The Power of My Words in Relationships

Hop over to Visionary Womanhood for the full article…

“Over time I began to realize that my words were having a powerful, negative effect on the relationship between my husband and one of our children. It’s not that I couldn’t, or shouldn’t share the struggles—I must, but how I framed it, the words I chose, the tone of my voice—it all has a drastic effect on how someone views the one about whom I’m speaking.

The same can be said of how or what I say to my mother…” Read the rest of The Power of My Words in Relationships

 

18 Responses to “The Power of My Words in Relationships”

  1. CIndy says:

    Kelly,
    I can relate to this so well. So often I will tell my dh about a situation, only to have him deal with it his way and have me berating him about how he is dealing with the situation (which I caused!!). Not very helpful. At the end of the day, the children do not need mom and dad both getting at them about a situation that was actually resolved before coffee time this morning!!

    Thanks for this. Such godly widsom and encouragement.

  2. Brenda says:

    Hi Kelly, First of all I want to say that I love your blog and I read it often. This is the first time I have commented. Everything you wrote is so true. A lot of people think that my husband and I never have problems because that is one area we purposed in our hearts to protect. I do not share with anyone the problems we have, I go straight to the only ONE who can help. I tell my kids all the time that what you say about someone else paints a picture and a lasting impression in the hearers mind. Now, just because my husband and I don’t speak negative about each other, doesn’t mean I haven’t done it, sad to say. I have done just as you have described with one of my children. There is a song out called Words by Hawk Nelson. I am not sure if you have heard it or not. I will include the link to Godtube (http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=W77LDPNX) for you to use at your discretion. It is the song the Holy Spirit uses to get me to watch over my words, not just with my children, but with situations I find myself in. I find myself daily asking God to let the meditations of my heart and the words of my mouth be pleasing to Him. Thank you for the encouraging, confirming, very timely word today. Many Blessings to you and your family.

  3. Keri says:

    I will never forget standing in the kitchen and saying something quick and smart mouthy to one of my kids..and from out of nowhere..lol…this Verse pops into my mind. Very Humbling and yes, I figured out where it came from!

  4. Erica says:

    I also sharing about frustrations with the kids over the phone (or as soon as he walks in the door) with their father. After reading this I realize that our children & their father’s relationships could be so strained because of me sharing the struggles with him. I admit that I find myself at the end of my rope, especially with the boys…I am not a man and sometimes I have a hard time understanding where their heads are! I have always thought that by sharing with their father that he can then figure out how best to deal with the situation. I do realize *now* that my frustrations often spill over in what I say, and how I say it, and that my DH is trying to “get my back” in dealing with the kids.

    ***I am NOT saying this to slam my DH in any way – but to get some ADVICE on what I can do to HELP the situation from getting further strained.***

    Unfortunately his parenting method is more like a fist slamming on a table than a gentle caress with admonishing words to correct the behavior. His parenting is more along the lines of making the kids adapt to “his” ways rather than him reaching the kids on their level in a way that is effective in actually reaching them & correcting the behavior. In many situations in ends up with frustration on ALL sides and things being worse than they would’ve been had I not shared with my DH in the first place. It is sometimes more like a drill sergeant than a loving fatherly correction.

    For example – our youngest son is almost 6 yrs old. He has ADHD/ODD (oppositional defiant disorder). When his father calls him to come to him for correction & our son doesn’t listen (come when called) then my DH takes things up a notch & will admonish him for not listening when he was called. This always results in him being put on a time out. My son is in tears & upset because his father is being so tough & doesn’t feel like he should be on a time out. The REAL reason that he was called in the first place gets put to the side while the time-out is happening & is never dealt with until AFTER the time-out is over. Which a lot of times ends up that he was not in the wrong & shouldn’t have been punished (except for not listening to his father) or I had already corrected the behavior and got the situation under control .

    Now, I *know* that we DO need to correct them for not following directions. BUT I feel like as parents it is OUR job to change the way we deal with each child based on how best to reach that particular child. My DH, on the other hand feels that children should change to suit the way the parents ‘parent’ them. I feel like we’re supposed to be a team and as a team I think we both need to know what is going on with the kids. We both need to be a part of the solution and not make the problem(s) worse. So I sometimes find myself neglecting to share information with my DH in an effort to avoid situations like the one I mentioned above. BUT I know that this is also not the answer. I have seen the error of that way lately when one child was rewarded with something they should not have gotten (they were grounded from it) due to me NOT telling him what was going on each day.

