feel like we were doing something wrong because of our happiness. We wed last April, but it feels like I’ve known him my entire life. I couldn’t imagine ever speaking so low about him, ever. And if we have an issue in our relationship, we tell each other, not everybody else. Thank you for this wonderful post.

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  • Virginia Haynes

    My husband/pastor died in 2002; after that I read about the Proverbs 31 Woman: Verse 12: “She bring him [husband] good, not harm, all the days of her life.” (HER life, my life) It was like God saying to me, “You continue to speak well of him; do not share anything negative about him with anyone; keep on lifting him up, all the days of your life.”

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  • Anonymous

    Great post. I like to hear people in leadership talking about how important it is to work on your marriage and make it a priority. It’s a practical discussion that impacts our lives in such big ways.

  • http://twitter.com/lindaparker Linda Parker

    When you bash your spouse, what are you really communicating to yourself and others about you? That you are not worthy of a loving respectful partner? That you were unable to choose a life partner who is a person of quality? Or that you simply do not respect the third entity in every marriage…the marriage itself?
    Excellent post. Thank you for reiterating a very important, and often overlooked, message.

  • Usielcsouza

    It’s not really new to me, but was very important to read it right now. I’m living a very important moment of my life. I’m in transition, considering the invitation of a church. I really want to be a healthy leader and, answering the question, in fact, I had no good examples. Starting with my father and continuing if many of leaders that I had. They were important in other areas of my life, but not in my marriage relationship.

  • http://twitter.com/BobEwoldt Robert Ewoldt

    Michael, thanks for this word… I don’t remember reading this post, but one of your commenters on another post put me onto it. This is something I need to work on… affirming my wife.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      It is the best investment you will ever make!

      • http://twitter.com/BobEwoldt Robert Ewoldt

        I read something interesting related to this on a blog called “The Conversation” (from Harvard Business – http://bit.ly/f4smZh). Basically, the author did a study of the differences between the good leaders and the great leaders, and both said similar things in answers to questions, but the great leaders went further than the good leaders; the great leaders said things about their wives like, “My wife taught me everything I know about interpersonal relationships,” or “I never make an important business decision without consulting her.”

  • http://www.irunurun.com Travis Dommert

    Michael – Thank you for sharing your Top 10. I so enjoyed this post, and missed it the first time around.

    This is a great example of “loving your spouse”. Some of the best advice I’ve heard on marriage was to treat “love” as a verb. People don’t fall “out of love”, they stop “loving” each other…with serious consequences. Loving your spouse is a key action in personal leadership, and it must be practices regularly. The next key is to understand how your spouse *feels* love…enter the 5 love languages.

    Some other great advice I got was from CEO Jeff O’Brien: “Happy wife, happy life!”

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Jeff’s advice is spot-on!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Monica-Fox/569491416 Monica Fox

    Thank you for this article. What a sad story of the young pastor and his wife! It sounds like the church ministry was more of a priority than the marriage.  Our priorities should be God, family (marriage), and then, the church ministry. When we put down our spouse in front of others, we don’t act loving or respectful toward them.  It isn’t Biblical (Ephesians), and it is a sign that something is going wrong. I have witnessed a couple doing this and it made me so uncomfortable and sad! The wife was being critical and she completely tore him down in front of everyone. I think the tongue can be the most sinful body part. God help us with the words we speak.

  • http://twitter.com/Francis_GMI Global Media Insight

     Thank you very much Michael. The 5 point reasons for Speaking Well of Your Spouse is a GREAT read for anyone desiring an joyful marriage. My mentor in Dubai, Pastor Ashish Thomas does it well.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/bruce.beck Bruce Von Beck

    As i read this post, I thought this is great advice for singles also.  For example, “Affirmation shifts your attitude toward your spouse.” becomes – Affirmation shifts your attitude towards your family, friends and colleagues.  And “Affirmation helps strengthen your spouse’s best qualities.” becomes – Affirmation helps strengthen the best qualities of your family, friends, and colleagues.  A great post that can be applied to build up those around us!

  • http://www.adonislenzy.com Adonis Lenzy

    Great wisdom for all marriages.  Definitely saving this post.  Thanks for sharing Michael.

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  • @DWDevelopments

    This is a powerful article, I would also link this type of action to that of “The Five Love Languages”.  Its one of those books that I usually give to a new bride and groom when taking to them about communication, which is key

  • Johnandraquell

    I have seen this with my friend’s husband.  He is constantly telling people “I married up”  meaning, he thinks she’s so wonderful that he’s unworthy of her.  (they’re both equally great)  But this assurance leaves her to be free and confident in who she is- which so happens to be a godly wife and mother that her beauty just glows.

  • will

    What do you think of a husband who praised his wife publicly, but continued to disrespect his wife secretly?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I think this is sad. Integrity is integrating our public selves with our private ones.

  • Anonymous

    at home brings peace to work place or whatever u do. in order to keep the
    peace alive words matter the most and to understand what words made the other
    half feel better and brings closeness you sometimes need support of others
    and in today’s world no one seems to be ready to give true guidance to others
    out of jealousy. So StealthGenie I suppose is the best way to reach your
    partner’s heart.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VWRNGIEE725IZCZM2L2Y4PPGMQ LaShawnda

    I love that you left the church when you saw evidence of the negative nature of the pastor’s relationship with his wife. I’ve left two churches due to the style of leadership – primarily, how the leadership handled or didn’t handle situations that had a very negative impact on members of the congregations. For my decision to leave those churches, “fellows in Christ” have looked at me as something of a “church-hopper.” However, I am of the belief that the leader I am learning from not have any behaviors that are deterrents to my growth.

