It’s Time to Make Your Marriage the Best It Can Be
The Power of Words with Ted Lowe
What does it take to have a great marriage? Compatibility? Chemistry? Communication? Sex?
These do play a role for sure. But according to marriage expert Ted Lowe, the key to an awesome marriage is the use of intentional words. Your words and tone of voice matter immensely when talking about anything – from chores to kids to money to in-laws. A few misplaced words can spiral your relationship out of control. Make sure that doesn’t happen to you!
Scroll down for great video content, discussion questions, and practical lessons you can apply to take your marriage to the next level.
Before you get started, take steps to make the most of this in-home date night:
Treat date night at home with the same intentionality as a night out – this means putting away your phone, reducing distractions, and focusing on each other
If you have kids, give them an early dinner, put them to bed early, or give them an alternative activity such as a movie or game to keep them busy. You might offer a reward to incentivize good behavior and a lack of undue interruption — such as ice cream for the older kids after your date is over.
Be flexible! Date night at home might be different than your usual routine. Don’t let a few mishaps or small roadblocks get in the way of having a great time.
Getting Started: What You Say (and How You Say It) Matters
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”
We’ve all heard that children’s rhyme, but it’s not really true, is it? Words can hurt us. They have the power to build us up or tear us down . . . especially words that come out of the mouths of those closest to us.
You look to your spouse—the person who knows you best—for emotional safety, security, and encouragement. Your spouse looks to you for the same.
So, what can you do to maximize the power of your words in order to build up your spouse and make your marriage the best it can be.
Let’s find out…
Watch the Special: Ted Lowe's The Power of Words
Action Steps: Discussion Questions and Couple’s Exercise
Now, that you’ve watched the video, take a few moments together to reflect on these questions below:
1. Talk about a time when someone’s words (other than your spouse’s) either built you up or tore you down. What were the long-term effects of those words?
2. Tell your spouse one thing you admire about him or her. How do you benefit from that quality in your spouse?
3. How do you tend to respond to conflict in your marriage? By arguing, the silent treatment, distancing, other. What are some of the costs of your approach?
4. What are some reasons we say the things we don’t want to say and don’t say the things we do?
5. Under which of the H.A.L.T. conditions (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired) are you likely to speak unkind words to your spouse? What are some things you can do to slow down and avoid saying something you don’t mean?
Careless words stab like a sword, but wise words bring healing. - Proverbs 12:18 (NCV)
You are privileged with the opportunity to experience deep intimacy with another human being—to truly know someone and to be truly known. Your relationship with your spouse is a gift from God. It probably doesn’t always feel that way, but it is. Make the most of that gift. Choose to speak words that build your spouse up and bring healing.
If you want to change the way you speak to your spouse, it will require you to be aware and intentional. It’s easy for us to fall into a rut with our spouses because we interact with them every day. Sometimes, we’re not even aware of the things we say. We don’t recognize when we’re being kind or snarky.
So starting tomorrow, do the following exercise to improve your awareness and intentionality.
When you interact with your spouse:
1.Do not use the phrase, “You always . . .”
2. Do not use the phrase, “You never . . .”
The instructions are simple, but if you’re like most people, you’ll be surprised by how often you’re tempted to place blame on your spouse by using one of those two phrases. Even if you know your spouse deserves blame, resist the urge to use those phrases. Slow down. Take time to reflect on the role you’ve played in the conflict. Consider how you can pour into your spouse in a positive way. If you find the exercise helpful (and convicting), you may want to ban “You always” and “You never” from your vocabulary for longer than a week.