Reverse Damage Done in Your Marriage by Doing This [PLUS! Couple’s Guide]

Has your spouse said something to you recently that felt like it drew the very air right from your lungs?  Have they said something years ago that still boils beneath the surface? Maybe it made you feel like a failure or as though you had no value.  I have been there.  I have been dealt painful blows from the words my husband has said; I have also been the one to deal those blows to him.  It can begin a cycle of hurt that leads to divorce.

Don’t let words spoken in anger or hurt destroy your marriage any further.  Making this adjustment is a huge way to turn any marriage headed for divorce around.


 Back to Basics

On the Water Ministries is my full time job, along with being a full time student. I walked away from my cushy corporate job almost a year ago with the encouraging support of my husband. We knew coming in that serving the Lord full time would not be a route to financial freedom. From the beginning, we began to change our lifestyle. We got rid of every unnecessary expense (having been pretty spoiled most of my life, it was surprising to see all I believed to be necessary, not be, in reality :))

Things Don’t Always Go as Planned

This lifestyle change has been both a blessing and a struggle. My husband has embraced the role of provider and stepped up so amazingly. At the same time, it’s easy for him to become burnt out. One evening my husband was not relieved from his shift by the night person. It was a last minute change and Ben knew he would need to stay and work until the following morning at 8am. We had a full day planned that would begin with our usual 7:40 alarm. After his shift was over, he arrived home at 8am and went straight to sleep. After only 4 hours of rest, he awoke and was ready to meet with our marriage counseling clients early that afternoon. Not a single complaint came from his mouth. He was tired. I knew it and he knew it. But he pressed on.

Words of Encouragement

We snuck in a late lunch really quick before he had to return to work for his usual late afternoon shift. He was fading. I did not plan it, but the next words I spoke revealed the very power words have.

“Baby,” I started, “I know how important it is for you to provide for us and I see that you have put this as a priority. That means so much to me. You are so strong and I am so proud of you for working so hard for us.”

Then it happened.

Building Up with Words

It was as if a cool breeze of pure oxygen met his lungs and revived him. He inhaled my words deeply. As his chest raised, his energy, clarity, and focus increased instantaneously. It was as if he was coming back to life. It was an amazing sight. He thanked me and was quick to respond to me with kindness and appreciation for my share of the success of our household. This moment was so tender and special, it renewed us both and sustained us until we were able to spend time together when he got home that evening.

The Power in the Words We Speak

The power of words seems simple. We are taught “Sticks and stones…” BUT words do have the power both to destroy, but also, revive.

“Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.”

Proverbs 16:24

This verse has 2 aspects: God’s words to us and our words to each other.

God’s words to us:

When we read the word of God (Bible), He is speaking to us his gracious words. They are words of mercy, love, kindness, and delight. The word “gracious” in the ESV depicts a portrait of God “stooping or bending down” to us out of precious love for us [1]. It is a picture of him lowering himself to our level to share with us. What a beautiful picture to see the God of all creation stooping down as if to whisper his kindness, love, grace, and mercy to us. These are words of life to our spirit. They have to power to overcome any bad thoughts or feelings we have. They have the power to guard us, save us, and heal us.

What to do?

-Read your bible.
You have heard it before, but I cannot stress it enough. If you are fairly new to the bible, begin with the book of John. Also, if the idea of studying the bible is foreign or intimidating, there are a lot of resources available.

-Take a pause.
During the day, give yourself time to hear from God. On a break, choose to set your phone aside for even 5-10 minutes and breathe. Sometimes the quiet space may need to be with some headphones in playing soft instrumental music or it may be in your car or even a bathroom stall.

Our words to each other:

What we say and how we say it can make or break our relationship.  If you are anything like we are, it can be easy to get caught in the entanglement of what we call throwing darts at each other. One of us says something hurtful or took something to be hurtful, so the other throws something hurtful back and the cycle continues. When these moments happen, they steal the very oxygen from our lungs. We feel down physically, emotionally, and spiritually. 


We can share words that bring oxygen to our lungs, like Ben and I did that morning. Gracious words we share with others, specifically our spouse should be words that are: kind, pleasant, merciful, loving, comforting, and encouraging.  This verse reminds us that words like this also have healing power from person to person.

What to do:

Husbands: Explain and clarify your words

In the absence of information, your wife may fill in the blanks herself. This can cause emotional outbursts or thoughts that are very different from your own or what you intended. It is helpful to add more detail and explain your thoughts and insights further to help her understand.

Wives: Respectfully ask, instead of criticizing.

We all know what it feels like to be criticized from a friend or relative, maybe even a parent. It does not make us feel good. Yet, we find ourselves correcting or criticizing our husbands when they fail to meet our standard of perfection that, if we are being entirely honest, we fail to meet ourselves, regularly. Thank your husband for what he does to help out and graciously come behind him to take care of details he missed. Or ask him respectfully if he would return to take care of the few things missed.

Begin communicating more effectively together with this week’s Couple’s Guide: Reverse Damage through your words in your marriage

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THANK YOU for taking the time to read. It is our prayer that this material enriches and encourages you and your marriage. If this touched you or put someone you know on your heart, please SHARE THIS with them so we can improve their marriage too!

Share your comments!
What could you say to your spouse today that would put air back in their lungs?
What is your biggest takeaway from this article?


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[1] ESV Study Bible. Crossway 2008