When God created the earth, He spoke it into being. He used words. Words are powerful and lasting. Using critical or hurtful words is like putting asbestos into the air. Airborne asbestos contains little needles that can be harmful, even fatal, when too much is taken into the lungs. I can all too easily recall hurtful things that have been said about me and that I’ve said to Susan and others. You can probably do the same. Words have the power to poison and even kill relationships. On the other hand, words can also be used like pure oxygen that provides energy and life. Just as we know words can tear down, it’s time to understand how powerfully words can also build a person up. Why not start building up your wife? Commit yourself to these five types of words, and you will breathe life into your marriage.
1. Respectful Words
After years of being married, it’s easy to become comfortable with one another. But sometimes that comfort can turn into a lack of respect when you are no longer careful with what comes out of your mouth. Choosing to speak respectfully to your wife, and about your wife, means choosing words that will honor her, not undermine her. It also means choosing words that affirm her judgment and abilities, like “I really respect the decision you made.”
2. Affirming Words
We can tell you from experience that our need for affirmation doesn’t disappear with age. We both still desire to be validated by one another and we desire that validation often. Cherish your wife by saying things like “You did a great job coaching our child on how to handle that issue” or “I was so impressed by the leadership you showed at work today.” And we’re going to have to stop right there for today. On Monday, we’ll pick up with the 3rd word in this list of powerful words to help build your marriage. Between now and then, let’s be thinking and praying that the Lord will watch over our tongue and help us to speak more gently and lovingly to our wives.
3. Caring Words
It’s easy to choose to dismiss your wife’s need to talk about her day or what’s going on in her life. We’d rather check Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, send an e-mail, focus on the kids, or just relax. But we encourage you to sit down and give your full attention to your wife when she needs someone to turn to. Speak caring words to her in a moment when she is weak and needs to know someone is still on her side. ‘Tm so sorry to hear that … ” or “Tell me more about how you are feeling” are caring words that will inject life into your relationship.
4. Encouraging Words.
Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-fil-A, once asked me, “Mark, how do you know if someone needs encouragement?” I said, “I don’ t know, Truett, how?” He responded, “If they are breathing!” Everyone needs to hear words of encouragement, especially our wives. So let’s encourage them to press on when they are down. Let’s inspire them with our words.
5. Appreciation Words.
Finally, it’s important to speak words of appreciation to your wife. No one wants to feel taken for granted. Keep your eyed open for ways to express appreciation to her. “Thank you for doing the laundry” or “I’m so grateful for your help on that project” are the types of words that will uplift her and show your appreciation to her.