Everyone knows encouraging words are crucial for healthy relationships. Some people even suggest we use a mathematical equation when we weigh our words — “Remember to say five positive things for every negative thing you say.” Now, I have no idea how they came up with such a calculation, but it does remind us that harsh words cause damage, while uplifting words heal.
Ephesians 4:29 states it like this, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Corrupting talk refers to words that are the opposite of “good words” – they are negative and harmful. But words that thoughtfully build up, or encourage, greatly benefit the recipient.
So what “they say” contains some truth. Even though the mathematical equation might still be in question, biblically speaking, we should have a lot more positive things to say than we should negative!
If there were one relationship in your life in which you should apply this principle, it would have to be your marriage. You’ve not only vowed to love and cherish your husband but to come alongside and help him. “Building up” and “helping” sure sound like similar concepts, do they not?! Thus, it would be wise for us to consider how we can increase our “building up” words, and decrease our “corrupting” words.
A Goal for Today
We are going to keep it simple. Let’s not tackle every aspect of our vocabulary, instead, let’s focus on one small change we can make. Today, let’s add to our vocabulary these two words: Thank you.
I know you already say these words, and probably several times a day. But stop to consider how often your husband is the recipient of those words. How often does that phrase show up in your vocabulary directed to him?
It is super easy to fall into routines and not think to express gratitude. It is sadly easy to expect your husband to do all he does and assume he does not deserve a “thank you.” In fact, it is far too easy to focus on what he does not do, which makes you not want to say “thank you” for what he does do. But today this can change. And it ought to, because “thank you’s” go a long way.
The Power in the Words
Who doesn’t like to be appreciated?! We all do. But there is something to say about a husband truly valuing the uplifting words of his wife. Very likely this is because a marriage working God’s way is one in which the wife respects her husband (Ephesians 5:33b). There are, of course, many ways to show respect, but simple words that show gratitude are a great start.
Not only does it mean a lot to your husband, it often has a significant impact. He likely wants to please you, and a “thank you” says he is making some progress (because seriously ladies, we can be hard to please!). A “thank you” says you see what he does and you appreciate it. A “thank you” encourages him to keep going. A “thank you” can speak love. Simply put – a “thank you” builds up.
Obviously, a token “thanks” won’t do your husband any good. But you can learn to mean it, so you can genuinely say it.
We frequently say “thank you” for the most trivial of favors. If a friend hands you the food you asked them to pass, you say “thanks.” If a cashier gives you your change, you say “thank you.” Someone only utters the words “have a good day,” and you’ll reply “thanks.” These people barely did anything, but we have no problem showing appreciation.
With the bar set low for our usage of those two words, surely we can utilize them more to build up our husbands. We can find things they do that are worthy of a “thank you.” Whether it be big things or small things, it doesn’t matter. If you can look them in the eye, and say “thank you,” it will build him up.
We can benefit the ears (and heart) of our husbands today by simply articulating these two short syllables. In fact, let’s make it our goal to do this every day. It’s one measly thing to do in the scheme of our lives and marriages, but it can make a big difference.