When was the last time that you were guilty of taking words, with all of their power and meaning, for granted? If most of us are honest with our answer to this question, we would probably answer: "today," "yesterday," or "this week." Why is this so?
Let's start this with a little exercise to bring this into clearer focus. The next time you watch a movie or TV show, ask yourself this question, "How were words used to build someone up and make a difference or how were words used to tear someone down?" I'd be willing to bet that everything you watch, yes everything, will have some examples for you. And as you start to look for this in your favorites shows, you will more easily recognize the power of your own words.
Now back to you and your words. How much power do our words have? Have you ever said something to your spouse, only to watch their face drop as they reel with the pain inflicted by your words? I have, and it is an awful feeling. In fact, I have said words that I never should have said and within two seconds found myself trying to hit the "UNDO" button. The only problem is that there is no undo button in those situations. The only way left to try to fix some of what I have caused is to spend the next several hours or days trying to apologize and repair the damage I have done. Wouldn't it be easier and better if I recognized the power in my words and used them more wisely to begin with? Wouldn't it be better if I had more respect for the power in my words?
Just like a tool in the hands of a trained craftsman, words can be used to make something beautiful. Or like a sword in the hands of Braveheart, words can be used to cut someone into shreds until they are virtually lying on the floor gasping for air—and begging for mercy. Don't let this happen to someone because of you and your words!
I have realized that gaining mastery (and control) over my words has two profound benefits. First, I don't have to witness the pain and anguish I have caused to someone I love. Whether intentional or not and whether I feel like these word daggers were deserved or not, I choose NOT to inflict that kind of trauma to my spouse. Second, when I take control of my mouth by choosing my words wisely, I spend less time conducting triage as I try to assess the level of trauma caused by my words, less time back-peddling and eating my own bitter words, and less time NOT enjoying time with the one I love the most.
Over the years, as I have talked to many couples about these concepts, many have asked if it is really possible to manage your own mouth with such control. I always assure them that it is, and just like anything else this important in marriage, it takes time to get it right. And the sooner you start working on it, the sooner you will gain control of it. If I can do it, so can you.
In summary, grab your sweetie and go watch your favorite Netflix, Hulu, HBO or network binge. As you do, watch closely for how words are used, for better and for worse. Then do your best to make your words better—MUCH better!
If you have any comments or questions about this post, we would love to hear from you in the comments below.
By Brad & Tami Miller. Contact us at brad@TandemMarriage.com. Copyright © 2019