The best kind of compliment I've ever received is the kind that's about me, but isn't said directly to me.
A few weeks ago, someone shared with me some wonderful things my husband had said about me in a conversation they had. I had no idea they had even spoken, so I was genuinely surprised by this information. I was flattered by what this person told me and was happy to know my husband thinks so highly of me! Not that I didn't already know that, but it's one thing to receive a compliment straight from my husband's mouth, and a whole other thing to know he builds me up when I'm not around, when he could just say nothing at all - or even say something negative.
Just a couple days ago I listened to a friend gush over how much she loves her husband and tell me what a wonderful husband, father, and strong spiritual leader he is. She was very obviously sincere in her sentiments and I really admired the way she built her husband up to me. That is what wives are supposed to do! Proverbs 31:12 says "She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life." My friend was definitely bringing good to her husband that day!
I hope that when I speak to others about my husband, I make it apparent what a great Christian man he is and how proud I am of who he is to me and our children! I want to bring him good, not harm, always! And anything that doesn't build my husband up is, indeed, very harmful.
James 3:5-6 says "...the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue is also a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body."
Proverbs 18:21 says "The tongue has the power of life and death..."
Wow! That's a lot of power!
Now I don't know any wife that just goes around saying awful and terrible things about their husband, but I have known some who complain about them a lot. And you know, if we wives are in the habit of complaining about our husbands all the time, even over small things, how will anyone know all the good things about them?
How will they ever be "respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land," (Proverbs 31:23) if we don't make it a point to build them up to others?
Ephesians 4:29 says "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."
When my friend was building her husband up to me, she was doing it according to his needs, not mine, but it benefited me as well. Her words were an example to me of how a virtuous wife speaks of her husband. And her words benefited my husband, because now I am encouraged to build him up more, just as he deserves.
I don't know if my husband's words about me benefited the person he said them to a few weeks ago, but those words came back to me and they definitely benefited me, as well as our relationship!
Also, there's something to the power of positive thinking. If we make it a point to speak positively about our husbands and stifle the negative words (no matter how bad it hurts our tongue when we bite down!), we turn our focus on the good in our men and actually begin to think more positively about them...which in turn leads to more building up of our husbands!
So here's the point: No bad can come from kind words, no matter who they're about or who hears them. So speak kindly to others and of others, and wives, talk your husbands up!
A great place to start is here - leave a comment building up your husband!
*If you're in a place right now where you find it hard to say anything nice about your husband, try to start small. Pray to the Lord that your heart will be changed and your eyes will be open to the good in your husband. When you find something, no matter how small it is, compliment your husband and then build him up to others. Then do it again! Soon you'll find yourself looking for and easily finding positive things about your husband.