“Did you get the peanut butter,” you ask as he walks in the door.
“Sure,” he says and flashes the jar with a smile. He can tell by the change in your demeanor followed by the release of a long perforated sigh, something is wrong.
“This. is. not. the. kind. of. peanut. butter. I. buy. Don’t you ever pay attention? Do I have to do everything myself?” You roll your eyes, snatch the jar from his hands and leave him standing there red-faced and ashamed.
3 Simple Steps to See If Your Words Hurt
Does this scene sound familiar? Words. You can’t see them, but you can feel them. They sting. They cut. They slice. And once you put them out there, you can’t take them back. And, it’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it.
Women, our words carry more weight with our husbands than we realize. They matter.
- Are your words uplifting and encouraging or are they condescending and degrading?
- Is your tone kind and patient or laced with frustration and irritation?
- Do your words build up or break down?
We can cause damage with our words. When you marry, your husband gives you access to the most intimate parts of his heart. The most vulnerable. When the soft parts are exposed, we should handle with care.
“Life and death are in the power of the tongue. Those who love it will eat of its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21.
Yeah, our words carry the power of life and death. That’s serious. They can make your husband feel like he’s on top of the world or they can make him feel like wants to be buried underneath it.
Many times we’ve learned to wield our words in unhealthy ways in the families we grew up in. It might’ve started there, but that shouldn’t prevent us from looking for a better way to talk to our husbands.
We can use our words to build him up or to break him down. We can use our words to encourage or to insult.
Maybe you’re like me when you read something like this. You get a lump in your throat and think, “I’ve messed up so much, why even try to make it right?”
Messing up is easy and likely when we’re not intentional about our communication. But you can fix it. You can change the way you talk to your husband.
4 Ways to Make Sure Your Words Are Not Toxic
Here’s a Talk and Tone Test to check your communication before it leaves your mouth. Before speaking ask yourself:
- Is this comment sarcastic? Sarcasm cuts deep. But, what it really communicates is we lack the courage to speak openly about the way we feel. Sarcasm is a weak cover for our own hurts. Ask yourself what you’re really feeling and then speak to that. Be honest with yourself and your spouse
- Do I have a negative tone? We’ve all heard the expression: It’s not what you say but how you say it. Sometimes we use a negative tone when we’re hurt or tired. Sometimes we use a negative tone when we don’t feel like putting the effort in to soften it. We put a lot of effort into crafting our words when we speak to others. Why not do take even more care when speaking to your husband?
- Am I irritated? If you’re upset or disgruntled with something, it shows. Your husband can smell irritability in your voice. Take a few minutes before speaking or wait to address the situation at a later time.
- Am I about to mumble under my breath? When you walk away mumbling something under your breath, he might not hear what you say, but he certainly gets the message: You’re not happy. He knows the issue is not over. Instead of mumbling under your breath, take the time to speak honestly and openly.
Your husband is not a fragile, breakable creature, but he has feelings, just like you. We must be intentional in our communication so we speak life-giving words and not words that push our husbands away and tear them down.
Need skills to build intimacy?
- Get on the waitlist for my next group coaching session–Change Your Mind; Change Your Marriage.
- Visit my website, like my Facebook page and join my private Facebook group.
- Check out my FREE resources and download How to Be A Wife No Man Will Ever Want to Leave.
- Apply for private coaching with Sheila.
Also known as the Not So Excellent Wife, Sheila Qualls understands how tiring a tough marriage can be.
She went from the brink of divorce to having a thriving marriage by translating timeless truths into practical skills. She’s helped women just like you turn their men into the husbands they want.
She and her husband Kendall live in Minnesota with their five children and their Black Lab, Largo.
In addition to coaching, Sheila is a member of the MOPS Speaker Network. Her work has been featured on the MOPS Blog, The Upper Room, Grown and Flown, Scary Mommy, Beliefnet, Candidly Christian, Crosswalk.com, The Mighty and on various other sites on the Internet.