2/21/2020 – Today’s Question of the Day
What do you do when your spouse nullifies your compliments?
For example, you tell your spouse that they look young and then they go on a tirade on why they think they look old and in the other room, they will rant on how old they are.
I feel rebuffed, mainly. However, I also know that for many people the reception of compliments is a learned skill. People have a tendency to be self-critical. Compliments can make some people very nervous. They can shake a construct a person has built about themselves, or make a person feel as though they are being lied to.
It’s an indication of a larger issue if someone can’t accept a compliment. One way a spouse can change that is by continuing to compliment, reassuring their loved one that the compliments are real.
It depends on the mood. If it’s serious, I usually restate it and affirm that it’s how I feel whether she wants to agree or not.
If the mood is more playful, my retort will likely be “You are!” or “Yeah you are!” This is something we often say to each other as a joking way to shift blame (“honey, you’re about to knock over that glass” reply: “no, you are!”).
Me: “Babe you are so sexy!”
Her: “Who me? No way.”
Me: “Yeah you are!”
Her: “YOU are”
And round and round we go, giggling at ourselves.
I say what I say, it’s on them to take me at my word or not. I am not a flatterer, I don’t like repeating myself and I am not one to play into someone’s hands of trying to convince them to believe me, therefore I rarely say or do anything (other than walk away) in response to a bad reaction. (I am sure I could work on being more tender.) On occasion, it can make me angry enough, I will address the attitude. What it will do, is keep me from giving further compliments in the future.
I wouldn’t make a very good husband. 😉
I’m not the average wife, I guess, but I insist on him accepting it! If he says something negative/opposite of what I have complimented him with, I don’t give up until he says a nice thank you or agrees. I don’t feel rebuffed.
I do not understand the strong (tirade) reaction. That is pretty atypical from what I’ve seen. However, struggling to accept a compliment is actually pretty common.
A lack of confidence can lead to someone not believing a complement that is given to them. This feeling can come about even when they trust the person who is giving them the compliment.
Hopefully not the case in your relationship, but a belief that the compliment is being given insincerely can also cause a reaction. That can range from thinking they are just being flattered to thinking the other person is fishing for a compliment of their own to thinking they are being manipulated.
Sometimes it comes from poor teaching. Pride has been mis-taught in many churches and made it hard to accept even building up comment (I suspect that is the case with Oldbear’s former worship leader.
None of those should result in a tirade though. Perhaps there is some deep, unresolved hurt from childhood that the person needs to deal with? But what do I know – I’m just anonymous on an internet board. 🙂
Jesus has come to give us life and that abundantly. As Jesus’ disciples we give life with our loving and kind words. It is the devil who comes to steal and destroy.
I usually call out the negative speech and say, When I complimented your thoughtfulness, I think what you meant to say was, ‘thank you.’
Good question. To turn the question around, “How do I respond when my spouse compliments me?” Answer: say a simple ‘thank you.’
Years ago, in another state at a wonderful church, we had a God-gifted worship leader. His musical ability was phenomenal. Most important, he humbly led the congregation in worship. Whenever, we complimented him, though, he would deflect and demur to such an extent that it made us feel uncomfortable. Mrs. Oldbear and I prayed that he would be free to accept compliments. We believe not accepting compliments is disrespectful – to the complimenter and the Lord!
@runningwithdog, wow, I had several of the same thoughts yesterday and almost said something, from the insincere flattery, to the pride 🙂
If someone has the habit of saying “good things” so as not to hurt feelings, and you witness it at restaurants, church, and in every day life, why would one believe that the compliments given to them are true? I can tell those here, if I have complimented or praised you, I absolutely mean it and believe it.
With the pride, it could be bad teaching, it could also be unaware that it’s another form of pride they are displaying, but my thought is also, that person may have actually struggled with pride, they were convicted, and they are working at battling their flesh. I have known, for a fact, that’s been the case for a few different types of pastors (worship, preaching, etc) I know.