Proverbs says there is life and death in the power of the tongue, and so if your marriage is in trouble try changing your words.
The words a woman uses in her troubled marriage are the first things that need to be addressed. Here’s some hints to listen for:
- “We” words are words that reveal being “over responsible.” The “we” has got to go. When a woman uses “we” she is speaking for her husband – men hate that – it gives them NO ownership. “We” is mothering. Change your language to “I”……..
- “Think” vs. “feel” – when a woman asks her husband what he “feels” – i.e. “What do you feel that we should do about…..?” Believe it or not, most men are sensitive to even the sound of that word. The “feel” word has got to do. Change your language to “think.” Do ask your man, “What do YOU think about…..?” If he says, “I don’t know.” Just get quiet. Go pray and wait and ask for wisdom and discernment. A lot of men walk around with self-pity and a victimization mentality. You’ll not get an answer “today” out of a man who lives in the “I don’t know” realm. Don’t stop using the, “What do YOU think about….? ONE day, he’ll break through and tell you. If he asks you, “What do YOU think about….?” My thinking is if you tell him – he might take your answer and use it as his – and, I know of men who have used it against their wives too. Be the responder/follower that you are. It’s O.K. to say, “I’m not sure what I think – I’m going to pray that God will show YOU how HE wants YOU to lead our family.” That’s just an idea. Also, don’t YOU make a decision for the family.
- Don’t ask your husband “yes” or “no” questions. That language tends to put anyone in the corner – men will come out fighting – whether passively or aggressively.
- Don’t lock your spouse into “past” patterns. When you bring up, “you always, you never, or this is a pattern – you lock them in to staying stuck. Love believes all things. Love hopes.
- Don’t accept unacceptable behavior or words – that also says, “you’re “just” like. . . ” Discover what TO say when an unacceptable, de-dignifying behavior or words are thrown at you. Something like, “I am not going to continue this conversation – it’s devaluing (of course when you use a word like “devaluing” a spouse could take off on that word and make another arena out of it.) You could say, “ I don’t feel safe with this exchange of words. Perhaps another time might be suitable.” You could say, I’m choosing to dis-continue the conversation.”
- Watch the tone of voice you use when making requests or responding. When a woman is hurt/bitter – sarcasm and sing-songy inflections are likely to be the tone.
- Make requests – not demands. Requests are in the form of WOULD you vs. COULD you.
- Become aware of goals – desires. Goal is something you do without anyone’s influence – like you can be a godly wife – whatever your husband does. Desires are something that involves the other person – for example - you desire a great marriage – and that takes two.
- Become aware of imparting your values and your style of “doing” things – a sanguine might wait till the last minute – a choleric – might just get it done NOW – a random type –will probably struggle doing it in order and sequentially – a phelgmatic – will probably like to do it alone – an extrovert will talk on their feet and an introvert will think and think and think and think and then what they say they mean cause they’ve thought it through and sometimes they’ve thought it through to much.
- Practice the ABC’s – accept, believe the best (God is big in your husband) and come along side – be a partner (get understanding of your job description and design).
- Use words like, “Help me understand what you meant when you said……” or “Help me understand what it is ……”
- Men typically like ‘simple’ words.
- Be very quick to overlook and forgive when he acknowledges his wrong doing.