Sometime in the mid ’80s, there was a big Public Service Announcement campaign that addressed the harm words, especially harsh ones, can have on children. The idea was to get adults to shift from direct criticism of the person–you’re stupid, you’re a bad kid–to focusing on the behavior–hitting your sister is not allowed, better study habits will lead to better grades.
I really wish the same emphasis was placed on how couples talk to each other. I’m often stunned by the truly harsh things couples say to each other. A lot of damage is done by the words that are spoken. This damage is often permanent and irreparable.
Think about how couples you have come across speak to each other–your friends, family, the couple at the next table at the restaurant. Oftentimes, people treat complete strangers better than they do their partners. Do you?
This is the person you have promised to love, honor, and cherish. Is how you speak to each other representative of these vows? If not, why not? How do you think your partner feels when you speak to them in a less than respectful, loving way? How do you make allowances for your behavior?
How you answer these questions will determine the success or failure of the relationship. Very few things thrive in a hostile environment. Your marriage is no different.
Fearless Marriage Activities to Keep Love Alive:
Day One: Identify three positive things your partner brings to your life.
Day Two: Compliment your spouse on one of those positive qualities.
Day Three: Identify what your partner does to make you feel hurt and angry.
Day Four: Notate each time you respond inappropriately to your spouse today.
Day Five: Actively choose more positive ways to talk to your partner.
Day Six: Apologize for times you have been harsh to your spouse, be specific.
Day Seven: Have a Love Ceremony and explicitly promise to only speak with respect and love.
Photo: David Castillo Dominici