    This is a great article – useful and practicle in any relationship.


  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dot-Welch/1810651458 Dot Welch

    Patty, what wonderful guidelines!  I once worked with a woman who disparaged her husband at every opportunity.  In fact, there was nothing wrong with her husband’s intelligence or
    competence, but the woman seemed to feel elevated by putting him down.  I wanted to ask her why she married him, if she saw him as such a loser, but I refrained from causing strained relations at work.  What did this say about her, if she chose someone who she thought matched her critical remarks?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dot-Welch/1810651458 Dot Welch

    Patty, what wonderful guidelines!  I once worked with a woman who disparaged her husband at every opportunity.  In fact, there was nothing wrong with her husband’s intelligence or
    competence, but the woman seemed to feel elevated by putting him down.  I wanted to ask her why she married him, if she saw him as such a loser, but I refrained from causing strained relations at work.  What did this say about her, if she chose someone who she thought matched her critical remarks?

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  • Diana L.

    My husband is in church leadership, and we have always tried to speak well of each other.  I believe it models to those part of the church and not – God’s plan for marriage.  We have been told in every congregation we have served that it is so encouraging to see their minister actually enjoy being with their spouse.  What a sad comment on those who have come before.
      Luther himself knew it was important for the clergy’s home to be a model for those in the congregation.  Sure, people know we are not perfect – together or separately -but they also know that with much grace and prayer, we are each other’s biggest fan.
    Eggerich’s book hits it on the head – a wife who respects her husband, and lets the world know that, has a husband who isn’t afraid to let the world know he loves his wife!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alisha-Sullivan-Hickey/100000509026770 Alisha Sullivan-Hickey

    absolutely Great advice …Loved it

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  • Lydia

    How have I seen it play out? I stop listening to people in a mentor/leadership role if I catch wind of them talking down on their spouse. My husband is my best friend. By my choice and by my vow. We work hard at our marriage and are uneasy when we are not in agreement and it causes tension. I cannot take professional or personal advice from people who disrespect their most intimate relationship on earth. Come to think of it, if you can talk poorly about your spouse, you’re pretty much shaking your fist at God and telling Him that His plan for you was wrong. His choice for your spouse was wrong, His choice for your refining fire was wrong, and His choice for your life was wrong. You are so wrapped up in selfishness that you are missing out on some serious opportunities!! Leaders cannot be this blind to not even see an opportunity… let alone a surprise attack from the enemy!

    On the flip side, people who talk up their spouse are great to be around. I want to hear more about them and get to know them. Our senior pastor tells us all the time about his “vanilla pudding” and how there is nothing, not even adultery, that she can do to make him divorce her. This sets a standard of, not necessarily marriage, but a standard of being a spouse. Marriage is the product of what two people manufacture. Stuff will happen, what are you going to do about it. Are you going to shake your fist at God or are you going to see the opportunity to be conformed to Christ and avoid eternity with the enemy?

  • ScottV

    While I appreciate what this post says and I have heard similar before, I feel like I am getting mixed messages related to this subject. I am frequently hearing how men need to “open up” with other men and share more about what’s happening in their lives but I also hear messages like the above. If I can’t speak honestly about my wife with other guys, it seems like I have to leave out a very large and important part of my life. So, which is it? Share or keep it all in?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I believe your words shape your perception of reality. In other words, what you notice and verbalize you will get more of. If you notice and verbalize her faults, you’ll start seeing even more faults. It becomes a negative “death spiral.” This is how the human brain works.
      Plus, you can’t really change your spouse. You can only change you. But it is amazing how the people around begin to change when we change This is called leadership.

    • Lydia

      Maybe it just comes down to who you are sharing it with and in what context? Talking with a trusted friend who will give sound advice vs. the example given in the article of blatant disrespect in public are two different things.

      As a woman, I need to be careful who I share my frustrations with. There are a lot of women my age who will encourage divorce when things get difficult so I have a female mentor who I can freely express frustrations with knowing that a) she understands where I’m coming from but that b) her advice will revolve around the best interest of my marriage as a whole. Sometimes that means she tells me things I don’t want to hear!

      If I were you, I would find someone like that who you can trust and who you know has strong convictions about staying married.

      From a womans point of view, anyway. :)

      • ScottV

        Thank you, Lydia. You seemed to understand my question better than Michael did.

        • Seelydrun

          You’re welcome!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Shelley-Soden-Crocker/1136272579 Shelley Soden Crocker

    I was married before to someone who was very insulting to me and to my family and always treated me as though I were less of a person than him because of my financial, and educational standing.
    He spoke to me roughly,  with put downs, words can really hurt.  As a result I became very self conscience and had a very low self image. I reflected these feelings and actions onto others whom I loved ( acted out) who didn’t deserve it. This left a very lasting impact on me for years to come.
    It wasn’t until I met my present soul-mate ( 18 yrs and counting) that I realized how important respecting one another really is. What it boils down to, simply, is do you RESPECT your spouse? The way you speak to, or about your spouse is all about respect. If you repect one another,  then you will always speak highly of he or she. Love and respct go together along with trust. Without all three your rerlationship is in trouble.

