“Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.” – Ambrose Bierce. The words we speak have the capacity to empower a person or discourage a person. Therefore, we should be careful of the words we speak especially to our loved ones. Lies, negative opinions, and criticism can cancel out motivation, wealth, and good health. Below are three couples who express the words they use in their relationships that prove to be powerful enough to get positive results.
Arguing. Tiny, age 24, is a call center agent. Michael, age 28, is an apartment manager. Tiny and Michael have been married for two years. Tiny said, “I thought we were not going to make it because we argued all the time. My mother said we needed to make up our minds if we wanted to be married or not. I thought, wow, she’s right. I married to be happy and have emotional support but our fights didn’t support that. Michael and I talked about our fighting and if we wanted to be married. We wanted the marriage and realized we took out all our frustrations on to each other.
We decided to tell each other every day, what it is we love about each other. It’s sort of like reinforcing the purpose of our relationship on a daily basis. We make it a point to complement each other every day – face to face. It feels good and we don’t fight anymore. I tell my husband how handsome he is. I tell him whatever is bothering him, bothers me also. So he has to allow me to help him get through it.”
Michael said, “Yeah! If one of us has a bad day, then the other one’s job is to pamper: be nice, fix dinner, rub feet, or just cuddle, but most of all be nice and don’t keep score. We attack the problem by speaking positively to each other instead of attacking each other. To be honest, I used to dread coming home. I would sit in the car and listen to music before coming inside. Now, I don’t feel that way anymore.”
Lying and false accusations. Mamie, age 54, and Jim, age 55, are both veterans. They have been married for 30 years. Jim said, “Early in our marriage, we both would lie to each other about how we really felt about something, just to get along. Later, you find out that your wife really did not like that new haircut which you got just for her. The bad part about it was that it never came out unless we were in an argument. I felt like I could not trust her compliments. Your compliments should be sincere. Kind words hurt more when your spouse finds out you didn’t mean them. Did I get fooled?”
Mamie said, “I use to get tired of Jim watching me all the time in our business. He accused me of being too nice to the customers. Finally, the straw that broke the camel’s back was when he accused me of having an affair with an employee. I thought all the while he was talking, ‘Baby, this is me you are talking to. Remember, the love of your life? Don’t do that. Get some self-respect.’ I left home for about a week. We had to get counseling. I am so glad we did. We don’t lie and accuse each other of things anymore. It may sound cute but I can tell you, it is not. We learned to say things that build each other’s confidence. Once you build each other up, the lying stops automatically. We have a rule, ‘if we don’t see it, we don’t accuse it’.”
Gossip and criticizing. Sue, age 37, is a high school teacher. Tate, age 43, is a college professor. Sue and Tate have been married for 17 years. Sue said, “Even though Tate and I have been together for some time, it stills hurts when Tate shares our private conversations with his students. He uses our life events as examples in his class. The students think they know me. One day, he said something about the way I cook. He said, I had a limited palate and does not like to explore food outside of my comfort zone but he loved me anyway.
He was teaching his students to have an open mind and to explore other cultures. I get it, but it still hurt. I didn’t know he thought of me like that. I never said anything but I think of it often.” Tate said, “Sue is a little sensitive but I find that Sue criticizes me freely out of habit, not necessarily because she doesn’t like something. Her mother is like that. I told her I didn’t like it. It made me feel bad all the time. So we just don’t express our displeasure every time we don’t like something because criticism and gossip kills the soul. You feel betrayed. It affects your sex life as well. Sue and I learned how to avoid doing that by talking to each other. I didn’t say it was easy to dismiss things but it makes the relationship nice and as time goes on, it gets easier. I tell her every day that I love her. If I put my foot in my mouth, I tell her in private, you know I’m stupid. We make a joke out of it.”
In conclusion, the words we say can build up our relationships or tear them down: gossiping, criticizing, lying and accusations are words that may be forgiven but not forgotten.