    So (after this long book) in a situation where (as parents) we both need to be kept abreast of everything going on in our family…how best do I share information with my DH in a way that keeps him in the “loop” of our childrens’ lives without him feeling like he has to discipline the children in such a strong handed manner? Especially when I am at the end of my rope and frazzled?

    I have prayed & prayed & prayed about this. I have talked to my husband about the way he interacts with the kids & tried to share the parenting techniques I have learned from counselors & in my psychology courses. I know that many time his reactions are due to what I say & how I say it. I also know that there HAS to be some sort of middle ground in all of this. So ANY advice would be VERY helpful.

    • Erica says:

      Wow…I just re-read that & it make my family sounds nuts! It’s really not that bad…situations like this happen infrequently. But the fact that they happen at *all* is my issue. I just want advice on how best to speak about situations without making them worse instead of better. Honest! :)

      • Kara says:

        Hi Erica,
        One thing that has helped my husband and I deal with our kids, and something that took us a while to figure out because it seemed like we were getting no where, was to first and foremost practice how the Lord deals with us. With a cool head and Gently, but firmly.
        That concept had hit me so strongly one day. I realized that the Lord deals with His children quite differently than many of us deal with our gifts of children.

        • Kara says:

          Sorry, I wasn’t quite finished.
          I wanted to add the verse from Proverbs 15:1 “A soft answer turneth away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger.” And also the verse from Ephesians, “Fathers (including Mothers, as we are apart of the fathers) provoke not your children unto wrath, but bring them up in the nurture (instruction) and admonition (correction) of the Lord.”
          I hope this helps, and don’t stop praying. Maybe asking your husband to pray with you (together) for your children would help you both as well.
          I have also learned that my husband must lead our family, not me. Pray for him each day as well. God is very good at giving direction.
          God Bless

          • Erica says:

            Kara -
            That DOES help…I do try to think of God & how He would ‘discipline’ His children & then do the same myself. I pick & choose my battles, if you will, based on what they do/don’t do that contradicts Scripture and have learned to let the small stuff go. This was very hard for me as I am very OCD, but with God’s loving guidance I have been able to do it. I did have a wonderful talk with my DH last night about his falling away from the Church slowly over the years and how it is affecting the way our children are being raised. I think that is part of the problem. When our oldest were younger we had many problems & didn’t go to Church on any type of basis and now that they are in their late teens we are reaping what we have sewn. I simply asked him if he wished to have a repeat of the situation in another 10 years when the little ones get to be teens/young adults. His resounding “No!” was enough to prompt me to further discuss things we can change in order to not repeat this. I found a great history curriculum online called “The Mystery of History” and we’ve discussed incorporating it into family dinner as a way to bring up Christian lessons to the whole family…knowing that he & I will also get something from it. Years ago he & I did the “Purpose Driven Life” study together and saw such huge growth in our personal relationships with God, but also in our relationship as partners & parents.

            Thank you for taking the time to share this with me. It’s given me more hope that I can admit. Praying is something I will never let up on, especially where my family is concerned.
            Bless you!

            • 6 arrows says:

              I’ve heard good things about “The Mystery of History”. Great idea to read it at the dinner table as a family! :-)

    • 6 arrows says:

      Hi Erica,

      I can hear your frustration with the type of situation you describe. Since you asked for advice, I will offer my 2-cents worth. I hope to say this as gently as I can, but I fail at that sometimes, so forgive me if it seems I don’t fulfill my intention of speaking with love…

      I think the foundational thing to remember is that we wives can’t change our husbands. I am sure you are fully aware of that — I don’t mean to state the obvious — but it can be so easy for us women to spend lots of time learning parenting techniques from books and counselors and psychology courses and such, but we need to be careful that our sharing that information with our husbands doesn’t become a sort of unspoken (or verbalized) “this is the way it should be done” if we don’t agree with how our husband is currently parenting.

      Wives are called to submit to their husbands. (Of course, I’m not talking about cases involving child or wife abuse, and for the record, I DO NOT have the impression that your husband is abusive.) Let me also add that men are not called to submit to the writers and teachers and counselors whose parenting methods their wives may be studying or trying to implement. You are free to share information about their techniques with him, but he is free to reject that.

      If a wife spends too much time (and I’m not saying you do this) telling her husband how she thinks he should parent, there is going to be added tension in their relationship and in the family. Even if a woman doesn’t speak to her husband much about his parenting, if she absorbs a lot of other peoples’ philosophies and frequently compares in her mind their methods to his, she’s probably increasing the tension in the marital relationship, just by dwelling on those comparisons, and that tension often spills over into family life. Kids are perceptive, and when Mom is not happy with Dad (and vice versa), they can tell.

      You are right, Erica, in saying that husband and wife are supposed to be a team. There are hard consequences when husband and wife are not on the same page as each other. Kids often play one parent against the other when they know there’s disagreement between mom and dad on how to handle certain situations. It would be better for the kids if both parents were a little too permissive or a little too drill-sergeant-like than for one to be one way and the other to be the other way, IMHO.

      My advice to you then, if you want to keep the situation from getting further strained, is for YOU to start moving closer to being on HIS team. Sorry to sound so blunt. Your children will then have the security of living in a home where the parents stand together in oneness of purpose.

      On the other hand, if you decide that your husband is the one who has to move toward you so that you’re both on the same page, then there will be no resolution if he won’t budge. The kids will be living with shifting boundaries depending on which parent happens to be in charge, and much chaos and deterioration of relationships can happen under those circumstances.

      It sounds like you are the one who wants changes. YOU do what YOU can do. You can’t cause your husband to change. That’s the Holy Spirit’s job, not yours.

      I wouldn’t worry about if your kids get upset and cry when they’re disciplined by their father in a non-abusive way. Remember Hebrews 12:11. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

      Regarding this statement of yours, “His parenting is more along the lines of making the kids adapt to “his” ways…”, which is related to these, “BUT I feel like as parents it is OUR job to change the way we deal with each child based on how best to reach that particular child. My DH, on the other hand feels that children should change to suit the way the parents ‘parent’ them.”, I would have to say that, while it is true that every child is different (and so are adults — we are all unique human beings), Proverbs 22:6 comes to mind. Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

      What that means to me, among other things, are that parents are to train children, and children are the ones being trained or “adapting”, if you will, to said training. I understand using flexibility in determining how to reach our children with their various personalities, but I think you’re being needlessly troubled when you express concern that your DH “feels that children should change to suit the way the parents ‘parent’ them.” There can be too much danger, IMO, of a home becoming a child-centered one with too much emphasis on adapting to the children’s “needs.” There will be other authority figures the children will meet up with somewhere down the road who will not adapt to them; it will be the children’s responsibility to adapt.

      So…to answer your last question: “…in a situation where (as parents) we both need to be kept abreast of everything going on in our family…how best do I share information with my DH in a way that keeps him in the “loop” of our childrens’ lives without him feeling like he has to discipline the children in such a strong handed manner?”

      I would say that you can’t really keep your husband abreast of everything going on in your family when he is at work, and I don’t think you need to try (not that you ARE trying to do that). Handle all but the most serious discipline issues yourself as they arise when he is not there. Men have a big responsibility providing for their family, and if their wives can take care of most of the issues that arise at home in his absence, it takes a lot of pressure off him and eases his burden. I think most of what happens discipline-wise at home doesn’t really need to be discussed with him unless it’s quite serious. I don’t think that’s being secretive or keeping him out of the loop. Some might disagree with me on that, but my husband, though he calls every day from work and asks how it’s going at home, doesn’t expect an account of everything less than ideal that may have happened with the kids that day. If something gets very intense and hard to handle with one of the kids, I can call him at work, and he will talk to the child right then over the phone. Smaller matters I just take care of myself and don’t usually mention them, except in the context of general conversations we may have at home about matters concerning the children and how they’re doing overall. These discussions tend to occur in the normal course of day-to-day activities when I’m with my husband, and aren’t conducted during heat-of-the-moment times with the children.

      Well, I don’t know if any of that helps, Erica, but I would keep praying, as you’re doing. Pray for wisdom for both your husband and yourself, and trust the Holy Spirit to work in your husband’s heart. I’d also recommend if there is a lot of tension in your mind regarding the difference between how your husband parents and how the counselors, books, etc. say to parent, just toss it all out and look to the Word of God as your only source for how to parent, and how to live Biblically as a wife, loving and honoring your husband and growing together in the grace of life.

