CELEBRATING GOD'S FAITHFULNESS
Relationships Love Language ~ The Power of Words ~ "Don't underestimate the power of words!"
The Power of Words
Dr. Gary Chapman
"Don't underestimate the power of words!"
That's what my mother told me when my dad was deployed in World War II. For them, it was true because she wrote Dad a letter every day. And he wrote her every time he had a free minute. The letters may have been a month late, but they brought news from home. And they expressed love. Mom and Dad stayed connected though separated by the miles and months.
In today's world, with computers and wireless phones, staying connected is easier than ever. Staying connected while apart is the best way to make re-entry sweet. If you are disconnected during deployment, it takes time to re-establish intimacy. If one of you has violated trust by being unfaithful, it takes genuine confession and forgiveness; then it follows the often slow process of rebuilding trust.
For the average couple who stays somewhat connected while deployed and remain true to each other, re-entry can be heavenly; with perhaps a few hellish moments. Whatever problems you had before deployment did not go away while you were apart. You must
start, not where you left off, but where you are now. That means, taking time to talk and listen. It means sharing what has happened while the two of you have been apart. Obviously, there is not time to relive all the experiences, but if you are to reconnect, you must share some of what has transpired.
Don't underestimate the power of words. They can make or break a relationship. Such statements as, "I missed you. I'm proud of you. You look great; I am glad you are home," communicate love to the one who has been deployed. While "You did a such a good job with the things while I was away. I'm so lucky to have you as a husband/wife. You look fabulous. I am so glad to be home again," communicate encouragement to the one who stated at home. No matter what has happened, beginning with positive words creates a climate for reconstruction.
This does not mean that you cannot voice your concerns, but even this need to be done in a positive way. "I know I may be misreading this. There are probably some things I don't know. But I felt concerned when...." This kind of statement is not condemning, but seeks information to clarify the situation. You can process your differences so long as you do not condemn each other. When you condemn and harshly criticize, you may create a war that is more volatile than the one from which you have returned.
The motif of a good marriage is mutual support and encouragement. Questions like, "What could I do to help you? How can I make your life easier? How could I best show my love to you?" express an attitude of helpfulness and will likely be well received by your spouse. Reaching out to help each other, you become partners in life, which is what marriage is all about.
The greatest detriment to such positive partnership is selfishness. Perhaps both of you feel that you have gone through a difficult period of life and you deserve a little pampering. However, when you focus on yourselves and start demanding things of each other, you become enemies. When you freely and genuinely reach out with the attitude of helping your spouse, you both become winners. Successful re-entry occurs when both partners seek the well being of the other.
Marsha, the wife of an enlisted man captured it all when she said "After all he had been through, I could not believe it when he came home and said, 'It was a hard deployment. But I'm home now and I'm here to serve you.' Of course, I wanted to serve him. What wife wouldn't respond positively to a husband who has that attitude?"
Editor's Note: Excerpt of an article Dr. Chapman wrote for Military Spouse Magazine several years ago.