It isn’t easy to overstate the importance and power of speaking kind words to your spouse. The amount of good or harm we can do with just the words that we speak is immeasurable, which is especially important to remember in a marriage. Your marriage is a laboriously built structure meant to provide companionship, safety, and security for both parties involved.
Words of encouragement and appreciation add security to the relationship you have built as husband and wife, but the opposite is also true. Words spoken in harshness, criticism, and anger can damage the sacred edifice of your marriage, and it is impossible to take words back once they are spoken.
There’s a popular mantra, often quoted, “actions speak louder than words.” In other words, what you say is of little importance in comparison to what you do. While this statement does hold some truth, in that your words are merely empty if not backed up by your conduct, it also seems to minimize the impact of the spoken word. The truth is that the words you speak to your spouse often determine the health of your relationship. Kind words are important in building a strong and lasting marriage.
Pearl Strachan Hurd, a 1930’s British politician, once said, “Handle them carefully, for words have more power than atom bombs.” Often, we think of the atomic energy released through a nuclear reaction as something utterly destructive. We think of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, where a single atomic explosion flattened entire cities. Still, that same reaction can be harnessed safely and positively to provide much-needed energy to millions of people worldwide. In much the same way, words can be used as tools of destruction and devastation to harm and tear down, but they can also be used as instruments of life, sustenance, hope, and healing.
While it’s true that sticks and stones can break your bones, we know that those bones will eventually heal. Words, however, have a way of cutting deeper than any wound ever could, and often, people never forget the hurtful things that have been said to them. Like squeezing toothpaste out of a tube, unkind words easily get out but impossible to put back.
The same is consistently on the flipside, though. People often never forget the kind things that others have spoken into their lives. Sometimes it’s a single sentence of encouragement or a statement of confidence that can cause a person’s life to turn around for the better. Words of kindness can serve as a buttress against insecurity and self-doubt, a motivating force in times of discouragement, and a healing balm to the broken heart. Kind words have significant importance in all relationships, but especially marriages.
Your Spouse Feels More Confident
Words like “I appreciate you,” or “I am so proud of you,” or “You’ve got this” work wonders to build the confidence of your spouse. When you speak words of encouragement and appreciation to your spouse consistently, you’re helping your spouse defeat the self-doubt that plagues so many of us. Maintaining a healthy level of confidence is very important for everyone, as it helps to fuel motivation and work ethic. Specifically, for men, if they have a low level of confidence, they can become withdrawn or disengaged from everyday activities.
Unfortunately, as humans, it is incredibly easy to find and speak the negative all the time. When we do not like something, we often have no problem noticing it and complaining to someone. It is the good things that all too often go unsaid and unnoticed. For some reason, we do not find it quite as necessary or as natural to give praise as it is to give criticism. It is important to be intentional about speaking positively to your spouse. If you think your spouse looks stunning today, speak up about it. If your spouse does something exceptionally well, vocalize how proud you are of his or her accomplishment. Speak your appreciation out loud.
These may seem like simple and insignificant things, but think about how easy it is to leave these things unsaid. What kind of an impact could you have on your partner’s confidence if you just said the good, kind, and positive things out loud every time you thought them? Allow your words to be instruments of encouragement to boost your spouse’s confidence. Your praise and affirmation mean more to your spouse than anyone else’s could, so be your partner’s biggest fan.
The most difficult time to speak kindly is during moments of conflict. When a fire is burning, some methods can either suppress the flames or turn them into a raging inferno. Your words can ignite the fire further, or your words can put it out. You have a choice during an argument with your spouse to either fan the flames of the conflict or suffocate them with your kind words.
In these moments of conflict, you may feel like you need to speak harshly to express your frustration properly, but this only forces your spouse to take a defensive posture toward you, where he or she is no longer willing to listen to your perspective. It might feel good at the moment to make a stinging remark. You might even feel justified in doing so.
However, what you might not realize is that this not only hurts your spouse now, but it also hurts you in the long run. If both partners consistently become engaged in a war of words during conflict rather than listening empathetically to one another, the lines of communication begin to shut down, and problems are compounded.
If you want your spouse to listen to your perspective truly, the best way to do this is to speak kindly but honestly about the situation. It is important to come into a potential conflict from a place of empathy and openness. This will put both of you at ease and position you to speak clearly and listen attentively to one another because you aren’t in a verbal sparring match.
When things are spoken in kindness and gentleness, the defenses come down, and even extremely difficult things can be received during these times. A habit of thinking before you speak will likely lead to faster conflict resolution.
Kind Words Often Lead To Healthy Communication
When you and your partner married, you joined two distinctly different lives together into one. That means, because of your varied backgrounds, you will not always see eye to eye on everything, so you must communicate these differences in a healthy manner with one another. Healthy communication requires vulnerability, but this can only happen if an atmosphere of trust and safety has been cultivated in your relationship. This is not only done by the actions we take but also by the words we speak or don’t speak.
Speaking kindly to your spouse, especially during times of disagreement, will help cultivate the trust that is so needed in your relationship. Your spouse needs to know that he or she can speak honestly to you without fear of being cut down by angry retorts or harsh criticisms.