  • Douglas Stewart

    Great post! I think people need to hear more of that. Personally, My wife is my greatest strength. Every chance I get I tell people how much she means to me. When you are passionate about something or someone (hobby, spouse, faith, etc.) you will talk about it.. I love the saying that’s goes, “behind every good man there is a great woman and a very surprised mother-in-law” :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/rushardin Rus Hardin

    Soon after we were married, my wife had noticed that nearly all of her coworkers would come to work and complain about their spouses.  When she told me about this, she asked me that we promise each other not to disparage the other publicly and to discuss it only among ourselves.  We did and it’s been one of the best decisions/commitments we have made.  I’m very thankful she suggested this.

  • http://www.faithvillage.com Amber Dobecka

    Thank you so much for sharing this tidbit of knowledge. My husband and I always talk about how nice it is to be around a couple that clearly displays their adoration of one another. I think we sometimes slip into that mode of lightly making fun of one another – merely to entertain those whom we are around. I think this is fine within certain limits, but it does begin to get a bit tiresome after a while. I know I personally feel extra special when my husband says something nice about me in front of others. Within the last few months, this issue has really been on my heart. This article is only confirmation of that – and very encouraging. :) Thanks, again! 

  • ricklittreal

    This is a great article, thank you. I’ve never understood why spouses, even Christian ones, would discount their spouse in public. It’s not that my wife and I have an absolutely perfect marriage, I just respect and love my wife and want others to view her positively. If we have issues with each other, we work on them together.

  • M. Scott Coffman

    This totally works.  My wife read this article and posted a heartfelt affirmation of me on our pastor’s Facebook page.  All I saw at first was her posting out of context–I didn’t see the article.  I came right home, helped her with dinner and laundry and gave her a back rub–a “free” one!  If this is being manipulated, I think I like it!  :-)

  • http://twitter.com/christophermust christopher battles

    Thank you for this.  Speaking as a single person it applies for friends also.  Setting an example is great.  I wonder the people who do not even know how spouses to speak to one another.  I read in the comments about counseling.  Having gone through some counseling earlier this year for some personal views, I had friends talk about their counseling experiences a bit.  One thing that stuck out to me was for couples to to see a counselor at least once a year for a check up/tuneup.

    K, bye

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  • honey lambert

    I always speak well of my hubby–but he makes it easy for me!  He is a Godly, wonderful man!  Once, I got tired of my son’s baseball coaches wife always talking bad about her husband-inning after inning, game after game.  The other Moms were tired of it too, I could tell.  So one day when she was off on a rant about how her husband won’t do this and that I said, in front of everyone, “hmmmm…..I would have never thought he was so awful.”  She shut right up after that.  I don’t think she realized how it sounded.    I learned a valuable lesson that day, not so much about how I talk about my hubby because like I said, he makes it easy to speak well of him, but I learned that it is important how we speak of anyone in public.  It’s more of a reflection about how big we are on the inside more so than how big the people we are speaking of are.

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      Well said, Honey!

  • Dbriggsis

    I totally agree. I can never fully trust someone who does not speak frequently and positively about the most important person in their life.

  • Urasoemike

    We’ve become known for empowering leadership and have both risen to leadership in the mission we serve with in Asia—partly as a result of affirming each other and those we lead in public. It is a powerful tool in the arsenal of a leader tasked to develop leaders and multiply churches!

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      Working and serving together brings another whole dimension to this topic.   You are right: it’s a powerful tool! 

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  • Bridgit Boeve-Smith

    Amen, Amen and Amen!! :-) 

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  • Keith

    Once again Michael, this is an awesome and in time word.  As I travel I am so surprised at how I hear people respond to their spouse or significant other.  Respect MUST be a two lane highway or at some point we find ourselves going different directions!  Your a blessing Michael, keep it up!!! 

  • Raj Paulus

    The most valuable gift my hubby’s best friend and his wife gave us on their tenth, our fourth, anniversary was a question: “Do you want a mediocre marriage, or a PHENOMENAL marriage?” She and Matt never wanted to settle, and ten years later, they were more in love than ever. With five kids, they made sure to invest in their marriage and left us with the picture of a couple holding hands and their kids on the outside, holding their other hands. They wanted to give their kids the gift of a healthy loving marriage between their parents. From that point on, hubby and I have spent a fair amount of time investing in ours, through PAIRS, Third Option, a CMDA marriage retreat, and reading books on marriage together. We’re fighting for the marriage that surpasses …and by God’s grace, He has blessed us with going on 14 years of the best years of our lives. I love to talk about hubby. But I love to write about him more. In a recent post on my blog, I gave him kudos for being “My Sexy Spring Cleaning Spouse” after a week he spent initiating organizing many areas of our New York home. Read and enjoy at your leisure: http://www.insearchofwaterfalls.com/2012/03/my-sexy-spring-cleaning-spouse.html

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  • sherrinda ketchersid

    This is the one piece of advice my grandmother gave me when I got married. She said the most important thing was to build up my husband in front of others. Never say anything to tear him down. She was  married for over 60 years to a preacher of the gospel and raised an exceptional son who was an elder in several churches (and was a brilliant artist…and was Art Director for Word/Thomas Nelson Publishing for many years…Tom Williams) She was a wise woman who built up everyone around her. She taught me well.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I remember Tom. Awesome guy! Thanks for sharing this.

