Recently I was away with Greg for a few days for a wedding and our annual budget-planning meeting (very romantic, right?) and in our bathroom there was a beautiful print of the proverb, “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and pleasant to the bones.” (Proverbs 16:24) It got me thinking about my words and the power they have to move our relationship in a positive direction or a negative one. If maintaining a healthy relationship with your spouse provides a solid foundation for your entire family, than as moms we need to be paying close attention to the words we are speaking and the effect they are having on our partner.
Oftentimes when we get stressed or become frustrated we attack our partners verbally without even intending to. After years of parenting together we can start to feel like transactional partners instead of lovers and friends. We get into the habit of using phrases like, “you never…” and “you always…” or “why can’t you be like _______ and support me more?” These emotionally-charged words rarely cause our spouse to beg for forgiveness or declare how wrong they have been. Instead, our unpleasant words immediately put the other parent on the defensive and we end up ensnared in a fight.
What if instead we took a deep breath (and maybe said a quick prayer?) before approaching our spouse and tried phrases like, “I feel _________ when you _____________”
What if we considered the words we say to our spouse the same way we consider the words we say to our neighbors and friends?
What if we looked for the best in our partner and sought out ways to remind them why we are glad they are ours?
What if we took the time to compliment them for something that we take for granted? For example: “you are so wise, thank you for managing our finances,” or “I appreciate that you take over the bedtime routine when you are home in time.” Preceding a request with a compliment (that is genuine!) is always well-received (i.e. “you are always so creative, can you help me think of a way to approach this with the kids?)
What if we were simply humble and expressed, “I need help,” without blaming or shaming our spouses?
What if this week we focused on speaking words to our spouses that were like honey, sweet to the soul and pleasant to the bones?