We are fueled by kind words, and honest sentiments from those we love. Affirmation from those we hold in high regard helps to ward off insecurity. We want our parents to be proud of us for the accomplishments we make. We want our bosses to affirm our hard work when we get behind their leadership and vision. Firstly, it makes us feel good. Secondly, it gives us a sense awareness and freedom. Verbal acknowledgment and positive reinforcement gives us awareness of our position. We may think we know where we are, or even already feel great about our performance but when your boss walks by and stops in his tracks to make comment on your work ethic; it solidifies your confidence, you can continue on knowing that you’re exactly where you thought you were / want to be. In that awareness, there is much freedom available to you. It’s the same way with our partners. The difference here is the relationship type. Hopefully you are not working off of a performance type system with the person you’re with, but rather both making selfless efforts in building a solid relationship with one another. However, the principle of affirmation is the same.

01. I trust you.

Mentioning trust, our minds often shoot towards loyalty in the relationship. “I trust that you aren’t going to be unfaithful to me”, that’s wonderful and my sincere hope is that you fully do trust him in this way. Offering your trust to him is more than acknowledging his commit to exclusiveness. Trust is lending your full, vulnerable self to another person. Trust is not a consumable item, it does not regenerate quickly. Giving this to your partner is huge. Taking it a step further, remind him. Tell him you trust him. This simple, yet highly complex pair of words will build him up and create a deep confidence in him.

02. I am proud of you.

From personal experience, there is no better feeling than privately bragging on your man. Yeah, posting about a job promotion he got on social media is nice, but what you say in private will always be louder than what you say online. Depending on where your relationship is, and the types of conversations you have had together; your pride in him, could be one of the most beneficial aspects in your relationship. You very well may be his biggest cheerleader. Your thoughtful verbal acknowledgments about his efforts at work, with his family and in your relationship will push him towards success.

03. We make a great team.

He is in a committed  relationship with you. Odds are he’s interested in more than just doing things solo, or feeling like he’s got a benched teammate. Becoming a team could take time, it may even be necessary to take a few steps back and evaluate what needs to happen in order to grow into that type of dynamic. Weather you feel like a great team now, or are working towards that goal; maintain verbal involvement. Tell him you feel strong, and confident being his teammate and working towards similar goals. It will give him great peace knowing that you always have his back.

04. I admire you.

Men need to feel respected. Just like women need to feel loved, and emotionally cared for. More than men need respect in their work place, or amongst friends; they need it from their partner. For the mass majority, men are not necessarily emotionally driven. However, whom they become the most vulnerable with will always be you, before their upper management at work. This gives you territory. Some woman, even I have fallen to this, use that territory for wrongful purposes. If you have done this in the past, correct the mistake and move forward. Holding onto those mistakes will never allow freedom for growth. Your admiration is not looking up at him in amazement. It’s not placing him on a pedestal that he simply cannot live up to. And it is certainly not placing expectations on him. Your genuine admiration for him should always be about simple acknowledgment of his character, integrity, love for you and the people around him, and always his heart. What you water will grow.

05. You affirm me.

I know this is supposed to be about affirming your partner, but if we are willing to take the above steps; this one should be a no brainer. Think about the areas in your relationship that he is killin’. Killing in a good way, I mean. What does he do or say that most makes you feel truly treasured and cared for? Instead of asking him to do those things, or nagging him because he isn’t doing them often enough. Affirm him, when he affirms you. It keeps the selflessness between you two alive. Why? Because you’re operating with a mindset of emotional care for your partner, not actively seeking to fulfill your own needs.

Weather he openly talks about his feelings or not, he has them. He has feelings. It is not your responsibility to take ownership of his feelings, change his feelings, or even to get him to talk about those feelings. Instead, take responsibility for your own feelings. While practicing emotional wisdom for yourself, continue to verbally affirm your partner. Remember, what you water will grow. What you neglect will sprout weeds.