I know a lady that never has anything nice to say about anybody. She is by far the most negative person I’ve ever met, and occasionally she has the audacity to say, “I don’t know why my husband doesn’t want to hang around the house with me more often.” Wow, do I ever have to bite my lip on that one. I honestly have to admit that if I was married to this woman I’d … okay, I best not finish that statement.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we were all cheerleaders in our marriages instead of critics? I think the divorce rates in our nation would seriously drop if we became spouses who build up and not tear down. If you asked most people, they’d admit that they are much more critical than they are encouraging. What’s worse is the ones we criticise the most are those closest to us (like our spouse).

Research shows that the single most effective way to change someone’s behavior is to positively reward that person when they behave in a way that you want them to. Yet in marriage we often find ourselves being critics and not cheerleaders. Instead of rewarding, complimenting and building up our spouse, we’re quick to punish and criticize. Criticism rarely works to change the one you’re married to, yet sadly, we keep trying it over and over and over.

When was the last time you went out of your way to compliment your spouse? I know you can find something nice to say.

Sometimes all a relationship needs to get it back on track is one partner sincerely complimenting and honoring something the other partner has done. The partner then feels appreciated and reciprocates – it works.

The wisest man that ever lived said, “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing” (Proverbs 12:18).

I don’t know about you, but I could do a better job cheerleading in my marriage.

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Article by Trey Morgan

I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast. Read 1182 articles by
17 Comments Post a Comment
  1. ltd51 says:

    Since I saw the movie Fireproof, I have seen nothing but topics about marriage. Maybe God is trying to tell me something.
    Sam’s is selling the “Love Dare” book mentioned in the movie. We bought a couple of extra copys to give to a couple across the street and a couple at church.
    Might make for another good giveaway Trey.
    Have a great Week!

  2. chrisclouse says:

    Trey, as always, great topic. I don’t want to sound like I am bragging or anything, but I am constantly looking for opportunities to be a cheerleader for my wife, because I know I am male and have a tendency to screw up without thinking about it.

    Keep up the great blogging.

  3. Angie says:

    Words are prophetic. Most people don’t realize about how powerfully prophetic they are. Some people will say there just isn’t anything good to say about their spouse. That’s when a person must take the closest thing to good they can find and proclaim their spouse to be just a teensy bit better than what the current reality actually is. What is created is a self-fulfilling prophecy. You create what you believe, especially in relationships. Yes, I said create. We are all creators.

  4. TREY MORGAN says:

    ltd51 – Thanks

    Chris – I think cheerleading comes easier for some than others. There are just some whose personality excels in cheerleading, while others really struggle. If you find it easy to see the positives, thank God for that, it’s a gift that others don’t have. I know I’ve thanked Him.

    Angie – Right on! Don’t you think we tend to overlook the good sometimes because we expect it and have come accustomed to it? And then worse, we tend to notice the negative things our spouses do and harp on those things? Thanks for your comment. Oh, and we’re going to try and make it through this HNHN bible study with out a pregnancy, that’ll be a first. Ha

  5. Tucker says:

    In the book Whale Done, they tell the story of training Killer whales at seaworld. It’s better to praise to get a desired behavior than criticize and punish. Funny thing is, they learned it works for humans too. We will work harder for praises than raises!
    Keep up the great work here and your stories of your relationship with Lea are inspirational. Lea, my prayers are with you! You must be one amazing woman!

  6. Rick Morgan says:

    Lack of criticism isn’t all there is to it. I don’t criticize but it’s just about as bad to not say nice things. I know I don’t sweet talk her as much as she needs to hear it.

  7. Mommysmart says:

    Trey I loved the message in this post. I believe that the condition of most relationships is all in our perspective. It is a cycle…great spouse, great kids, great family, great friends, etc…those are the people that I want to be around. If all someone does is “run down” the important people in their lives then they will most likely be critical of me too. NO THANKS!

    I also got a giggle to think about you as a cheerleader. I know that was just a play on words, but the picture in my head of you with pom poms is really funny!

  8. Matthew says:

    Good post. A lot of people from the congregation went to watch Fireproof yesterday. It was a great motivation in marriage.

  9. cwinwc says:

    It’s amazing my wife and I have been married for 27 years. I still remember the lesson I learned after we came home from our honeymoon. My lovely wife made dinner and was asking me what I thought about the “special sauce” she had lovingly made for me? The words that came out of my mouth went something like, “What is this stuff? Can you pass the ketchup?”

    What was passed / thrown my way wasn’t the ketchup! That’s when I sent a memo to myself:

    To: Me
    From: Me
    Re: My Stupidity

    “Remember to never use words like “stuff” when describing wife’s wonderful cooking.”

    Brother, if I had only had your blog 27 years ago. Your point however is well, well taken. This world and sometimes even the church, will beat you down. If anybody should be our advocates it should be ourselves and our spouses.

  10. TREY MORGAN says:

    Monica – I don’t look as good in a short skirt as Lea, but I can do the pom pom’s better.


  11. roadtripray says:

    That mental image (of you in a skirt with pom poms) I could have gone all day without :-)

    – Ray

  12. Anonymous says:

    Men, don’t always know how to brag and compliment their wives, because they never saw their dad’s do that. In fact some young men come into marriage needing more good strokes than their little bride because he didn’t get any at home either. This is something all mates really have to work on. gmj

  13. Stoogelover says:

    Somebody needs to say this, Trey: Can you post us a picture of you in the short skirt w/ pom poms?

    None of us have the cheerleading aspect down to our marriages, but I sure try my best to be an encourager to my sweetheart of 40 years. She is very good at cheering me on.

  14. DJG says:

    My toes hurt…..

  15. Jen says:

    Thanks for this post. I needed to hear it!

  16. Lana says:

    When I first saw this, I thought, I’m definetly printing this off for Tony to read (he hates computers and doesn’t know anything about them), but then I started reading more and I figured out that I’m the one who needs to practice this. Thanks for letting me know!!

  17. green horn says:


    Just wanted to say thanks for your latest post. We received our copy of “His Needs, Her Needs” in the mail a couple of days ago and have begun our journey of discovery.

    Also noticed your post on things running has taught you… My wife and I finished our first (and last?) marathon hand-in-hand yesterday. I couldn’t agree more that running and life are much easier with someone cheering you on. It’s even better if they are cheering you on and running right beside you!


About Me

Trey Morgan Here are my thoughts about marriage, family, raising children, humor, faith and the life God intended for us all. I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast.

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Husband, father and cancer survivor & Senior Minister for the Childress Church of Christ. Tweets about life, marriage, Texas Rangers and randomness.
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