If there are conversations that you feel are unapproachable in your relationship, you feel you need to walk on eggshells around, consider how you and your spouse speak to one another during moments of tension. It could be that you have built some barriers to communication in your marriage because of some negative experiences in the past.
The marriage relationship should be the safest place for sharing your innermost thoughts, concerns, hopes, and dreams. It’s important that you feel like you can express your deepest feelings to your spouse. If your marriage is not a safe place, your partner could feel the need to find somebody else to confide in, placing your marriage at risk. For a marriage to be healthy, communication must be healthy, and speaking kindly to your spouse is a step in that direction.
Being Kind To Your Spouse Will Help Boost Your Mood
It is often the case that the less self-centered you are, the happier you become. If you want to feel happier in your marriage relationship, you should treat your spouse better. Acts of kindness shouldn’t necessarily be done with the intent of receiving kindness in return, but that’s usually what results anyway. Acts of kindness are often willingly reciprocated. If you’re willing to go out of your way to be kind to your spouse, he or she will likely want to do the same for you.
Unfortunately, the opposite is also true. That’s why so often marriages fall into horrific cycles of self-destruction, where feelings of bitterness fester and tempers flare out of control. Couples can easily forget the love that brought them together in the first place because they’re caught in the middle of this tit-for-tat cycle. It may be tempting to return a barb with another barb, but the victory you’ll feel from this tactic will be short-lived and bitter. The result is ultimately an unhappy one. If you and your spouse are struggling with only sharing kind words, you will likely benefit from couples counseling, where you will learn healthy communication skills.
Choose kindness over conquest and watch your relationship flourish. Marriage is a team sport- When your partner wins, you win, and vice versa. Knowing that you made your partner’s day by showing a simple act of kindness gives you a deep sense of joy that is hard to find elsewhere. You’ll find that a relationship founded on kindness is filled with peace and harmony. Cultivate kindness in your marriage, and you’ll be a happier and more fulfilled person, if only for the peace of mind that comes with knowing that the most important relationship in your life is a healthy one.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do Our Words Have Power?
Words have power and an incredible amount of it at that. The power of words or the importance of words shouldn’t be underestimated in a relationship or otherwise. Words create an environment, or at the very least, they play a large role in it. Bad words – bad words meaning words that are negative or cruel – create a toxic environment. Opposite to bad words, positive words can be encouraging and may offer support, comfort, or may nurture oneself, one’s relationships, or one’s pursuits in other ways.
The power of words allows us to give compliments, offer another person support, give or receive advice, and so much more. Using the power of words for good can change a person’s life, or even the world, so keeping the importance of words in mind is a wise thing to do. There is a saying by George Herbert that goes, “Good words are worth much, and cost little,” which is most certainly true. Sayings like this serve as reminders of just how real the importance of words and the power of our words is.
How Do Our Words Affect Our Lives?
Words affect our lives in many ways. Words are a creative tool, but the importance of words spans far beyond creative works. One of the most common aspects of life we think of when we touch on the importance of words in our interpersonal relationships. The power of words shows up in romantic relationships, friendships, familial relationships, and really, any other relationships we have. The power of words also shows up in the way that we feel about ourselves. The way that we engage in self-talk has a large impact on our confidence and emotional well-being. It influences the way that we navigate the world.
Do Words Matter?
Words most certainly matter. If you’ve ever gotten a piece of advice that changed your life, or if you’ve ever heard words that stuck out in your mind for years to come, you have two readily available examples of the power of our words. The way that we talk to and about ourselves impacts our self-esteem, belief in our abilities, and in time, our internal dialogue. The way we talk to others impacts our relationships and the health of those relationships.
These are two examples of the power of words and just how much the power of words shapes our lives. Some also refer to idle word or idle words. According to vocabulary.com, the definition of idle words is “empty rhetoric or insincere or exaggerated talk.” With that in mind, there are times when a person’s words are more sincere than others. You will generally find sincerity when a person’s actions or intent matches their words. This is why it’s important to share both kind words and actionable displays of affection, care, love, respect, and appreciation in a partnership.
How Do Words Hurt?
The importance of words and being careful with the words we use really shows up when it comes to the way that they impact how other people feel. Words can hurt and a number of ways. Name-calling is a common example of how words can hurt, but it doesn’t stop there. Someone may also use words to belittle another person or to manipulate them.
These are both things that can have negative impacts. Again, words create an environment, and this is an example where the power of words is something to pay attention to. If you are in a situation, whether that is a work situation, a friendship, or a romantic partnership, where you are talked down to, called names, or have your boundaries crossed using words, it’s not okay. The power of our words can nurture a healthy relationship, or the power of words can create a toxic relationship. This is one of many reasons why working on communication and showing affection in a partnership is so crucial.
How Can I Speak Positively?
With the power of words in mind, speaking positively is an excellent goal. Here are some tips for speaking more positively:
Whether you want to work on the way you speak to others or the way you speak to yourself, seeing a counselor or therapist can help. To find a therapist or counselor, search the web for a provider near you, contact your insurance company, ask your doctor for a referral, use an online directory, or sign up for an online counseling website like ReGain with licensed providers.