Compliments Aren’t Worth An Argument

Up front – yes, the picture is over the top. But I know men who feel this is what they get when they compliment their wife. Or at least it happens some of the time and they’re not sure which compliments are safe and which aren’t.

If you want your man to say nice things about you, you MUST receive his compliments well. Not just the ones you agree with. You need to receive all his compliments well. And for the record, “Thank you, but I think you need to get your eyes checked,” is not receiving well.

I understand you don’t see yourself the way your husband sees you. This is probably particularly true with regards to how you look, but it happens in many other areas too. Given how bad most of us are at self-assessment, the odds are how he sees you is closer to accurate than how you see you. Even if it’s an honest difference of opinion, it’s still valid on his part. If you reject his compliments you’re saying he is wrong. More than that, you’re accusing him of lying to you.

No one wants to be attacked for being nice. No one wants to have their sanity or honesty questioned for being nice. When a wife does this her husband learns to avoid compliments because they can backfire on him.

~ Paul – I’m XY, and my wife hasn’t questioned my eyesight recently.

Current TMB SurveySexual Frequency: Desired and Actual – How much would you, how much do you have, and those aren’t close, why?

Links may be monetised
Image Credit: © prudkov |

Shop Amazon ♦ Shop to give links page
We’re donation supported Thanks for your help!
Where we’re going Contact us about speaking

12 Comments on “Compliments Aren’t Worth An Argument

  1. I grew up believing it was socially morally expected to refuse compliments. It showed you were humble and not vain. I was called out on it once and it shocked me. It felt WRONG (I emphasize that with caps because it did almost feel like I was sinning) to accept a compliment. I started with what was suggested to me…a simple “thank you”. A smile, blushing, and downward turn of the head helped me feel I was duly humble without hurting the giver’s feelings.

    Today, with men, I still tend to do the smile, blush, downward turn of head and verbal sincere “thank you.”

    With women, I will look them in the eye, smile brightly and say, “Aw, thank you!”

    With hubby, I smile brazenly, emphasize what he just complimented, and flirtatiously say, “mmm, thank you!”

    Just a note to the guys, though. Please, please compliment her beauty. If she dresses up for church or a wedding or a date, tell her how beautiful she is. My hubby is quick to tell me I look cute, or how sexy I am, and I appreciate that very much. I long to hear how beautiful I am. My sons tell me how beautiful I am and I swoon and fawn over them for doing so. I just wish I would hear it from hubby! He is quick to compliment an actress, which is fine in and of itself….she IS remarkably beautiful. But she also has stylists and make up artists and lighting and filming/photography professionals, and Photoshop, chefs and trainers. I can’t get all that just to be called beautiful. It makes it feel like beautiful is reserved for the elite and I will never attain it in hubby’s eyes. Or, I feel like something is wrong with hubby and he is only able to see Hollywood beauty and not the natural, god-given beauty within me.

    Oh, and fellows, you may need to find a word that touches her heart. Maybe it isn’t beautiful. Maybe it is lovely, elegant, ravishing, charming, pretty, breath-taking……get a thesaurus.

    • I don’t know what goes on in your husband’s mind, of course, but to me the word “beautiful” seems kinda formal and impersonal. It would feel strange to use the same word to describe someone I know and love as I would to describe a sunset. So, I dunno, maybe he feels something similar. Maybe it feels more appropriate to use one word for famous actresses he doesn’t know IRL and will probably never meet, and another for the wife he knows very intimately and cares for deeply. Perhaps, in his mind, “cute,” “sexy,” “pretty,” and “beautiful” are all synonyms anyway, and can be used interchangeably, but he chooses to use the less formal, more personal, intimate forms with you and the more formal, impersonal forms with others. He may be completely unaware that to you, these words are not synonyms, that one is not just as good as another, and the effect his word choice has on you. And the only way for him to know this is if you tell him.

      Maybe. As I said, I don’t really know (I’m no mind reader), and all this is just speculation, based on my perceptions. But it may be worth your while to find out if that is indeed how your husband thinks, or not. And make him aware of how you feel, regardless. If something is important enough to you that you “long” for it, then it’s something he should know about, so he can have the opportunity to adjust his behavior accordingly to meet your need. It shouldn’t be difficult. After all, he already gives you compliments, with the intent of making you feel good, so he’ll only be slightly modifying a habit that already exists, not trying to break one or form a new one.

      • Ace, that is very perceptive and helpful! Thank you for that!

        • Oh, good! I’m glad to hear it. You’re most welcome. :)

    • @libl – Yeah I’ve seen the “accepting shows pride” thing a few times. Always struck me as odd and in no way biblical.

  2. My wife has a low self-image. This is something we struggle with. It makes my day when I tell her she’s beautiful and she says “Thank you.” I want her to believe it, but even if she doesn’t yet, I love it when she at least thanks me for saying it.

