People say that the tongue is like a loaded gun because words, when said, cannot be retracted. Words are that powerful. They leave indelible marks on whatever they touch. However, just as words could be potentially lethal, they are also capable of making people feel better about themselves.
Based on Chapman’s Five Love Languages, there are five ways to express love viz: quality time, physical touch, acts of service, gifts and most importantly, words of affirmation.
Compliments, praises, and words of support, especially when sincerely offered, reinforces a person’s self-worth. Better too is that words from the mouth, unlike gifts, does not leave a dent in bank accounts — yet its effect is just as potent.
In relationships, communication is important — this goes without saying. But what’s even more important than the communication itself is the manner of communication and the kind of words that have been spoken. This means that other than always harshly expressing displeasure; one must be balanced enough to praise their partner when they do good.
This is especially hard for men. There is a popular belief amongst men — especially very masculine men — that praise, for wives and children, should either be rationed or not offered at all. So a man could have a partner that works tirelessly for them or performs brilliantly at their workplace yet the deserved praise would sit heavily in their mouth like lead.
There are many underlying reasons for this school of thought amongst men; the most prominent being that compliments rendered to their wives might somehow elevate them in status to the extent where they would feel like they could usurp the men from their leadership status. There is also the fear that compliments could make the women complacent.
While this is seen as an Alpha Male quality — a quality of strength — this stoicism is merely a facade, as research has shown. A study has shown that the desire of some men to constantly make themselves seem better or superior to their wives, even when they have earned praise, might come from a place of weakness and insecurities.
These insecurities could be attributed to their nurturing. Developmental psychopathologist, Kristin Valentino and some other researchers found that young children who have been neglected usually suffer from feelings of inadequacy. Interestingly, it was also found that this inadequacy is usually expertly masked by a facade of confidence and a bloated sense of superiority.
You might be wondering what this has to do with men, but a separate research has also shown that more boys suffer childhood neglect in the first ten years of their life. It could therefore be argued that a lot of men are raised to be tough and this has messed up their emotional intelligence.
In the words of David Deida, the masculine grows by challenge, but the feminine grows by praise (therefore) a man must be unabashed and expressed in his appreciation for his woman.
The efficacy of praise transcends romantic relationships. Research has revealed that women are happier than men when they receive praise from their bosses in workplace environments. The study, which sampled over 2,000 UK professional, revealed that 34.1% of women felt more joy when they received praise from their manager (34.1% vs 23.1% of men).
There you have it, kings. Do not allow insecurities get the better of you. If your relationship with your partner has become strained, it’s probably time for you to consider sowing words of praise. But to praise, one must first be observant and genuinely invested in their partners’ activities. When your girls win, trumpet it!