We may think our love for our spouses goes without saying, but it turns out expressing our affections is very important. When we compliment our spouses, "we are validating them—who they are, what they have accomplished, and how much they mean to us," explains Toni Coleman, psychotherapist and relationship coach. "It also helps foster a positive climate, one that is safe and allows for transparency and true intimacy. When we compliment our partner, we are letting them know we value them and see all that is good in them, like no one else."
So if you'd like to make your spouse feel like a superstar—and foster a stronger relationship in the process—here are five compliments you should deliver, stat.
1. "You're so beautiful, but your beauty goes so much deeper."
When you tell your significant other his or her beauty goes beyond looks, you're saying you value them for who they are on the inside. "Validation builds self-confidence," sums up Sharon Rivkin, Santa Rosa–based marriage counselor and author of Breaking the Argument Cycle: How to Stop Fighting Without Therapy.
2. "I love it when you make dinner!"
Be sure not to just express how delicious the meal your spouse prepared for you tastes. It's key to also say that "it feels so good to come home to a wonderful hot meal," says Coleman, and how their act of service makes you feel loved.
3. "Thank you for working so hard and being so responsible."
Your spouse does things every day—washing the dishes, returning your children's toys to their bins, taking out the trash—that are necessary but thankless jobs. Recognizing his or her contributions "shows that you're not taking your partner for granted, and that you're really grateful for what they do for your family," says Rivkin.
4. "I appreciate you for being such a wonderful parent."
Your spouse is your children's hero, but being available to the tiny tots 24/7 is not any easy job. "Parenthood is very challenging, and the more you're acknowledged for being a good parent, the more incentive you have to get through the difficult times that marriage and children present," explains Rivkin.
5. "I love that you're my partner."
You chose your spouse, and it's important to remind him or her you're glad you did.
"The more grateful you are, the more it deepens your relationship," says Rivkin. Plus, she says, "it gives you the strength and ability to face whatever comes your way in the marriage."