Recently, Andy and I were having a conversation with a friend who is emerging from a difficult chapter in his marriage. Jay and Ellen (not their real names) have been married just under fifteen years. They have four amazing kids, a beautiful home, good jobs, and tons of friends.
While nothing was dramatically wrong in their relationship, they realized what had begun as humor and innocuous teasing had slowly become a bad habit. The bad habit grew into something more significant, eroding the once-healthy respect and affection that had characterized their early marriage years.
Thankfully, Jay and Ellen both realized it. They reached out for help from an older, been-around-the-block, wise couple. GREAT first move. After about a year of intentionally making some needed changes and establishing new habits, much healing has taken place.
A few thoughts to consider…
- It’s the little things that add up and become really big things. A marriage isn’t rocked to its core by affairs and addictions only.
- Even for couples with great senses of humor, making the person you love the brunt of the joke cuts more deeply than you think.
- Dishonoring your spouse, even in the smallest ways, quickly becomes a pattern and snowballs.
- Little cutting comments lodge in the heart and eventually drain affection.
- Little life-giving comments also lodge in the heart and enrich affection.
- The way you talk to your spouse is most likely the way your sons and daughters will talk to theirs.
- The way you talk to your spouse is most likely the way your sons and daughters will allow themselves to BE talked to by theirs.
So, how are you doing with your words? Are there some habits that have slowly developed and are beginning to erode your most important relationships? Please don’t turn a blind eye to it just because it seems small right now. Don’t let a bad habit continue because it brings laughs from people who ultimately don’t matter as much to you. Sticks and stones break our bones, AND words hurt.