We live in a world that takes a heavy toll on our self-esteem. That's why it's important for couples to take deliberate steps to do things differently. Here are 10 ways you can bolster each other's self-image by becoming one another's biggest cheerleader. These suggestions work best when each of you are focused on helping your spouse gain a greater degree of self-confidence.



Even though you've said it before, taking time regularly to reaffirm your full, unconditional love for and acceptance of your spouse.


Never offer critcisms or make negative comments about your spouse in front of other people. In public, be your spouse's biggest fan. Save your criticisms for times when the two of you are alone.


Eliminate all put-downs and cynicism from your humor.


Remind your spouse of his or her positive inner qualities. No one is totally objective about their own strengths, and it's even harder to remember those qualities when our self-esteem is battered by outside forces.


Don't expect perfection from your mate. Give your spouse room to be "imperfect." And if your partner tends to set unrealistically high standards, encourage him or her to be more realistic. Help your spouse affirm his or her strengths, rather than concentrating on his or her failures. Remember: Perfectionism is a dangerous trap.


When others offer criticisms, help your spouse determine which of these are legitimate and which ones totally miss the mark. Encourage an attitude of forgiveness toward those who have been ukind or unfair.


Don't let your spouse neglect his or her own needs. Rearrange your time -- and, if necessary, your financial priorities--to allow your spouse personal time to pursue a hobby or an outside interest that makes him or her feel good.


Let your spouse's past mistakes and failures stay in the past; don't bring them up for discussion again.


Emphasize the fact that we are all created by God; and remind your spouse of his tenderness and forgiveness toward us. Eliminate the false idea of a God who judges us without mercy.


Pray together about any problem areas or recurring difficulties.