  • http://twitter.com/cmleejr Clarence M Lee Jr MD

    Great post, I agree 100%. As you speak highly of your spouse you are speaking to the high self you see in them. Sometimes this could even help them to see it for themselves. Its a win/win anyway you look at it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the topic. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/bill.chapman Bill Dad-pop Chapman

    Look at Proverbs 31, again.  It is a man affirming a woman by discussing the affirmation of her in public!  

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  • Ap1cor13

    This is so true!  I pray this for our marriage often!!  May God bless our marriages and ministries in this way!  Thank you for the sweet reminder!! :) 

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  • aspeakinghuman

    As a single guy for many years I’ve listened to couples nit pick at each right before my eyes. It is one of the most uncomfortable things I go through. If they knew how silly they looked might help. I’ve never said anything to these couples. I just look at my watch or ask about “the weather”. But, I’m tempted to say, “Shut up!” sometimes.

  • Tricia

    Excellent post. My husband and I have taken note of this as well, and we are careful – not always perfect, but careful – to affirm one another in public. Also, as you said in #4, I know of a person who is unhappy in their marriage, and they are constantly drawn to those who also have obvious struggles in their own marriages, so it is sad, but very true. Advertising your own struggles in your marriage does make you or your spouse a target for those who are unhappy in their own. Thank you for your post, it is a much needed reminder to many.

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  • Kahaluumauka4

    i think my spouse russell lake should stop talking me down or telling me shut up in public anyplaces!!!!

  • Lyndieb

    I had one boss who never had a negative word to say or made fun of his wife. This was late in my corporate career, and I had grown to expect the opposite from men. It made me admire him, especially knowing he had grown up without a father/husband example in his life. It also allowed me to  trust him in all things. 

  • Sandyl

    This is sooo good!  Affirming your spouse does a couple more things:  it makes your children feel secure and it sets an example for them of how we are to treat our spouses. Our children tend to mirror our behavior.

  • Fred S Wolfe

    My wife of 33 years would say talk is cheap, prove it in bed! I am not downplaying what you say here at all Michael as the 2 go together. Sex is the number one reason for getting married at all. We all loved sex before marriage, as unrighteous as it was, so we need to continue to be sexually active, as righteous as it now is. One can esteem their wife in public all they want, but if they are not initiating it in the bedroom 2 or 3 times a week it is just hot air. Notice I said “initiate.” This is key!

  • Fred S. Wolfe

    Not sure why it said I was not registered. See what it says this time.

  • Barbara McDowell Whitt

    Michael, there is something going on here. My husband and I celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary in June. Shortly after our younger daughter’s 31st birthday in September it came to me that she is my encourager. Then I realized our older daughter is my affirmer. I was literally glancing at my note about that here on my desk, then came back to your post and read your #3 where you used both the words “affirmation” and “encouragement.” Wow … to me, that’s powerful. And by the way, I completely agree with you about the importance of affirmation and encouragement in marriage.  

  • Pastor Sam Auli

    Great article and a topic that I think should be spoken of more often. I have learned and now teach others that marriage is not about getting your needs met but meeting the needs of your spouse. They complete you as you complete them! Thanks for sharing.

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  • Jason Hanson

    My wife is
    fabulous, a complete joy in my life. God gave me exactly what I needed. She is
    my best friend, my confidant; we sure know how to laugh together. Witty,  pretty and fun are just a few of the
    adjectives that come to mind.


    p.s. she is a
    fantastic cook…

  • Happier Here

    I did, he didn’t. By the time I left the 20 year marriage,  I had not heard my name spoken by him in a decade. I had built him up as much as I could–his #1 fan. When I was gone, the affirmations were gone–and the y0ung ladies didn’t think salt and pepper hair over a beer gut was all that wonderful.
    It does take two to make a marriage–and I am slowly but surely repairing the damage  that was done. I hope he finds his way to happiness, as long as it is without me.

    Please keep your marriage alive. This blog is an excellent start.

    • Happier Here

      Actually–giving positive affirmations to EVERYONE–your kids, your boss, your co-workers, the grocery store clerk.  It is a way of life that needs to be cultivated and if more people did–life would be more pleasant.

  • Drinalewis

    Have seen and experienced the positive impact of this with my Bishop and his wife. Although no marriage is perfect, they come across as honestly enjoying the work it takes to make a marriage successful. The impact it has on our congregation is immeasurable. Sets an example for our men and raises the bar of expectation for women seeking to get married.

  • Sarah Israel

    1 Peter 3:7 Honor your wife so that your prayers will not be hindered
    Sarah Israel

    • Fred S. Wolfe

      This is great Sarah; I really love the context of 1 Peter 3.

      • Sarah Israel

        Thank you Fred, Sarah

  • Bluwiggle

    i couldnt agree more. Unfortunately peopke find it hard for one reason or another to let there
    spouse know that they love them and show them the affection.
    My wife and i have a very close , strong , understanding and loving marriage and i am positive
    that it is largely because we show and tell each other that we love them.

