You Never, You Always: The Effect of Our Words on Others

“You’re going to drop that.”  “You’re always late.”  “You never notice how I look.”  “Your room is always a mess.”  “You never have time for me.”
[break][/break]Have words like these escaped your lips lately?
[break][/break]Yes, you’re busy.  In the stress of the moment, in trying to get several things done at once, you might voice your frustration to your husband and children.  The frustration (and the words) started in your head.  And you’re speaking those things over your loved ones.
[break][/break]What happens when we hear words like these?  Let’s say someone says to you, “You did a terrible job cleaning the kitchen.  Here, wipe off the cabinet.  Put that bag of chips away.  Why didn’t you clean off the stovetop?”
[break][/break]Does this make you want to get right to work and do an excellent job cleaning the kitchen?
[break][/break]Probably not. 
[break][/break]Instead you’re likely to feel resentful or angry.  You might do the work, but probably not with enthusiasm.  Being asked a “why didn’t you” question usually makes you feel defensive.
[break][/break]Rewind.  You did a rotten job on kitchen, it’s true, but someone approached you like this:  “Hey, you’ve really been working in here.  I’ll put the chips away while you wipe off the cabinet.  After you clean off the stovetop this kitchen is going to shine.  Thanks for helping!”
[break][/break]Those simple words would have an entirely different effect.  You might even do a few extras to make sure the kitchen looked great.
[break][/break]What if we expected the best from people and spoke to them accordingly?  Especially those in our home?
[break][/break]What if we treated people better then they deserve?  That’s the definition of mercy.
[break][/break]Most of the time people will unconsciously try to live up to expectations.
[break][/break]There was a wife who started saying to her husband when he was irritable and angry, “Oh, honey, that’s not like you to get angry.  You’re usually so patient.  You must be tired.”  Within a short time her usually bad-tempered husband changed.  He lived up to her expectations.
[break][/break]To think the best of your husband could change how you treat him, and that could very well change him.  As wives, we have so much power in our husband’s lives it’s almost scary.
[break][/break]Instead of assuming that he meant to neglect you, assume that he’s busy and try to think how to encourage him.
[break][/break]Instead of being aggravated that “he only wants one thing,” (and thinking those thoughts with a martyr’s sigh), choose to anticipate and participate like you did when you were a newlywed.
[break][/break]Instead of saying negative, irritated words to your family, change your thoughts and then speak life-giving words to them.
[break][/break]Instead of accusing words like “You never” and “You always,” speak hope-filled words like “Thanks so much” and “I appreciate that.”  It will change the atmosphere in your home.  It could change their behavior.  And it might even change you.
[break][/break]Please leave a comment…
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8 Comments

  1. Wow, I found myself not liking the title before I even read the article, because I thought it was going to be about how I did something wrong! And I did get defensive before I saw what it was about. But I am guilty of speaking that way to especially my kids.  I love the twist on speaking as though they ARE going to finish the job, and complimenting them on how well they have done the job so far.   It is a really great way to build them up.  Why have I never seen a practical way to implement that before?  I have always just told them AFTER they did a great job, but not WHILE they were still working, adding that I knew they were going to complete the task, and do it well.  My son is always a slowpoke.  I will have to try telling him how quickly he gets things completed, and see how that motivates him.  He is very diligent once he gets going, but sometimes slow to start.

  2. Great post!  It really IS amazing.  I have found this to be true over the years, and I can’t believe how much the power of words has controlled our home for both good and evil.  Thank you for the encouragement.  I am new to your site.  I discovered it through the Heavenly Homemakers blog.  I visited your page to learn more about TTapp, which I bought and LOVE!!!!  Just had my eighth baby and Theresa’s workout has been SO what I needed.  I figured if a mother of 12 could fit it into her schedule, so could I.  Thank you for the great posts and all of the encouragement.
    Amber Rogers
     

  3. I agree completely, Charlotte!  Hubby and I have been married over 32 years and are more in love than ever.  We chose to bless and encourage each other every day – and that has made all the difference in the world.

  4. Thanks, Charlotte! Excellent post ! I do not have much time to read these days, but I am so glad I read this. In less than a week, from three different sources , God seems to be saying ” let no corrupt ( unwholesome) communication proceed out of your mouth , but that which is good to the use of edifying , that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” I suppose “communication” can refer to words AND facial expressions , body language ,etc…

  5. Charlotte, thanks for this!  I found that God was speaking to me though your post and helped me to realize how negative I have been towads my husband without even realizing it.  This is exacltly what I needed to hear. 

  6. The power of our words IS amazing.  Even the words we use for ourselves.  I had a really “busy” month in February and was not looking forward to it.  I changed my thinking to my “exciting” month coming up.  I had to catch myself a lot when I kept saying busy, but within a week or two I was looking forward to February and it actually was a very exciting month. 

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