Marriage Monday: Speak Well of Your Spouse

If you tuned in here yesterday, you saw a link I posted to Michael Hyatt's blog about the way you talk about your spouse. I couldn't believe I've never had a Marriage Monday about it (have I? You'll have to tell me -- I don't know!) (Incidentally, or not, Michael Hyatt said that was one of his most frequently shared -- on Facebook -- blog posts. Hmmmm...)

This is HUGE to me. I can't stand to go to a Girl's Night Out and it turn into a "trash talk your man" night. And -- let it be known that it has been YEARS since I have been faced with such a situation. Most of us that are still married at this stage realize what a good thing we've got going.

I have reminded people (including my spouse) many times: I am a writer. Words are my love language. Words have weight. Don't even say something to me or about me and then say, "Oh, I was 'just kiddin'" No. Words ALWAYS mean something. And if you are married to me, honor me with your words (and he does!)

If you are just tuning in via Marriage Monday, Wifey Wednesday, or someplace else, you may not be aware that my husband is temporarily living 200 miles away during the week for work and coming home on the weekend. (Do you hear that, Lord, it's temporary, right? Please pray with me in agreement about this -- we need a house to sell! I digress...) Obviously, this makes communication... fragile, at best.

At one point during this arrangement I let Troy know that I didn't like something he had said in front of other people over a weekend. I felt like it made me sound naggy and domineering.

"Well, why didn't you say something then?" was the reply... (I'm sure this whole convo was via text message like all the deep ones are these days.)

"I didn't want to bring it up in front of those other people, but I wanted to let you know (now) for future reference."

"That's fair. Thank you."

One of the comments on the Michael Hyatt post said something along the lines of "a good spouse and a good leader both will praise in public, correct in private." That is exactly what I was trying to do at that point. There was no point in starting an awkward and uncomfortable conversation about "What did you mean by THAT???" in front of our friends when Troy said what he did, but at the same time, I needed to let him know (in private, gently) so that we could clear the air and start fresh later.

Let me say that this whole arrangement is something I have had to learn from doing it wrong for many, many years. It all takes time and balance. We are headed into 19 years of marriage. We are starting to get the hang of it!

As Michael Hyatt pointed out, affirmation strengthens your spouse's best qualities. Want to see more of that amazing guy you married? Tell all of your friends how amazing he is. Whether he is there or not. It will get back to him. And he will, in turn, treat you like a queen. Trust me on this.

Affirmation also changes your own attitude. I still laugh to myself -- because I have done it, too -- about one friend who was goo-goo over some boy. She told me about this one super-precious thing he always did. After they had been married about 3 years -- it drove her crazy. And, yes, I reminded her. Affirm to remind yourself what a good job you did picking out a spouse.

Words mean things and are powerful. Use yours to tell others and your spouse how thankful you are for your spouse, and what you love about your spouse.

How have words affected relationships of yours (marriage or other) in the past?


Deana Herd said...

Well stated Sarah. I would add two thoughts. First the word SHOULD is poison. It breeds shame and blame when spoken to oneself and others. Second how you speak to yourself feeds into the way you speak to others. Self talk can breed insecurity or health. Few take time to think about what they are thinking about and yet this influences our perception and reactions to all other words spoken and received.

Sarah said...

Deana, both great points. Self-talk: something I USED to be adamant about catching in myself, but I have let lapse a bit. Hmmmmm...

Roxanne said...

Absolutely true. I once had someone at work say to a group of women in which I was standing, "Don't complain about your husband in front of Roxanne. HER husband is PERFECT." Now, you and I (and my husband) know that is NOT true, but even though she said it tongue-in-cheek (and somewhat sarcastically), I was so glad to have spoken of my husband in such a way. The older I get, the more selective I am about complaining period--much less about my guy.

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