  3. One important thing about compliments is that they have to be consistent with persona. If I waxed rhapsodic about my wife’s appearance she’s think I’d gone macnoon, and it would give her yet another source of worry.

    “You look OK” is enough for her, from me. That, and I have a decent eye for things like stray threads and off-center accessories.

  4. I agree with libl on the first part of her comment. A lot of us were raised that accepting a compliment is wrong, wrong, wrong. Any time I’ve done something well and felt good about it, my family was quick to put me in my place.
    Then there’s past history. Most of my life I was not complimented, but told I was fat, ugly, and stupid. In reality, I don’t think I was any of those, but if you tell someone something long enough, they start to believe you. It didn’t help that growing up my sisters were petite and on the too skinny side, while I’ve always been tall and athletic (or giant and fat as they like to say, even today).
    So it is hard for me to accept my husbands compliments. I don’t yell at him or be outright mean, but yes, I do think he’s usually lying. Not necessarily lying, but maybe he’s trying to see something that’s not there? Or saying the things he has heard husbands are “supposed” to say?
    I’m working on this. I’m trying to forgive those who have hurt me and continue to hurt me when given the opportunity. (I thought I had forgiven them, but I’m learning by not “letting go” I’ve not totally forgiven). I’m trying to learn to believe my husband, even though I think he’s either crazy or a great schmoozer. All of his past girlfriends were petite brunettes. Every attractive woman I see him notice is a petite brunette. I find it impossible, knowing all of that, that he finds his tall blonde wife even remotely attractive, let alone “beautiful, hot, or pretty”.

    Dont be so quick to think women are brushing off compliments just to be annoying. Some of us have been kept humble, put in our place, and reminded of the truth so often by the people (in my case especially women – who have no reason to lie) who raised us, grew up with us, claimed to be our friends – that it’s hard to look past what you were taught was truth to believe the “fluffy” compliments a man has been taught he’s supposed to dole out.

  5. I have days when I feel so fat and hideous, I disgust myself. I try thank God at those moments that I have my sight, my hearing, my mobility. I think it’s unnecessary to burden my husband with my neurotic feelings. He can’t do anything about it and there is no ‘right’ thing to say, so why put him in that position? Sometimes, I will ask him to hug me and I’ll just tell him I’m having a bad day or I feel bad about myself. It really helps when I step back, look at how I’m feeling, and say, “I don’t want to be that!”

  6. I used to be really bad about refuting compliments of any kind, even before I was married. But then I dated a man who was even worse about accepting compliments than I was. He, like me, had a very low self-esteem, and would have some sarcastic come-back, or otherwise vehemently disagree with me when I’d try to compliment him. That’s when I finally understood how hurtful it was to people who cared about me when I rejected their compliments in just that same way. I finally understood what they meant when they said they felt like I was calling them a liar, or stupid, etc, because that’s what I felt like this guy was saying to me when he rejected anything positive I’d say to him. It didn’t end up working out between me and him, (thank God, because we’d have been horrible for each other), but it’s one of the many lessons I took away from that relationship. I’m glad for it, because by the time I met and married my husband, I knew better than to refute the compliments he gives me…even on my worst days when I don’t feel all those positive things he sees in me.

  7. I wonder how much of this is cultural. Where I grew up, it is considered rude to reject a compliment or a gift. If someone gives you a compliment, the correct response is “thank you”. If someone gives you a gift and you make a big deal about having to reciprocate it, you are denying that person their joy of giving. If God put it on someone’s heart to do something for you, you should accept it and be grateful. I’ve noticed this isn’t the case in other places I’ve lived.

    I don’t really understand the need in our society for women to constantly be told they are pretty or beautiful. First, most of the time that comment is based solely on physical appearance. I’d much rather be recognized for who I am as a person than how I look. That probably also stems from how I was raised. My worth was not wrapped up in my physical appearance. Although, taking care of yourself and presenting yourself well was considered important. Secondly, we don’t go around telling boys and men how great they look all the time. Compliments to boys and men seem to be more about their accomplishments than their physical appearance. Why is this something so expected for girls and women, but not boys and men?

    My husband is not one to tell me I’m pretty or beautiful all the time. It’s nice to hear on occasion, but not something I’ve ever needed or felt was missing. In fact, I never really thought about it until I started reading Christian marriage blogs. This seems to be a common theme. It means much more to me when my husband notices something I’ve done for the family and is appreciative or when he tells me he’s proud of me for something. Those things tell me he sees me and values who I am and what I contribute to our life together. Thankfully, he is very good at giving compliments in both of those areas. And, I guess I’ve always thought he must be at least somewhat physically attracted to me or he wouldn’t have chosen me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

%d bloggers like this: