Words That Feel, Heal, Deal, Reveal
By Rob Maroney
For our 10th wedding anniversary my wife, Roxanne, and I took a vacation to Hawaii with our best friends. We were two young couples with small children at home and made arrangements to get away for a week all by ourselves. This was a long-overdue trip with people we loved and enjoyed being with. However, it was also a time when I was restless with my work, struggling with financial pressures of a growing family, and feeling uncertain about future career direction. In addition, I was not feeling good about myself as a husband.
Sitting in our beach house in Hawaii I was watching the other couple we were with. They were laughing, joking with each other, getting ready to head out to the beach for the day. My friend’s wife was acting carefree and playful, and I was envious. Inside, I was thinking “why don’t I feel like that?” In an embarrassingly weak moment, I looked at Roxanne and asked, “why can’t you be more like her?” Okay…I know what you’re thinking… “Are you kidding me?” That’s the kind of lame comment you hear from a clueless guy on The Bachelorette, right before he gets a drink thrown in his face. Definitely not my most shining moment!
Researchers from Harvard University estimated there are over 1,000,000 words in the English language, and that the number grows by several thousand each year. The average person knows about 20,000 words and uses 2,000 different words a week. Women and men both speak about 16,000 words a day on average. You would think with all these options, I could have chosen better words at the time.
The truth is, I couldn’t acknowledge what was really going on inside of me, or at least hoped to push these uncomfortable feelings away. But the growing fear, anxiety, and dissatisfaction with my life was leaking out in many ways. As I became more uncomfortable with myself, I created unrealistic expectations of others and it leaked out in criticism and sarcasm. In other words, my choice of words became a weapon and my reckless comment did more damage than good.
One clear indicator of a man’s moral compass is right speech. Considering the impact of our words, we must discipline ourselves to speak in ways that convey respect, gentleness and humility. Gary Chapman in his book, Love as a Way of Life uses the vivid metaphor for words as being either ‘bullets or seeds’. If we use our words as bullets with a feeling of superiority and condemnation, relationships will suffer. If we use our words as seeds to make deposits of connection and intimacy, relationships will grow in positive and life-affirming ways.
An article in the Huffington Post stated, “Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble” (Huffington Post). What a powerful summary!
The writer of Proverbs gives sound wisdom and advice on the power of our words.
The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 12:18
Choose words that Feel…Heal…Deal…Reveal
Words that “FEEL” are words of openness, vulnerability and intimacy that say, “I know what I feel and choose to share myself with you.” You are saying, “I will be authentic and trust you with what I am feeling.” When you choose words that “FEEL” you acknowledge the importance of your own awareness of your internal state and the impact of expressing it to another person.
Words that “HEAL” are words of relational repair and forgiveness that say, “I value this relationship and I trust you.” You are saying, “I am secure enough to own my own stuff and unforgiveness will not be a barrier to trust or block love. I do not judge you.”
Words that “DEAL” are words that recognize when repair is needed and bring words of hope that say, “I need you; it’s important to repair and resolve conflict, and I have hope for the future.”
Words that “REVEAL” give Affirmation and invite Connection. They say, “I see you; I know you; I want you to know me. I believe in you; I see beyond the external and affirm what’s inside – your character. I see God working in your life…and will tell you what I see. I reveal my heart to you…to be truly known by you. There are no secrets.”
Choose words of LIFE!
Meet Rob Maroney
Rob Maroney and his wife, Roxanne, live in Orange County, CA and have been married 44 years. They have 3 grown children and 11 grandchildren. They are in private practice and coach regularly on marriage and healthy relationships. After over 4 decades marriage, Rob and Roxanne know how common it is for relationships to get stuck. They have a passion for helping men and women learn how to break free of the destructive patterns that keep people stuck, and how to apply new habits of the heart. Rob has an M.S. degree in Psychology, advanced diplomas in Biblical Counseling, Christian life Coaching, and Gottman Therapist Training.
Heartfelt gratitude to Rob Maroney for contributing this week’s blogs. Rob is a vital part of the leadership team who brings you Unbreakable Bond resources and Rescuing the Rogue program. Look for more from Rob in 2020.
I hope today’s blog has encouraged you. Make sure you sign up to receive blogs posted every Tuesday and Thursday. TransformingFamilies.org resources are designed to guide you through the restoration process of developing your heart, mind, and strength, enabling you to become the man God created you to be.
I also provide one-on-one coaching, if you want to improve your relationships, let’s connect through e-mail at ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’. My hope for you is that through these blogs, references, and resources, God will transform you from being bruised or broken to an abundantly blessed man.