Each time a conflict arises, you and your spouse unleash a torrent of criticisms to each other. Hurtful speech has become common in your marriage that is now your “normal” style of communication.
If this is happening in your marriage, you can stop the pattern. First, though, you need to consider the cause and why it is in your interests to make changes.
WHY IT HAPPENS
Family background. Many husbands and wives were raised in homes where hurtful speech was common. One or both spouse may be repeating the type of language they heard from their parents.
Influence of entertainment. Film and television comedies turn rude speech into laughing matter, leaving the viewer with the impression that it is harmless – or even funny.
Culture. Some scientists teach that “real men” are domineering or that women need to be fiercely aggressive so as not to appear weak. During a conflict, spouse with such attitude may view each other as adversaries rather than allies and use words that hurt rather than heals.
Regardless of the cause, hurtful speech can be a predictor of divorce as well as a number of health problems. Some even say that words can hit harder than fists. For example, one wife who was verbally and physically battered by her husband says: “I found the insults harder to bear than violence. I would have preferred that he hit me rather than say such hurtful things.”
What can you do if you and your spouse have let hurtful speech erode your relationship?
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Show empathy. Put yourself in your spouse position, and try to understand how your words make him or her feels. If possible, think of a specific circumstance in which your mates felt that your speech was hurtful. Do not be sidetracked by what you really said; the issue is how your spouse feels about what you said. Can you think of ways that the hurtful speech can be replaced with kind expression? The Bible says: “an answer, when mild, turns away rage, but a word causing pain makes anger to come up.” – Proverbs 15:1.
Observe respectful couples. If negative role models have influence your manner of communicating, look for good examples. Listen to marriage couples whose pattern of speech is worthy of imitation. Bible principle: Philippians 3:17
HURTFUL SPEECH IS MORE OF A PROBLEM OF THE HEART THAN OF THE MOUTH
Revive the feelings you once shared. Hurtful speech is more of a problem of the heart than of the mouth. So strive to nurture positive thought and feelings about your spouse. Reminisce about activities you once enjoyed together. Look at old photographs. What made you laugh? What qualities drew you to each other? – Bible principles: Luke 6:45.
Use “I” statements. Rather than verbally attack your spouse, express your concern from the standpoint of how you are affected. For example, “I feel slighted when you make plans without consulting me first” is much more likely to elicit a positive response than “that is just like you – always making plans without consulting me!”- Bible principle: Colossians 4:6.
Know when to stop. If tempers are beginning to flare and speech is getting out of hand, it might be best to postpone the discussion. Usually, there is nothing wrong with walking away from a heated argument until the discussion can be handled more calmly. – Bible principle: Proverbs 17:14.
PLEASE, IF BY ANY CHANCE YOU READ THIS, LET IT IMPACT YOUR SPEECH AND THOUGHT.
BY ISAAC KWASI APPIAH
SOURCE: “AWAKE APRIL 2013”.