  • Gavin Ryan

    Hi Michael,
    Affirmation is very important in life at all levels. This post I enjoyed very much. I am going off to tell my family them just how much I love them!

    Have a fantastic vacation!

  • http://actuallykatie.com/ Katie McAleece

    I am not married, but I have seen for myself how words of affirmation can shape a marriage so greatly. Before my Father passed away, my parents had one of the strongest marriages I’ve ever known of, and one of the reasons it remained so strong is because of how highly they spoke of each other. Really, really, excellent post!

  • bradhuebert

    Public praise can be fake, but public disrespect never is. I want the world to know I adore my wife. 

  • http://eclecticandeccentric.blogspot.com/ Erica

    This is so important for people to remember, especially in a culture where spouse-bashing (especially husband-bashing) seems to be the norm. Women especially need to remember that calling Mom and complaining under the pretense that one needs “advice” won’t help either. If advice is really needed, talk to a counselor, pastor, or priest.

    One more thing: I also make it a point to defend my husband when other people try to criticize him to me. If you say nothing, that is implicit agreement with whoever is criticizing your spouse and just as bad. Let them know you won’t stand for it. Not only does it show how much you respect your spouse, it tends to confuse the criticizer-which can be rather entertaining. ;-)

  • http://www.waynestiles.com/ Wayne Stiles

    When I really began to study the Song of Songs, I noticed the overwhelming attribute of this couple was affirmation—even beyond the honeymoon phase. They model the importance of frequent and sincere affirmation in marriage in spite of their imperfections. In fact, an encouraging, godly attitude becomes the most attractive part of a person—even when physical beauty fades.

  • http://www.mondayisgood.com/ Tom Dixon

    This is great stuff, and has application way beyond marriage – affirming the good, building others up with what we say, and reinforcing progress also works when leading teams , raising kids, or anywhere you are in a leadership position.  Appreciate the reminder that WORDS matter.

  • Keith Spanberger

    GREAT post!!!  It’s sad how disrespect sets in like a disease into relationships and once there, death starts to occur.  All we have to do is read Eph 5 and we can see God’s design for the perfect marriage.  
    Thanks – Keith

  • http://www.harpar.com/ Corporate Trainings

    I cannot help but nod in agreement with you, Michael. I personally have gone through a really similar experience. At the start, it all just seemed humorous but it only becomes more and more spiteful. It somehow diminishes ones credibility as a leader. It would also seem hypocritical of a leader to speak kindly of others and yet so ill of his wife.

  • http://www.shannonmilholland.blogspot.com Shannon Milholland

    It’s easy to speak well of my spouse. I am so incredibly blessed to be his wife! What a privilege!

  • http://twitter.com/Ceronomas steven sarff

    I had heard you mention this post in a podcast. Glad I got a chance to read it. Wonderful lesson and good practical advice.

  • Lisahuey

    We could go one step further and say that we should speak well of all members of our family (and indeed, everyone), especially in their presence.

  • Smacu2

    Wow! So true. Thank you. I was in a marriage where we did that. As our contempt grew for one another our comments became more disrespectful. We are both out going and entertaining people so it always made people laugh, yet our marriage was eroding.

    Thank you for your insights. I will bear them in mind as I embark on a new relationship.

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  • Spiro Kostarellis

    Eph 4:29, 5:4
    Prov 4:29, 26:19
    James 1:26
    Heb 3:13

  • Spiro Kostarellis

    Sorry – correction below
    Prov 21:23, not 4:29 but who knows that might be helpful also.

  • Royy

    While I think this is truely a vital indicator of the health of a marriage for anyone, I hope no one interprets this as merely putting on the show for the sake of leadership points. If the relationship in private has serious cracks, then it will crumble regardless.
    However, this is a great reminder to most of us to speak what we believe and feel.
    Thanks for the reminder.

  • http://lifelessonshopefaithlove.blogspot.com/ Vanessa Tachenko

    This is so true! Blessings abound to those who practice this principle! 

  • A. not real name

    i am experiencing similar problems of this right now as i write this to you. sometimes i feel to pack up and leave my wife. all that she does not give to me she is demanding of me. i must treat her like a queen while she treats me like crap.

  • Lois Ridley

    Yes, I know a couple that has been married 25+ years…it is a delight to hear them talk about each other in a loving manner! they are awesome & real!

  • http://sparkvoice.wordpress.com/ DS

    Great points and very encouraging.

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  • Cislin Williams

    Thanks Michael for writing this post.  Speaking well of one’s spouse is all around the right and decent thing to do, and even more so in ministry.

    I once heard of a situation where a lady constantly spoke negatively about her spouse at the workplace.  Instead of making friends, her co-workers avoided her.  Their conclusion was that if she could do that to someone whom she has decided to spend the rest of her life with, how much more will she do to them.

    Speaking negatively of others is a reflection of one’s character.

    Once again – an excellent post.


  • Medithi

    I love my husband, he’s wonderful and I could go on about how proud he makes me feel. However, I really feel corny saying that in public, and for me it’s like bragging, knowing most of my friends don’t have very good relationships. I joke all the time about everything, it helps me relax, and we joke about our home life all the time, with each other and when there are others around. It helps us take our little insignificant problems less seriously. Humor is an important part of my life. I will pay attention to how we joke, though, trying to detect any problems they might reveal. Thanks.

