Wouldn’t you agree that most arguments happen over the dumbest things? Often there’s a misunderstanding or a careless comment that is made and later regretted—but only after the damage is done.
How can we minimize the careless comments in our marriage? How can we change-up our pattern and begin to say the right word at the right time?
The wisest man who ever lived, King Solomon, wrote: “A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” (Proverbs 25:11) In the original language, the idea is a word given at just the right time is beautiful and valuable. Wouldn’t you agree that holds true in marriage as well?
Often the right word comes at a time when we are struggling, sad, angry or needing to be lifted up. When the right thing is said there is connection, care, compassion, and encouragement. We feel understood and our spouse’s words are actually a blessing to us.
Here are four things to keep in mind this week so that your words are “aptly spoken” and become a treasure to your spouse:
1. Listen and ask
We have to hear our spouse’s heart to have the right word. What are the things that are burdening them? What do they talk about? Ask follow-up questions that help bring understanding. Sometimes a simple, “Tell me more…” or “Help me understand…” opens the door for them to go deeper in their explanation. Keep listening.
2. Watch and ponder
Life can get busy and we can easily become self-focused on our personal to-do’s and projects. Pull back and watch your spouse. What is consuming their time and energy? Work that they brought home? Tasks or deadlines that need to be completed? Projects at home? Activities or stress with the children?
Enter their world. You know your spouse…what is life like for them right now? Perhaps you will observe them serving the household doing menial tasks no one else will do (including you!), or working hard to succeed at their job, or pouring themselves into your children.
Imagine you are in their skin. What would you like to hear?
3. Pause and pray
Before you speak the “apt word,” take a moment to breathe a prayer to God. Ask Him what your spouse needs to hear from you. It may be a word of encouragement or affirmation. Perhaps they need appreciation or even a word of advice. Maybe all they need is a hug and to hear, “I love you.”
4. Speak and repeat
When you are confident you know what to say, be sure you have eye contact and good timing, go ahead and say the right word! Once you’ve spoken the right word, go back and repeat the first step.
Fill your relationship with the right words and you will bless your spouse as you build your marriage!