First Language : Words of Affirmation
Words have the power to make or break relationships. The choice of your words and the way you express yourself have a huge impact on your marriage. This has been emphasized many times in my life and I am still learning about my choice of words and how I express myself. Solomon, author of ancient Hebrew wisdom literature has rightly said: “The tongue has the power of life and death.” I have seen this happening many times with many people.
Gary Chapman lists out these 4 dialects which make a lot of difference in the way we communicate with our spouse.
- Compliments: Verbal compliments or words of appreciation are powerful communicators of love. Just a simple “ You are looking smart today”, Oh you cook so well “. Thank you for waiting for me. I want you to know I don’t take it for granted, conveys a lot and shows you care.
- Encouraging words: The word encourage means to inspire courage. All of us have areas in which we feel insecure. Your words can instill confidence in your spouse. When he loses many battles in the outside world, he relies on you to reinvigorates his self-worth, self-esteem, and self-confidence.
Encouragement requires empathy and seeing the world from your spouse’s perspectives. We must first learn what’s important for our spouse and then give encouragement.
- Kind words: This is more about the way we speak. The same words can convey different meanings and create different responses depending on how we have spoken them. “ Love doesn’t keep a score of wrongs. Love doesn’t bring up past failures. None of us is perfect. In marriage, we do not always do the best or right thing. We have sometimes done and said hurtful things to our spouses. We cannon erase the past, we can always create a pleasant future” . The best thing we can do with failures of the past is to let them be history. Yes it happened, whatever we had spoken to each other may have given us painful wounds but let’s not make them scars. For wounds heal but scars leave marks behind. We can choose to live today free from the failures of yesterday. Forgiveness is not a feeling, it’s a commitment, a choice to be merciful and expression of love.
- Humble words: Love make requests, not demands. When I demand things from the spouse I become a parent and she the child. She is mature and grown up to be commanded. And it’s insulting for her. If you insult somebody, you can’t expect pleasantness in return. We are grown up and we have become a partner. We all have our individual desires. If we express those desires as demands, then we will be hurting our spouse. If however, that demand comes in the form of requests, then we are giving guidance, not ultimatums.“When you make a request of your spouse, you are affirming his or her worth and abilities. You are in essence indicating that she has something or can do something that is meaningful and worthwhile to you. However, when you make demands, you become tyrant but not a lover. “ We cannot get emotional love by way of demand. My spouse may, in fact, comply with my demands, but it’s not an expression of love. It is an act of fear, guilt or some other emotion but not love.
Being cognizant of the words and the way we speak makes a lot of difference in all the relationships. We human beings are very sensitive to what we hear but not very sensitive to what we speak. It happens most of the times because of how we handle our thoughts, emotions and the way we conduct ourselves.
This is 2nd in the 7 part series of 5 Love Languages book summary.