  • Grvallier

    This is absolutely true! My husband lifts me up in public and in private all the time.
    I do the same to him. Thank you Lord for 43 yrs of marriage!

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      Wow! 43 years is awesome! Congratulations!

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  • Jonathanraber

    I agree. It is easy to find fault and to talk about it. There’s always an audience for gossip. No one is perfect. To praise your spouse will build your relationship, but it also stops gossip dead in it’s tracks.

    If a leader will speak highly of his/her spouse, then those who follow will start to fall into line and do the same. If not, then they will be off in a corner gossiping with someone else.

  • Laura Bennet

    Praising our spouse in public not only builds up our spouse, but it guards our hearts against the temptations to become disappointed, resentful or bitter over a multitude of unimportant issues. It reminds us of the reasons why we love them. Thanks for the great advice!

  • spell caster

    I am so thankful to Dr opingo spell temple! My husband of eight years overnight “decided” on a separation and suddenly felt that we should be separated to see how things work out for us. I immediately knew it was the end of the road for us, lets face it, how many people do you know who get back together after a separation?I don’t know many. Having a marriage break up sucks big time and to be honest it did hurt my ego and played havoc on my self esteem because I didn’t want to go out and have people ask me all the time “ where’s your husband? Haven’t seen you guys in quite some time.”
    I was looking up the internet and I came across all the crappy articles about how to get back with your ex and I was a little turned off… Then I saw a testimony about Dr opingo spell temple,
    Then i contactd them, I immediately ordered for a spell, and to my surprise after four days I suddenly got a call from him. We met up some time soon and he was desperate to get me back! I know this sounds bad but it was really nice for me to see him in such an uncomfortable situation begging for me back!
    So after a few days of him trying to win me back over I allowed it to get to the point where we would flirt with each other like we use to do. We finally had that serious conversation and sat down to talk things over. Thank you Dr opingo  spell temple for your powerful spell to get my man back . It worked out marvelously for me and I would recommend it to all the ladies who want to be back with their men. contact Dr opingo on his Email:alterofcandle@gmail.com


  • Kathleenf

    So true! I think the same goes for books we write. We can reaffirm and encourage good relationships even as we work through conflict.

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  • Papo

    My wife sent this article to me cause I am the guilty one who was talking negatively about our marriage. I am not going to sit here and make up excuses. I need to get myself together  mentally, emotionally and spiritually back on track! I do Love my wife but we both have made poor decisions. Now it’s time for me to be a real husband, man, father and best friend to my wife! Hopefully it’s not oo late because she is my WORLD! I just want things to be like they were before! I miss her not loving me or trusting me like she used to!! I will leave in God’s hands and I hope his word will guide me to a new spiritual reality of happiness, purity and love!!

    • Papo

      Michael Hyatt thank you for your article!

  • http://www.manager-institut.de/ Sarah 187

    Thanks for your terrefic post!
    Your words inspired me a lot. I know how difficult it is to have a healthy marriage, to avoid failure and discouragement, and to live a fulfilled life.
    But when it cames from both sides it will definitly work!

  • Trace

    My Name is Mrs Trace, I was married to my husband for 8years and we were both bless with three children, living together as one love, until 2010 when things was no longer the way the was [when he lost his job]. But when he later gets a new job 6 months after, he stated sleeping outside our matrimonial home. Only for me to find out that he was having an affair with the lady that gave him the job. since that day, when i called him, he don’t longer pick up my calls and nothing since to come out good. Yet my husbands just still keep on seeing the new girl friend till Dr.Magbu cast a spell for me,now is with me and me only.And i am happy with my family, if you need his help contact on via email,Reunitingexspell@gmail.com

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  • http://www.facebook.com/april.lynn.549668 April Lynn

    A very big thanks to the win ex back spell relationship therapist oniha, for the happiness and great joy he brought back to my family. my Dad and Mum had being divorced for the past ten years,i ma 23 years old. i am from NY i feel really unhappy and jealous each time i see my friends living happily with their parents. one fateful day i was browsing and searching the internet of something less important, when i came across great testimonies of this great priest that stated lot of things which he has done, then i got encouraged and i decided to take the bull by the horn to give him a chance. After two weeks of contacting him, guess what my Dad called me to my greatest surprise that him and my Mum are planning coming back together, presently as i am writing this testimony’ my Dad and Mum are in the living room drinking juice and laughing as never before, once again thanks a billion times to this great relationship therapist for bringing back my family in
    one piece. for those of you, who thinks and been thinking of were to turn to for help this relationship therapist can be of help to you feel free to contact him through his email address: winexbackspell@gmail.com and just tell him your problems.

  • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt


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  • http://blog.driventoexcel.com/ Steve Dorfman

    My former boss (of 11 years) always spoke well of his wife and their 30-year marriage is going strong. Married only a year ourselves, my wife and I follow the advice of my cousin and his wife of 15 years — “Never remark disparagingly of one another in public.”  What good could ever come of that? Another great post, Michael.

  • Morjanna

    It can be so encouraging when we are feeling low, when someone says something very positive about us….it can last all day, just one nice word!!!

  • Playground924

    Ok. So if someone is constantly putting your marriage down saying your spouse is lying to you is it normal to start believing it and do you believe it could affect your marriage and how do I get past this

  • msnell

    To make uncomplimentary remarks about your spouse says that you have poor judgment BECAUSE YOU chose to marry that person. If you are not happy with your choices then examine your own life before tearing down your spouse.

