“Hey dad look! They have candy!” My eyes followed my 6 year old’s pointed finger and I saw it too. It was halftime of a local high school basketball game and there WAS candy on the basketball floor. To raise money for the basketball team they put candy around the court and for a donation, participants had one shot to make a basket from that place to win the candy.
From that moment on my son had the basketball for candy game on his mind and began serious negotiations to participate. Soon halftime was over, but his determination was not. Never underestimate the motivating power of candy for a kindergartner.
Then my wife had a brilliant plan. “we can have our own game at home.” So we made our own version of the basketball for candy game. We took the nerf basketball hoop and put it up the garage. We drew circles with chalk on the garage floor. Each circle was given it’s own value for a made shot from that distance. One circle was good for a skittle; one would win them a sucker and one was for gum.
I love giving candy to our boys but I didn’t want to owe them halloween buckets of candy after our shoot around in the garage. On the closest two circles I put “Woohoo!” and “High 5.” If they made a basket from the closest distances I would give him a high five or a loud Woohoo!
When the game started my son was motivated to get candy but he found it difficult to make a shot from three point land. He moved up and scored lots from the Woohoo! and high five areas. He eventually made some shots from farther away and gladly received his candy but he never grew tired of the Woohoos and high fives. His eyes lit up when he made it from the Woohoo! circle and came running no matter where I was in anticipation of my crazy, loud, over-the-top WOOHOO!
Kids love verbal affirmation even more than candy. Now that is powerful.
Woohoo! power works wonders in marriage too.
Say nice words to your spouse. The words you say matter deeply to the heart of your spouse and they speak to the condition of your marriage.
When you give your spouse a woohoo! affirmation you are saying to them:
- You are valued. You are delightful. You are amazing.
- Our relationship is valued. I like when we are close. Being married to you is wonderful.
- We can face it together. Whatever life brings we are on the same team and we are going to make it.
The more descriptive your verbal affirmation, the better. Look for their eyes to light up. If you are new to verbal affirmation, the look in their eye may be shock and disbelief at first. Keep going. If you feel kinda silly, that’s fine, you’re on the right track.
Using encouraging words will transform your marriage. I know it may sound overly simplistic or too good to be true but I’ve watched it happen. I have counseled couples near divorce who feel exhausted, angry, and hopeless in their marriage. When they were able to verbalize genuine verbal affirmations, their marriage beg an to heal. Their circumstances didn’t change but their relationship changed dramatically. Difficult circumstances and impossible decisions were not as heavy. They were able to live together and enjoy it again. They smiled more. Instead of attacking each other they ran to each other anticipating their own version of a crazy, loud, over-the-top woohoo! from each other.
When you are secure in your relationship, circumstances become a challenge not a crisis.
Affirm your spouse today, it’s as simple as a Woohoo! or a high five.
What does a crazy, loud, over-the-top woohoo! sound like in your marriage?