"Breaking old habits and establishing new ones takes discipline. With time and persistence, however, you can dramatically improve the way you use your words and the impact they have on your marriage."
In a society where sarcasm, criticism, and skepticism have become second nature, developing a healthy marriage where both partners believe in and bring out the best in each other can be difficult. Even within loving relationships, it can be easy to expect the worst, to nag, and to belittle one another. Rather than encouraging growth, our words often stifle the development of the ones we love.
Words can have a dramatic impact on any relationship, but this is never more true than within a marriage. The words spoken by a spouse can be either empowering or deflating. They can be encouraging or they can be devastating. They can lay the foundation for victory or they can set the stage for failure.
If you want to be someone who brings out the best in your spouse, begin by minimizing negative comments. Sometimes negative comments are obvious; at other times, they are not. Off-handed comments and attempts at humor may appear benign at first, but in reality they can be devastating. If you habitually make negative comments about or to your spouse, work at changing the way you use your vocabulary. Learn to speak of and to your spouse more positively.
Verbally expressing support for your spouse should be the norm within your relationship. Do not assume that your husband or wife is aware of your support; verbalize it. In healthy marriages, the husband and the wife each speak well of the other and express their support for one another in public as well as in private. By doing so, they speak powerfully into the life of their partner. Their supportive words add value, build confidence, and encourage growth.
While you are at it, celebrate your spouse's successes. If you spouse achieves a personal accomplishment, show some excitement. If he or she experiences a "win" at work, be happy about it. Do not shrug it off as unimportant. Recognize the significance of the occasion and give the appropriate praise. An appropriate gift, such as some timeless jewelry add to the celebration.
When your spouse experiences failure instead of success, be there to offer comfort and support. Avoid pointing out obvious mistakes or intensifying the feelings of disappointment. There is no need to ever humiliate your spouse. Instead, help him or her pick up the pieces and move forward.
When you become angry, avoid making personal attacks. Some of the most loving words between a husband and wife are the ones never spoken. When you restrain yourself from verbally attacking your spouse in the heat of an argument, you show a great deal of compassion and respect. Instead of seizing the opportunity to tear your spouse down and destroy his or her self-esteem, focus on the issue at hand and deal with it. Then, when the conflict is over, you can both be proud of how you handled the conflict and move on to greater things.
Breaking old habits and establishing new ones takes discipline. With time and persistence, however, you can dramatically improve the way you use your words and the impact they have on your marriage. Instead of preventing your husband or wife from achieving his or her potential, your words can provide the encouragement and the empowerment necessary to make it a reality.