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  • http://twitter.com/Jess_Out_Loud Jess MacCallum

    Well said!

  • http://twitter.com/Jess_Out_Loud Jess MacCallum

    Speaking about your spouse to others creates a two-sided billboard, the front with a picture you create of your wife, and the back with a picture people create of you. If you disparage your wife, characterize her as stupid or a hinderance, then any thinking person will see you as foolish, ugly, and without character. We reap what we sow with our words.

  • http://www.ricardoequips.com/ Ricardo Butler

    Amen again, I do all these things. But I’ve never been able to structure it as points. These were just things in my opionion common sense. I mean I have learned a little from The Five Love Languages with Gary Chapman and Love & Respect from Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, but generally I picked up these principles from Jesus and how He treats the church according to the Scriptures.

  • Fred Yeakey

    As a young minister, I truly enjoyed reading this article. I desire to be the best husband, father and minister however the reality is that it can be difficult. #Confirmation

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  • Paula

    This is so interesting, I had never really thought about this as a leadership principle before, but it makes so much sense!!! I’ve thought a lot about the way I speak about my spouse to my kids, always trying to make sure I’m ‘talking him up’ to them, and I guess it’s just a smaller scale version of what you are sharing here!!! Thanks for the encouragement Michael!

    I shared about how I try to speak about my spouse when I’m talking to our kids here: if you are interested to read it :) http://www.beautythroughimperfection.com/2012/06/04/speaking-good-about-your-spouse-to-your-children/

  • Dan

    Excellent post! I’ll be referring many people to this post.

  • Stan Stinson

    I never really thought of this as a leadership trait but now that you mention it, it does make sense. The way a leader, or a follower for that matter, treats other people, especially their spouse, is an indication of their character and you (at least I do) look for character in your leaders. I wish more of them leading our country had more character today. I try to speak well of my wife in public and in private and we just celebrated our 29th anniversary yesterday so I guess we are doing something right.

    In addition to having an impact on your leadership effectiveness it is also just the right thing to do.

  • InkBlotAuthor

    I am not always sure about others, though I have noticed in good marriages – this is definitely a building plus all the way around. Conversely, if the relationship isn’t good inside the home, it doesn’t seem to matter what you say in public – negative or otherwise. Both have to go together. I have seen relationships where a spouse was badly mistreated in the home, but that spouse would never speak a negative word in public against the other – it’s called ‘denial’. Now, I’m not saying the injured spouse should speak negatively in public – I really don’t think that helps the situation at all, of course. I’ve just learned that there is sometimes more than what can be seen.

  • Shekia

    I think this is good advice and a good practice to adopt if you do not already do so… but it is not a catch all…there is no “recipe” for success but speaking highly of your spouse will at least make things sweeter. :o) That said, we as a body of believer also need to acknowledge and address the inner man/woman that causes one to speak negatively about their spouse. Is it insecurity? Did they really “wrong you” or are you resentful because of sinful lusts and desires on your own part (no, this is not just a description of sexual sin)? We also need to define “speaking negatively” to make sure we are not “pretending” and “covering up” sin without addressing it….left alone these things fester and lead to affairs and other betrayals as well. So much that can be said…nice article….

  • Myla

    what if one spouse is just acting and do not really have good qualities? and what praise you give him for what is not really his quality, just gives him the idea to trample upon you? would you still continue with the praising?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      You can find some good in anyone. Find it, focus on it, and watch it grow from there.

  • Val

    I would only add that affirming your spouse when your only audience is your children is also very important part. Kids need to hear that their parents adore/respect each other. Kids will be more apt to respect their parents and their future spouse.

  • Janice Ryan Young

    When my husband and I were preparing for marriage and going through pre-marital counseling, this was something we learned then, as well as witnessed in the pastor and his wife who were doing our premarital counseling. After 30 years, we still practice it and have had a wonderful marriage.

  • Anonymous, please

    I so wish that my wife had seen this or something similar many years sgo. It started out with small pointed comments as in the original story. Then to what Mandi@LiveYourWay described, husband-bashing with her sisters and friends. Through this and multiple infidelities, I forgave. But now I am simply used up and can’t take any more. Our almost 32 year marriage will end in a courtroom in 9 days. Please pray for us both, and for our children and grandchildren.

  • Be Forgiven

    Although I agree with the premise of the article, the older I get the more I am starting to wonder if people really know what they are talking about. I’ve known couples that were very affectionate and pleasant with one another and still divorced after many years of marriage. I’m currently living with my inlaws and they speak nasty of each other all the time and it really makes me sick to my stomach and I’m not happy here at all. But they have been married for over 30 years and counting. I’m beginning to believe that the trick to a happy marriage is holiness, godliness, and submissiveness. I man cannot lead I wife who has little to know respect for men in general and only tacit approval for her husband. It’s like the old question, which comes first, the chicken or the egg? Which needs to come first, a godly strong leader, or a godly submissive wife? I’m not perfect by any stretch, but do feel like my wife, and women in general have an aversion to male leadership and they are not even conscience of it. They question every decision their spouse makes. Why did you where this? Why are you eating that? When are we going to do this? We don’t need to do that? Please get me this? Please go do that? It’s all about what women want which is a fallacy in itself. Is it about what one’s boss wants, or what the employee wants. Yes a good employee’s idea’s can be heard, respected, and advanced or even followed, but it’s still not about the employee. An employee can help, or hinder, but it’s not about the employee. The truth is, women desperately need a captain of the ship but have been told that they don’t need a captain and fight against it. I love my wife and think she has such sweet and delicate and lovable qualities. I’ve never felt so loved in my life. The way she looks at me and holds me, I could just melt. But even my wife has been raised in a world that tells her, she’s the boss, and unfortunately, she was raised in a household where her mom was the boss and treats her husband like (fill in the blank). I’m 32 years old and learning, but I feel like we are dealt the hand we’re dealt and until God straightens things out, well, the rest is history. Thy Kingdom Come…

