It’s hard to overstate the power of what you say, especially in a romantic relationship. Your words can make or break you as a couple, and play in big role in steering it—for better or for worse. The Apostle James aptly described the power inherent in the tongue:
“Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check. When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.” (James 3:2b-5)
So, never underestimate the power of your tongue! Since your words are a defining factor in your relationship, it’s crucial to pay attention to your words and the effect that they can have on your significant other—and on your relationship as a whole. Here are a few guidelines for using your words well that are simple in principle, but that we often forget.
Encourage him or her. Encouraging words can go long way! They let the one you love know that you believe in him or her and that you care, which not only makes him or her feel good, but strengthens your bond.
Give compliments. Like encouraging words, compliments build up your partner. Give compliments on both things that he or she does (“You grill a mean steak!”) and things that he or she is (“You’re such a good listener”).
Say thank you. These two little words have numerous benefits for your relationship. For example, in addition to making your loved one feel appreciated, saying thanks can help you cultivate an attitude of gratitude and help you focus on your partner’s strong points.
Speak well of him or her. This applies both when you’re with that special someone and when you’re apart! Spread “positive gossip” about that person, sharing one of his or her accomplishments or something that you appreciate about him or her. Besides that fact that your words may eventually make it back to your significant other, sharing the good in him or her with others helps you focus on it rather than on your significant other’s quirks.