Words. Aren't they the most powerful tool on earth? I've been incredibly blessed with a circle of girlfriends in similar stages of life. We joined together and formed a monthly book club where we meet and occasionally even talk about a book. The rest of the time, we get caught up on life, share stories and plans and mull over situations. Most of us don't actually see one another on a regular basis or have any daily connecting spots like church or school so the fact that our book club has survived for years, is pretty amazing. Not only that, but we have lost members due to cross-country moves and gained new ones, yet the dynamic has always been relatively the same.
A few months ago the topic of discussion turned toward daily household situations, such as cleaning and getting kids showered and ready for bed, etc. (And the struggles therein. A lot of us were feeling like if we, as moms, weren't the ones pushing the boat, it wasn't going to move, so to speak.) What I love most about this group is that it seems to have an unspoken agreement that nobody rakes their men over the coals. Nobody. We might express frustration at life or how we've been feeling sometimes a bit invisible... or even at the way our guys do things differently than we do. But the conversation always keeps a balance of remembering our men's finer points, even while we're expressing frustrations. And we marvel at how they do daddy-hood a lot differently than we do mommy-hood. We inevitably end on laughter and shared agreement that we'd be lost without those good men in our midst; we also leave feeling supported that we're not the only one who has ever felt frustrated in their given role. Somehow this group of women I love and respect, all hold their husband in enough regard that nobody begins listing off all the things their spouse has failed in. Or all the ways they have irritated them or dropped the ball. We all know our guys are human and we know that we probably bug them from time to time too, but we want them to feel respected and know that when we gather, we're lifting them up and talking nicely about them behind their backs.
I know, as a married woman, that my words matter. And in marriage, often the words I choose when I am talking about my husband matter just as much as the ones I say directly to him. I've been reflecting on the fact that when I make a point to speak respectfully and build my man up, I begin talking that way to my children, my girlfriends and even strangers. It's like a biblical snowball effect that has lasting impact. I don't always get it right, none of us do... but I do know that there is nothing like seeing the lift in your man's broad shoulders when you tell him that he's the greatest. Or that you think he does something really well. Building people up with honest encouragement, not false flattery, is like a miracle cure and I think every relationship that we're a part of as moms can benefit.
How do you speak to your spouse? How do you speak about them, to others? Remembering that we're all a work in progress, and kicking condemnation to the curb for past failings, are you with me as we work to build up the men (and others) in our lives both to their faces and behind their backs?
"Don’t use bad language. Say only what is good and helpful to those you are talking to, and what will give them a blessing." Ephesians 4:29