      • Erica says:

        6 Arrows –
        I have read many responses from you & feel that you always speak in a loving spirit…regardless of if you feel that way or not! :)

        I know that I did state that using advice from counselors/psychology classes/etc. I guess I failed to mention the *main* source of guidance I have gleaned is from the Bible and in thinking about God’s lovingly ways of admonishing His children that is where the main source of my frustrations is coming from. I see God as the ultimate Father and the one that we should try to emulate, especially in dealing with our children, as they are gifts to us from Him for a limited time to raise up to glorify Him ultimately.

        I do understand that wives are to submit to their husbands. I guess part of our problem is that we were young and we most definitely fall into the unevenly yoked relationship. We began like many of today’s secular young couples by having children before the benefit of marriage. I grew up in a Christian family – and while I did fall away from it, I had the foundation that he lacked. I went back to Church and accepted Christ again when my oldest were very young. My husband, on the other hand, didn’t start going to Church until about 8 years ago. Was very strong in his faith for a few years and then slowly let “life” get in the way. Began having excuses for why he couldn’t go to Church this week, which has led to months, and then years. Now-a-days he will talk about God, but his faith & trust is God is not on an even level with mine. (He’s trying, but without the benefit of going to Church & developing relationships to hold him accountable, to learn from our Pastor during his weekly sermons, and not spending daily time in meditation with God, he is floundering.) In fact, last night I spoke with him about how *HE* is supposed to be the head of the family leading his family and being the one to lead the rest of us. I told him that, while I am supposed to be his right hand ‘man’ and run his home/raise his kids that the reality is that it is up to him to head the family & lead our relationships according to the Bible. In order for the kids to have ANy type of relationship with God, or even learn about Him if left to my husband it wouldn’t happen. My husband has been perfectly happy with me taking the lead in this, but I would feel better if he chose to & did do it. I think it would help our relationship, our children’s relationships, & well, it’s how it’s supposed to be!

        The problem lies in him handing everything over to me to handle, but him wanting to step in and then countering everything I have done. Does that make sense? It was really brought home to me the night before I posted this when the scenario I mentioned with my 6 yr old happened. While screaming & crying about what his father was doing he yelled, “I want God to be my ONLY father! He would listen to me! He would love me!” See, I had been teaching the kids about God and that very day we talked about how God is the *perfect* father. How He loves us so much that He was willing to die so we could have life. How He will lovingly admonish you when you are doing wrong and not punish out of spite. Sadly, the children are not seeing their father living out his life in God and I think that it is a BIG part of our problem. In fact, the BIGGEST part.

        And I do understand about him not needing to know every little thing that happens in the day-to-day home operations. I am trying very hard in only sharing the more important things. It is taking me some time, as he always wants to know “everything” that has gone on during the day. I am spending a LOT more time really thinking about what he needs to know about the day. (Mainly situations where we are continually having the same repeat problem that the kids refuse to correct after I have corrected them repeatedly for it.)

        I do so very much appreciate your response. And I can readily agree with everything you have said. I just keep coming back to the “if” part…if my husband was doing this based on a Biblical perspective that it would be easier to take (for me). Sadly his perspective is more along the lines of “my-dad-beat-me-at-least-I’m-not-doing-that” type of parenting. But you are so right – I can’t change him. I have to trust God to do that. So – back to my knees I go. Thank you again for taking the time to respond. It was spoken with love & taken in that manner. I am all for constructive Christian criticism from other women…especially when I know I can be my own worst enemy in situations involving my family! :)

        Blessings to you!

        • 6 arrows says:

          Erica,

          Thank you so much for your gracious and mature Christian response. :-) I appreciate your encouragement, too. This introvert does really worry and second-guess herself in just about everything she writes (especially on a post entitled “The Power of My Words in Relationships”, LOL!), so it’s good to know you could hear the loving spirit in which I intended to speak in the BOOK I wrote above. ;-)

          I understand it’s a hard situation being in an unequally-yoked marriage, as you are. I personally have not experienced that, and don’t feel confident addressing the matter, but there are others who have offered advice to Christian women in that position. Keeping in mind that the Bible is our first and foremost source of guidance (and I understand that you see it and use it as such — thanks for sharing that above, BTW!), I wanted to mention the book Created To Be His Helpmeet, by Debi Pearl. Though it is a controversial book, it does contain what I believe is very good advice on how a wife can respond biblically to a husband who is not following Christ. Perhaps in that book you may find something helpful for you in your situation, examining it in the light of scripture, of course.

