The Power Of Words
It is in my opinion that one of the biggest lies told to me as a child wasn’t that my boobs would grow after I had kids (which my mother would tell me. FYI, they didn’t. I had to purchase these beauties. Best money I ever spent.), or the tooth fairy, it was this:
“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”
There is nothing true about this statement. Verbal attacks can hurt worse than physical ones, and often times our physical pain heals but when words cut us the wound can be so deep as to change the course of our lives.
The Talmud, which is a Jewish book of knowledge, states that harm by speech can be worse then stealing or cheating! One can always pay back money that was stolen, but when words are spoken that hurt, often there is no reparation.
A Chasidic tale vividly illustrates the danger of improper speech: A man went about the community telling malicious lies about the rabbi. Later, he realized the wrong he had done, and began to feel remorse. He went to the rabbi and begged his forgiveness, saying he would do anything he could to make amends. The rabbi told the man, “Take a feather pillow, cut it open, and scatter the feathers to the winds.” The man thought this was a strange request, but it was a simple enough task, and he did it gladly. When he returned to tell the rabbi that he had done it, the rabbi said, “Now, go and gather the feathers. Because you can no more make amends for the damage your words have done than you can recollect the feathers.”
When speaking to your husband it is so easy to hurt him with words. We all know not to hit, but so many of us, myself included, forget that words can cut like a sword and the wounds can be deep. When we are emotionally hurt women (and men) use their words to defend themselves and their egos. I happen to have a very sharp tongue and this has been something I have been working on for the twelve years I have been married. When I feel insulted or angry it is so easy for me to cut my husband to his core. I know him better than anyone else, both his strengths and weaknesses, and I can exploit those weaknesses in order to hurt him the way I am hurt when we are fighting.
But I have learned the hard way that words can’t be erased. They can’t be taken back. There is no rewind. I have forced myself to retrain my brain by not letting all of my verbal garbage run out past my tongue and teeth and to THINK about what I am going to say before I say it, even when in a huge fight. It is so important to treat your husband with the respect you and he deserves, and that includes keeping the insults to yourself.
Included in speaking with kindness is not embarrassing anyone, especially not your husband.
“Whoever shames another in public is like one who sheds blood.”
The above is another Talmudic saying. The Jewish sages believed that when you embarrass someone it is akin to murder! Obviously that is a pretty harsh statement, but it goes to proving how important speaking with kindness was to those with wisdom. When someone is embarrassed they often flush red and the blood rises to the skin. This is the same as when we physically cut someone- the blood rises to the skin. I loathe being embarrassed more than any other feeling in the world, and that includes panic attacks, which I have had.
So why then would you embarrass your husband? I am not saying you do, but have you ever cut him off while he was telling a story you heard 100 times before? Or said the punchline to his joke? Or berated him in public? All of these things are embarrassing and should never be done in a marriage. When we are in public I make sure to support my husband 100% of the time, even when he is being an ass. I know I can always discuss how unhappy I was with his behavior once we are home, but in public I am there to support him. I make sure to always laugh at his jokes, even though I have heard it a million times. I do my best not to cut him off while he tells a story, or get angry at him in front of company, or reveal any of his weaknesses to others.
Words are incredibly powerful and as women we tend to use our words much more often then men do. We must be aware of how much power our words have and to not use them to cause pain to our spouses.