Everyone has heard this proverb: Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. I can remember my mother telling me that when other kids teased me on the playground, and occasionally, it made me feel better. As we get older, though, we realize that well-intentioned line isn’t really true. Words do matter. They have the power to hurt or build someone up. So I’ve got to ask you, are the words you use working for or against your relationship?

Most couples experiencing problems in their marriage might say, “We just aren’t communicating.” The reality is that it is the words you use or don’t use toward each other and how you use them that are the real culprit.


“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Prov 18:21


“Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Prov 12:18


“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building

others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Eph 4:29-30


Those scriptures, and the hundreds more that follow them, can teach us a lot about the power words have in our life. Words create love, trust, safety, and generosity. They foster healing, provide purpose, and bring people closer together. They also create sadness, contempt, resentment, and heartbreak. Just as easily as we are drawn closer through the words we use, we can be ripped apart by them and sent spiraling in different directions.


Part of good communication is how we use our words. Just think about these words for a minute:

How You Use Words

“I’m really proud of you, honey.”


“I’m always going to be there for you. You can count on me.”


“There aren’t enough words in the English language to describe how much I love you.”


“Well, that was perhaps the dumbest thing anyone has ever said.”


“You are the worst cook.”


“I don’t feel like talking to you right now.”


Do you see how these sentences can evoke so many different emotions and outcomes? Saying you are proud of someone for starting a new business, losing weight, or even standing up for themselves at work builds up their self-esteem and helps them realize they have someone in their corner who recognizes their efforts. Conversely, saying that you don’t want to talk to someone right now can breed self-doubt or even contempt.


“Is there something wrong with me?”


“Why can’t he or she confide in me?”


“I must not matter.”

How you talk will always be more important than what you talk about

We don’t always know how to share our hearts, but this is really the lifeblood of marriage communication. And it is not always about being “emotional.” It means when we are talking, we listen for what is deeper or what is “underneath” just the words themselves. This is the HOW we talk together.

Remember, underneath every complaint, problem, issue, or irritation is a deeper longing, need, or desire that is going on inside. I think we can say there are three main components to sharing more deeply:


                      1. Understanding

                      2. Empathy

                      3. Compassion


All we are saying here is that the words we use can work for or against our relationship. It is about remembering you love this person you are communicating with and showing that you care for them, how they feel, and what is important to them. If you follow this lesson, you’ll have the safe and connected marriage you both deserve.


Our heart is devoted to caring about people and marriages!


Our heart is devoted to caring about people. We want to ensure you have the tools to communicate better in your marriage. The best way we know how to do that is by spreading the word to more people and let them know that we are here.


Did we leave anything out? What is your greatest personal struggle in communicating? What is your greatest struggle as a couple with communication? How do you respond or react when you don’t feel heard or understood? Please send us a quick email and help us keep this conversation going. mike@MikeandSusanDawson.com.