I’ve learned that daily guarding my speech tone towards my husband is really important for our marriage. I don’t think I’m alone. As spouses, we often put our ‘best foot forward’ giving our most pleasant selves – to the rest of the world. Be that at work or school, to the other parents at kid drop off or to our bible study group.
We project kindness to all these people.
We interact nicely all day long. Even with complete strangers we encounter. (Dare I say, especially the strangers we encounter?!)
It just so happens that our spouses get us at our hardest times of day. Perhaps, first thing in the morning when we are focused on all that needs accomplishing in the next 12 hours, and how exactly we’re going to get everyone fed and out the door in the next 15 minutes. In our distraction, the attempted interactions from our spouse are things we dismiss with curt answers and annoyance. And if they still don’t get the hint, perhaps a blatant, “I don’t have time!”
I’m guilty of this.
As a working mom of 4, by the time my feet hit the carpet at 6 a.m. I’m already a nascar driver racing down the highway of my day. There’s no time to stop. No time for that cuddle. No time to answer questions that should have been asked the day before (obviously, insert eye roll here).
But even race cars take a pit stop. They need their oil checked and tires rotated, and they need to ensure everything is safely functioning, to finish the race. Is not the same true of our mornings and our marriages?
We are wise to take even a few moments to check in. This ensures that we’re connected, moving forward, and we’re safe and secure in our relationship before heading out into the day.
My husband also gets me at the end of the night – lucky him. The end of the day when tempers are a little shorter and fatigue is much greater. I feel like I’ve given and given all day, and now – I’m supposed to give more?!
But our priorities and mindset are mixed up if this is the avenue we take in our marriages. Because it’s not that we have to give more. No, it’s that we’re a part of something beautiful,
a relationship in which
We get to connect.
We get to give and receive.
We get to support and be supported.
We get to encourage and be encouraged.
We get to love and be loved.
At day’s end, I often get this wrong. Thinking our marriage, our relationship, is another to-do on my list. Instead, I ought to see it’s something alluring, something I committed to (remember the whole ‘to love and cherish’ thing?) I must realize the elements I bring to our relationship can contribute to it’s beauty – or steal it away.
The tone I contribute, either in my busy fast-paced morning or at my tired end-of-day grouchiness is a choice. It’s a choice that can change the entire feel of our home, our relationship, our feelings. Tone sets precedent for whether or not we’re excited to see each other – or just annoyed.
If we’re honest, it’s easy to see that none of us wants to:
Feel disrespected by verbal tones.
Feel like our very presence is annoying.
Be spoken to as though we are a child.
Feel things are demanded of us.
In fact, an air of frustration is the last thing any of us need in our tired evenings.
Choosing to change our tones to represent kindness in our marriages can change everything. Tones can change how we feel. They can make us feel love, respect and pleasure or they can make us feel anger, disrespect and annoyance.
Tones influence our desire to spend time together. I know I certainly don’t want to spend my quiet evening hours with someone who is constantly frustrated or disapproving of me.
Tones can change the very mood in our entire home; are we joyful with each others’ company or discouraged and discontent? It’s a choice.
The hidden treasure in choosing tones of kindness and love toward our spouse is – it’s free! Making the choice each day to watch the words that come out of our mouths doesn’t take extravagant planning, or require babysitters nor expensive dates. It simply means resolving in our head and heart to speak words which reflect our marriage vows. And, also represents the way we like to be spoken to.
Changing our tones daily and choosing our words wisely are simple ways to bring about significant change to our marriages. It takes thought, yes. It takes being intentional, yes. And it takes a desire, too. But it’s something we CAN do.