“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”
What a load of crap. Words do hurt and their impact lasts far longer than the memory of physical pain could ever last. Fortunately, words also have the power to heal. The power of the tongue has been recognized by philosophers and biblical writers for centuries:
“Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill.” – Buddha
“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean
“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.” – James 3:9-10
In fact, the entire first half of James chapter 3 discusses the importance of controlling your tongue. In verses 3-6, the tiny tongue’s impact on the whole body is compared to a bit that directs horses, a rudder that directs ships, and a spark that sets an entire forest on fire.
Words Create and Destroy
Through our words, we have the power to create our reality. With positive words we can build things out of thin air. We can forge employment relationships, friendships, contractual agreements, and motivational speeches. With negative words we have the ability to destroy a bond, shatter a relationship, and unravel someone’s confidence. Creation and destruction, hope and dismay, such is the power of language.
Early in your relationship, while courting your spouse, love was created through the exchange of words. The two of you shared hopes and dreams. Compliments were expressed and rapport was built through story-telling and humor. One of you eventually forged a marriage proposal entirely through words.
But your words haven’t been all positive, have they? Unmet needs, emotional distance, and selfishness creep into the most well-intentioned of hearts. As the frustration and resentment wear on one or both of you, your patience gives way to careless words. Words that cut. Words that tear down. Words that erode the warmth and safety of your bond.
Words Hurt and Heal
Whether from anger, frustration, or just a dark season in our journey, Tammy and I have each exchanged words that hurt. Regrettably, some of the painful words that I have shared with Tammy I was foolish enough to write down. Thus, allowing her to relive the pain of those words and recall them with clarity.
Thankfully, words also have the power to heal and restore. You can literally breathe life into the mind and heart of your mate because your tongue has the power to “speak life” (Proverbs 18:21) .
As a part of our renewal process, I have made it my mission to battle for Tammy’s mind and recapture her heart through loving words. Affirming text messages, sappy greeting cards, encouraging scripture written on note cards, heart-felt song lyrics, love letters, and even poetry have all played a part in the verbal tapestry that I have woven around Tammy’s heart.
We constantly talk with our children about the importance of making good choices. Each day, they have the power to effect their life through the decisions that they make. The same holds true in your marriage. No matter what pain has been caused in your relationship, you have the ability to repair it through your words. So choose to build up, choose to love, and choose to speak life into the heart of your spouse.