Words are powerful and must be used carefully, especially with those you care for most.
Words have awesome power to build us up or tear us down emotionally. Many people can clearly remember words of praise their parents spoke years ago. Others can remember negative, cutting words in extraordinary detail. Communication within the family is like the body’s circulatory system. When we stop listening to each other, it’s as though the family suffers a stroke. We become disabled. Certain members no longer respond to other members.
It is such a lie to think you’ll change your spouse. Expectations are the number-one reason people are not happy. We keep expecting things and people to make us happy.
Explain how you feel in- stead of demanding that your partner improve. Use “I feel” statements, but wait for the right time, and abandon the “you” statements and the “I told you so” statements.
In defeating the arguments and problems that can crop up around any home, try seasoning each day with a liberal sprinkling of praise: “You’re so smart.” “What a treasure you are!” “That’s so creative! “I’m praying for you.” “You’re wonderful!” “I’m with you all the way.” “Thank you for all your help.”
How quick we are to pick out the negative while ignoring five equally obvious positives! Unless we’re careful, our body language and facial expressions will tend to minimize our praise while maximizing our criticisms. Make it your goal to praise your mate for something at least once each day.
Other approaches to criticism: Be soft: you can often say the hardest thing to someone, and he or she will receive it if you say it gently. Ask questions: help people discover for themselves what you’re trying to say. Use those visual word pictures. Communication takes perseverance - and the very strength and courage of God’s Spirit - to replace impatience, insensitivity, and self-preoccupation with loving communication patterns.
It’s crucial that a husband listen to his wife’s thoughts and feelings; even possible correction. Through listening to her, he can learn how to love her as Christ loves the Church, so that their relationship will blossom into the mature marriage God designed. We must let God change and transform us, and bring us happiness. We try to do it externally, but it won’t happen that way.
Many things have to happen if you’re going to agree on major decisions. Norma and I have had to reason together for long periods in order to discover the reasons behind each other’s perspectives. A couple cannot survive if one person always makes decisions independent of the other. It takes longer to make a decision if you insist on discussion that produces unity, but it removes the danger of hasty decisions that can cause a couple future problems in their marriage.
Work to avoid judgmental attitudes like “How stupid! Oh no, that would never work!” or “You’ll never understand!” If you criticize your mate in a condescending manner, you’re actually pushing him or her further away from you. No one enjoys being with a disrespectful person. And no one likes to be criticized. However, if you sandwich your criticism between two slices of sincere praise, you’ll be amazed at the difference in your mate’s reactions.