Words of Affirmation for Men
by Wyatt Fisher, Psy.D.
God made men and women differently and being sensitive to those differences is critical for relationship success. Words of affirmation for men is a top need. At their core, men want to feel like champions, like the knight in shining armor, and the warrior on the battle field. They desperately desire to feel masculine and worthy as a man. Instead, they often feel the opposite from occurrences in their childhood, current circumstances, or both. A lot of men were not raised with a father who was present, emotionally invested, and affirming. As a result, these men often grow up directionless, having to learn through trial and error how to become a successful man. In addition, they may think that "if my own father never really believed in me, how can I ever truly believe in myself."
Next, men tend to struggle vocationally on several levels. Some may struggle with their calling and consequently switch career paths multiple times. Others may feel like their hard work is not recognized or appreciated. Still others may feel like their income level, despite their best efforts, is not meeting the cultural expectation of material wealth. In addition, since most men are not as emotionally or relationally oriented as women, they often struggle being successful husbands and fathers. They may be surprised by the frustrations of their wives and not understand how to effectively meet their needs. With children, they may struggle spending enough time with them because of the pressing demands of work or they may struggle seeing life from their perspective.
Consequently, men often feel torn down from life and need their wives to understand these challenges and respond with regular affirmations. Often, a man’s wife is the only one who sees how hard he is working to improve his job, marriage, and parenting. Wives need to cultivate the habit of saying at least one affirming comment to their husband every day. The compliment needs to focus on the man’s efforts, not necessarily his results, and be specific instead of vague. "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up…." (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NIV). Some examples may include, "I really appreciate how early you go to work each morning to support us." or "I really admire how much extra time you are spending with little Bobby to increase your bond" etc. The more men hear words of affirmation like these, the more uplifted they will feel, making them more motivated to keep trying. Moreover, it will help them feel like they are moving towards success in their masculinity, which is what they’ve always wanted.
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Do you think men crave words of affirmation more than women? Why or why not?