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Are you sharing affirmative, appreciative words with your spouse?
Are you sharing affirmative, appreciative words with your spouse? (iStock photo)

We all know that words are powerful and lasting. I can all too easily recall hurtful things that have been said about me and that I've said to others, and you can probably do the same.

As I said in my blog, 5 Toxins of the Tongue That Can Poison Your Marriage, words have the power to poison and even kill relationships. But we often overlook the fact that words can also be used for good. Just as we know words can tear down, it's time to understand how powerfully words can also build a person up.

Why not start building up your spouse now with these 5 types of words that breathe life into your marriage?:

1. Respectful Words. After years of being married, it's easy to become comfortable with one another. But sometimes that comfort can turn into a lack of respect when you are no longer are careful with what comes out of your mouth. As I mentioned in my blog, The Dangers of Complaining to Your Kids About Your Spouse, choosing to speak respectfully to your spouse, and about your spouse, means choosing words that will honor them, not undermine them. [Click to Tweet] It also means choosing words that affirm their judgment and abilities like, "I really respect the decision you made."

2. Affirming Words. I can tell you from experience that our need for affirmation doesn't disappear with age. My wife and I both still desire to be validated by one another—and we desire that validation often. Cherish your spouse by saying things like, "You did a great job coaching our child on how to handle that issue" or "I was so impressed by the leadership you showed at work today."

3. Caring Words. It's easy to choose to dismiss your spouse's need to talk about their day or what's going on in their life. We'd rather check Twitter, send an email, or focus on the kids. But I encourage you to sit down and give your full attention to your spouse when they need someone to turn to. Speak caring words to them in a moment when they are weak and need to know someone is still on their side. "I'm so sorry to hear that..." or "Tell me more about how you are feeling" are caring words that will breathe life into your relationship.

4. Encouraging Words. Truett Cathy, Founder of Chick-fil-A, once asked me..."Mark, how do you know if someone needs encouragement?" I said, "I don't know, Truett, how?" He responded, "If they are breathing!" Everyone needs to hear words of encouragement, especially our spouses. So let's encourage them to press on when they are down. Let's inspire them with our words.

5. Appreciative Words. Finally, it's important to speak words of appreciation to your spouse. No one wants to feel taken for granted. Keep your eyes open for ways to express appreciation to your spouse. "I really appreciate you helping me with the laundry this week" or "I'm so grateful for your help on that project" are the types of words that will uplift your spouse and encourage them to serve you even more.

10 More Things Wives Want to Hear from Their Husbands and 10 More Things Husbands Want to Hear from Their Wives will give you even more of these types of words that will breathe life into your marriage.

What types of words to you want to speak more of to your spouse?

Mark Merrill is the president of Family First. For the original article, visit

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