So, I’m reading this book called Seasoning Your Words because
sometimes most of the time, I need to be nicer in how I say things to people. The first chapter is discussing the positive qualities of salt and how seasoning your speech is both physically + spiritually beneficial to you and those around you. And reading that made me think: sometimes it’s good to talk to your partner like a child.
I’m the kind of friend who will tell you the truth because I don’t feel like it would do anyone justice to lie to them or to say what they want to hear. I’m only one chapter into the book and I’m already like dang, I need to get my life together. There are scriptures all over the Bible that talk about controlling your tongue + guarding your heart and your speech. There so many verses that this author made an entire book out of it…I’m really taking the hint…
So yeah, it’s a good idea to talk your partner like a child! I don’t mean in the belittling, “you are beneath me” sort of way, but have you thought of what would happen if you encouraged and gave your partner positive reinforcement in the way that you would a child who you want to see grow and succeed? I’m not suggesting mind games, but have you ever looked at a child and recognized when they needed a little more encouragement + motivation? On the other spectrum of it, how quickly is a child to speak the most flattering words when they really, really want the latest “need” it their life?
“Mom, you’re such a great mom and I love you so much! Can I have…?”
“Employee, I really appreciate the way that you took the time to organize all of that data!”
Totally works! And then I wonder why we aren’t nicer to each other to get the relationship that we want. One of my favorite quotes is an English proverb that says “you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” But let’s not look at this in a manipulative way.
3 Ways Positive Reinforcement Works to Your Advantage
- It comforts their spirit. Ephesians 4:29 says “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” As humans, we need compassion to thrive and survive. Just as a child will mess up and do the wrong things, the way in which you respond will reverberate through further interactions and determine the path of your relationship. You can yell at your wife for denting the car fender when she backs into a pole OR you can let her know that you’re upset that the vehicle sustained damage but you’re really glad that she’s safe and ok.
- It builds up their character. Kids are usually pretty fearless, but sometimes they doubt themselves + their abilities. Just as you would inspire a child to find the courage within themselves, adults are the same way. We each need to know that someone has our back and wants to see us succeed…to know that someone believes in us. You can tell your husband that his job is terrible and you wish he’d make a career change OR you can tell him how proud you are at how hard he works to provide for you and the family, even when it’s not under the best of circumstances.
- It reinforces your bond. I love to compliment my husband. I flirt with him constantly. I don’t do it to get anything out of him, but because I sincerely appreciate him and have to let him know. We had a funny conversation once. He told me that he didn’t feel threatened when other men talked to me. I knew that he didn’t have any reason to feel that way, but he let me know that because of the ways I built him up, that he had no reason to ever worry about me straying. You can use your words to endear a child to you OR you can say things that make them afraid of you and unwilling to trust you. The same goes with your partner. Your words can make or break the trust in your relationship.
When considering if you’re speaking with salty words, think about this: is what I say going to be easy to digest? Will my words satisfy and fill my partner? Will they be left starving for attention or affection when I’ve finished speaking with them?
What say you…literally?
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Katherine is the author of Wounds to Wisdom, The Marriage Advocate, and is the voice behind Yoked, an online ministry dedicated to helping women prepare themselves to be a wife. Married to her best friend, she is living out her purpose by encouraging others to enter into covenant marriages with their eyes wide open.