          I was encouraged by the first part of this statement you made: Now-a-days he will talk about God, but his faith & trust is God is not on an even level with mine. That’s great your husband is talking about God! That is progress, and we’re all a work in progress. I know I’m not telling you anything new there. ;-) I wouldn’t concern myself with the level he’s at in his faith and trust in God. What matters more, I think, is the direction he’s moving in his spiritual journey, rather than his present position. I think it’s also helpful to avoid comparisons between where a husband and wife are on the faith continuum, as most of the time they’re not in the same place, anyway. If your husband has not gone to church in years, as I understand you to say — correct me if I’m wrong — but is now talking about God, then that is certainly cause for praise to God that he is moving in that direction! Keep praying, as I’m sure you are, and be encouraged!

          The other thing I wanted to say regards this statement of yours, Erica: The problem lies in him handing everything over to me to handle, but him wanting to step in and then countering everything I have done.

          Have you tried discussing with your husband what specific consequences will be administered for frequently-encountered behavior problems? If the most common problems are written on a chart, for instance, and the parental response to each specific problem is clearly outlined for the children to see so they know exactly what to expect in response to their misbehavior, then everyone, parents and children alike, have a clear idea of “this action = this response”.

          Of course, the best thing, though, is to work toward prevention, then there won’t have to be so much emphasis on cure. Keep the kids busy with useful work and engaging activities at home. Tie the strings of fellowship with them working side by side together, and there will be much less occasion for them to get out of line.

          I think that’s all I have to say now. ;-) Sorry you got another book from me! I’ll pray for you and your husband, Erica, and your children, also. Blessings to all of you, and thank you again for your kind response. :-)

          • Kara says:

            Hi again Erica,
            I also have the book by Debi Pearl. It was excellent resource for wives. I have not experienced what you have, but there is hope.
            1 Peter 3:1,2 “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation (how you live)of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.” It is good your husband is open to the Lord. Keep living for the Lord in truth and with God’s wisdom (which He gives freely to those who ask), and your husband will see this in you. Yes, also your knees are a wonderful place to be with the Lord. I agree with 6 arrows on all that she has shared, many wise words, so I will finish with the Lord’s words from Psalms 37:3-6 “Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.” This is an all-time favourite for many people. Tuck it away in your heart and mind.
            I would suggest asking your husband if he would like to read the Bible with you, even once or twice a week to start with. And don’t ask him about church yet, maybe reading the Bible with you will help him more. I pray God’s will be done for you and your family, and don’t give up.

            • 6 arrows says:

              These are great Bible verses you’ve quoted, Kara. A friend of mine asked a number of years ago in a ladies’ Bible study we were attending if anyone had any advice on what she could do to help her husband feel more comfortable about attending church with her (without directly asking him, I think). My friend who led the study pointed her to the verses you quoted from 1 Peter. That was several years ago, and now her husband (the husband of the first friend I mentioned) attends church with the whole family every week, and not only that, goes to Bible study with their older children. It is such a blessing to see how God can soften the heart of a husband through the prayers and behavior of a Godly wife.

              I love Psalm 37, also, which you quoted. My Confirmation passage was Psalm 37:5, “Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.” It’s held special meaning to me all these years since my confirmation, and I reflect on it regularly. It is so great, as you say, to tuck those special verses away into one’s heart and mind. The Lord always brings those verses to mind at just the right time.

              Thanks for your comments, Kara. I enjoy reading them, and I thank you for your kind words about mine. :-)

              • Erica says:

                I want to thank you BOTH for the helpful advice & great amounts of encouragement you have given me. I am going to read that book…in fact I think I have a friends with a copy that I am going to call immediately. She used it in a couples ministry she was doing and spoke highly of it. In hindsight it is possible she was trying to encourage me to read it without trying to offend me! :)

                I appreciate you both for taking the time to help me with this situation. I can’t tell you how much it means to me. Thank again & God bless you both!

            • Erica says:

              We talked about finding time for “us” in all the craziness of our lives…I think that on the nights that he let’s me decide what we’re going to do that I will suggest a small Bible study. And I know that he really enjoys reading Max Lucado…Father’s Day is right around the corner and I think it would be totally worth it to invest in some of his newer books as his gift.

  5. Blair says:

    Owwwwch Kelly!

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