  • Be Forgiven

    Sorry for my bad grammar, I think whatever point I was making got lost.

  • Amy

    This is so true. My husband and I celebrate today our 31st wedding anniversary today. We are as true to one another in our time alone as well as our time in public.

  • guymonvalvedude

    My wife and I were talking with our 10yo son about RESPECT. The people I work with, especially my boss respects me BECAUSE I show nothing but respect and love for my wife at work all the time. It is frustrating to hear other guys complain about their wives, but makes me happy to share my respect for my wife and then listen how they respect theirs. Give respect and you get respect!

  • Susan Axtell

    I have been married for 28 years. My mother was always such a negative, toxic dwelling person, that I decided very early upon dating my now husband to never voice negative attitudes toward my then boyfriend David. I chose to refuse to treat my boyfriend the way my mother treated my father my entire life. This “attitude” of not saying nothing negative and dwelling on my husbands positive attributes became a habit. Even my best, dearest friend never heard a negative word about him. 28 years later that has proven to be such a huge blessing. Friends marriages all around us are failing and wavering, yet with God’s help, we are as much in love as we were when we dated as teenagers. I taught our four children this lesson and pray continuously they seek Godly spouses that do the same. I pray my three daughters seek good, God fearing men like their father! Susan Axtell DeMotte Indiana

  • Brett Parry

    This is a great post. I actually related an experience with a past business associate in my own blog today, where I mentioned the fact that his lack of trust and affirmation shown to our employees extended to his relationship with his wife. I think this had a lot to do with the lack of encouragement he afforded to our team, and why ultimately it contributed to the demise of the business.

  • Azra Tahir

    My inspiration in personal and professional life is Margrate Thatcher. After reading her biography and watching movie Iron Lady, I am strongly convinced with the philosophy that you are preaching. Her husband was very supportive and was the main strength behind her to fight with all the odds of political leadership. She was happy and contented in her personal life that reflected in her dynamic leadership.

  • http://fathertobe.info/ Qarau

    Praise God! I am truly blessed to have read this. Thank you Michael for sharing wisdom. I also make a point to use social media and my blog to boast about the beautiful woman I am married to. It is imperative that we yell it out on the rooftops and of course the result is as you have so stated above. Especially in warding off predators :)

  • Splendorseeker

    Wholeheartedly agree, but could use some pointers as a female leader with a husband who has chosen a path of victim-hood in life, which has significantly impacted our family and our finances. What I hope to communicate to those I lead, including my grown children, is commitment, faith and hope, but I’m concerned about my ability to be an effective leader when my marriage does not have the testimony I want it to. I do not disparage my husband, but it’s a challenge to find ways to affirm him.

  • Joan

    I read this in a book and have tried to live it,..”Tell the good stuff to everyone and the bad stuff to God.” My husband has told me more than once that it’s great knowing that I’ve got his back.

  • angela

    My name is Angela and am from USA, I want to use this opportunity to thank my great Doctor who really made my life a pleasurable one today. This great man Dr Osorba brought my husband back to me, i had two lovely kids for my husband, about four years ago i and my husband has been into one quarrel or the other until he finally left me for one lady. I felt my life was over and my kids thought they would never see their father again. I tried to be strong just for the kids but i could not control the pains that torments my heart, my heart was filled with sorrows and pains because i was really in love with my husband. Every day and night i think of him and always wish he would come back to me, until one day i met a good friend of mine that was also in a situation like me but her problem was her ex-boyfriend who she had an unwanted pregnancy for and he refused to take responsibility and dumped her. she told me that mine was a small case and that i should not worry about it at all, so i asked her what was the solution to my problems and she gave me this great man’s email address. I was doubting if this man was the solution, so i contacted this great man and he told me what to do and i deed them all, he told me to wait for just 48 hours and that my husband will come crawling on his kneels just for forgiveness so i faithfully did what this great man asked me to do and for sure after 48 hours i heard a knock on the door, in a great surprise i saw him on his kneels and i was speechless, when he saw me, all he did was crying and asking me for forgiveness, from that day, all the pains and sorrows in my heart flew away, since then i and my husband and our lovely kids are happy, that’s why i want to say a big thank you to Dr Osorba Spiritual Temple. This great man made me to understand that there is no problem on earth that has no solution so please if you know that you have this same problem or any problem that is similar, i will advise you to come straight to this great man. You can email him at: osorbaspiritualspelltemple@gmail.com you can also visit his blog on http://osorba.blog.co.uk and websites websites http://osorbaspiritualspelltemple.webs.com/