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Weekly Marriage Blog

Start with the Positive

By Dr. David Clarke, Ph.D

The Big Idea

Begin your couple talks with compliments.

 

The Teaching

To warm up for more open conversation, start your Talk Times with compliments.  This is what Solomon and Shulamith do in the Song of Solomon before their conversations.  A good example is found in Song of Solomon 1:9-2:4.  Here, the compliments bounce back and forth between the lovers. As their praises flow, their passion intensifies and they become more and more vulnerable. 

 

Solomon tells Shulamith she is a beautiful and confident woman(1:9-10), calls her beautiful twice(1:15), and mentions the beauty of her eyes.  Shulamith responds by calling him handsome and so pleasant(1:16).  Solomon fires back that she is "like a lily among the thorns"(2:2).  This means she is the most beautiful and impressive woman he knows.  Shulamith, not to be outdone, tells Solomon that he is "like an apple tree" in the forest(2:3). In other words, he protects her, and she feels safe with him.  

 

Now, that is how you begin a loving, deep conversation!  You can't just sit down and launch into a deep conversation.  You have to warm up and compliments are a great way to do it.  

 

I can hear your objections.  All this praise seems over the top, doesn't it?  It makes you uncomfortable, right?  Believe me, you are not alone.  Most couples drop the compliments soon after marriage.  Next week, I will share the most common objections I hear from spouses after I recommend these types of conversation-starting compliments.  

 

If you want more detailed information on communication, get my book:  Honey, We Need to Talk.  It is designed for couples to go through together, learning as they go.  It is a terrific Wedding gift as well.  

 

If you need specific guidance for a struggling marriage, check out my I Don't Want a Divorce podcast.  And, you can use my ask the doctor email or phone advice.   

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