Editor's note: This article was originally published on Nurturing Marriage. It has been republished here with permission.
There are three simple phrases that will make all the difference in your marriage. They are almost magical. These phrases cultivate love, build trust, soften hearts, promote growth, show commitment, heal wounds, foster concern and arouse feelings. See - magic.
1. "You are BEAUTIFUL!"
There are probably a lot of reasons you married your wife - and physical attraction was certainly one of them! Make sure you remind her of this each and every day! Your wife needs to know that you think she's beautiful; not only that you thought that on your wedding day, but that you have also thought it every day since.
It is impossible to tell her this too often, and she will melt inside (whether she shows it or not) every time you do. Tell her that she's a beautiful person, inside and out. It's true - so say it! When you do, she'll feel safe in your arms and confident in who she is. She may not always respond, but she'll notice - every time. It will build her up and strengthen your relationship.
2. "Thank you!"
It doesn't matter whether your wife is a corporate executive, a teacher, a doctor, a secretary or a stay-at-home mom. She is incredible and is the one person who really keeps you going. No question, she does more for you on a day-to-day basis than anyone ever has since you left your parents' home! Don't forget to tell her "thank you," and how much you appreciate what she does on a daily basis.
Gratitude is a great form of flattery (especially when accompanied with flowers or a night out on the town). It shows your wife that you notice, that you care and that you appreciate her. Marriage really is a two-way street of sacrifice; and daily acknowledgment, and gratitude, for those sacrifices keeps marriage partners motivated and energized. One of the magical things about gratitude is that it promotes further service from both husband and wife. That service leads to even greater love, affection, commitment and joy. It's a continuous cycle that feeds on itself - to the nurturing of your marriage.
3. "I LOVE YOU!"
These are perhaps the three most influential words. When you tell your wife "I love you," it does far more than remind her of facts. It will make her feel like she's the center of your world, boost her confidence, make her smile, increase her self-esteem and love you more in return. Constant verbal expression of love and affection (especially when backed up by actions) is one of the best ways to build a strong foundation of trust and commitment in marriage.
It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking, "My wife knows how I feel about her," and miss out on the daily opportunities to personally remind her. Thinking it isn't enough. She needs to hear it from you. When she hears it, she will feel it, she will know it and she will believe it. And it will nurture your marriage.
Love is the essence of marriage. It brought you together and it will keep you together. It makes the good times magical and pulls you through the hard times. Love is what makes the journey wonderful. So, don't forget to tell your wife, "I love you," today.