It’s not always the big stuff–infidelity, abuse, or money issues– that brings a marriage down. Sometimes it’s the little stuff.
Sometimes it’s something as tiny as a word or two.
One of the hardest things to learn as a wife is how to speak respectfully to your husband, which includes knowing when not to speak(which is no easy thing for me to do).
Tiny words can hurt. A steady trickle of criticism, condemnation and complaints can take a marriage down just as effectively as infidelity.
Criticism, condemnation, complaints can take a marriage down as effectively as infidelity
Your husband wants to know you see what he does well. Not what he does wrong. It’s much easier to point out the wrong stuff than it is to focus on the good.
Maybe you know what I’m talking about.
Do you tell him how to load the dishwasher as he’s loading it? Do you remind him (again) that he forgot put air in your tires or take out the trash? Do you buy a new chair then tell him he’s not allowed to sit on it? Do you use a harsh or condescending tone when asking him to do something?
Do you leave a mean note near his birthday cake telling him not to eat the whole thing before other people get some? (Mean notes count as words.) Do you complain about the way he makes the bed or criticize his choice of restaurant? Do you tell him you wish he could fix things like your girlfriend’s husband can? Do you make jokes at his expense?
I know the right way to do stuff
Knowing when to be quiet and when and how to speak was hard to learn because, well. . . at our house, I know how to do stuff the right way. And he doesn’t. So when I saw my husband doing something incorrectly (or not my way), I had to tell him how to do it right.
Doing that a few dozen times a day can make a man feel unappreciated and disrespected. And a man who feels unappreciated and disrespected is not a happy man. Correcting him might make me feel good in the short term, but it can do long-term damage because it makes him feel inadequate. Like a loser. Like he’s falling down on the job as a husband or as a man.
Words are such little things but can make a huge difference.
Up your wife game
If you want to up your wife game, here are 15 ways to use your words, which will have a positive impact on your marriage:
- Tell him you appreciate the way he ____________.
- Tell him he looks sexy in his jeans.
- Tell him you forgive him when he hurts you.
- Say you’re sorry when you’re wrong.
- Acknowledge his strengths.
- Thank him for watching the kids to give you a break.
- Affirm him instead of criticizing him.
- Ask about his day and listen.
- Use a respectful tone when speaking to him instead of sounding irritated.
- Accept his faults instead of focusing on them
- Avoid correcting him.
- Don’t talk to him like you’re his momma.
- Pray for him.
- Assure him you’re proud of him and happy with who he is.
- Ask if he’d like your opinion before telling him how you’d handle a situation.
Easier said than done. The little stuff you do (or don’t do) everyday is the difference between a happy marriage and a hard one.
Keeping my mouth shut when I see something being done a different way is a huge victory for me. And when I tame my tone, I’m doing my happy dance. The tongue is such a little thing, but it can have a big impact on your marriage.
How can you use your words to positively impact your marriage?
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.