This is a guest post from Daniel Robertson at God’s Help For Marriage. Sign up to get his free report: “The 7 Pillars Of A Godly Marriage”
I’ve said this before, and I’ll keep saying it:
Your words have immense power.
Your words, and more importantly the body language and tone of voice that accompanies them, can completely destroy your marriage. Or you can use the power of your words to breathe new life into you relationship.
Here are some of the most powerful words you can use in your marriage today:
- “I love you.” Simple, but powerful, and it needs to be said daily.
- “I’m sorry.” Don’t be afraid to own up to your mistakes, and don’t refuse to say these words just because you think you’re right and your spouse is wrong.
- “I really appreciate…” Gratitude does a lot to put both you and yourself in a great mood. And ladies, it’s does a much better job of motivating your husband than nagging.
- “Thank you.” Almost as good as the previous one.
- “What can I do to help you?” Building a successful marriage is about serving your partner. What better way to do that than find out exactly what s/he need right now?
- “How are we?” Use these words to do a quick marriage check up. Or maybe not so quick if your spouse feels like venting.
- “Let’s pray [about that].” You know the saying: Couples that pray together stay together. (Note from Peacefulwife – if your husband is far from God, it may be wise to follow I Peter 3:1-6 and not mention spiritual things to him, but definitely pray humbly for him on your own!)
- “Do you want a back rub/foot massage/etc.?” Men, pay attention. I almost believe this last one is more powerful than all the others put together….
These words can can work wonders for even the most strained marriage. Encouraging, love filled words offered genuinely build your spouse up and build trust, love and respect in your relationship.
But as powerful as these words are for building your marriage, you can really wreak some havoc if you are not careful. In fact, harmful words have much greater impact than positive words.
According to studies, it takes at least two positive statements to offset one negative one. John Gottman of the University of Washington goes even further to suggest 5 positive things for every negative for married couples.
Here some are some of the most powerful negative words you should avoid like the plague:
- “You always…” or “you never…” These absolutes are rarely accurate and can put your spouse’s defenses up.
- “Why did you do that?!” The tone of voice is important here. It can quickly turn from a simple question to an accusation of gross stupidity with the wrong tone.
- Sarcasm. (the cutting/insulting kind) You might think it’s all fun and games but your spouse might have a very different opinion about that.
- Patronization. You know, those words that by themselves are positive but spoken with a certain tone make it into an insult. “Wow. You took out the trash. I’m so proud of you.” It’s hard to get this across in writing. Something you would say to your kids when they accomplish something simple for the first time.
- Insults. There are more of them than I care to name. They can really demoralize your spouse and destroy trust in your relationship faster than a stick of dynamite.
- Nagging. This is something you really need to work on if you want a healthy marriage. See my note above about how gratitude is a much better motivator.
As you can see, I didn’t give too many specific examples because almost anything can become negative given the wrong tone of voice.
What words have you found to be powerful in your marriage? Let us know in the comments.