Jack and I are in love!  In spite of that, we don’t make a big deal about Valentine’s Day.  I think it’s great if couples enjoy celebrating Valentine’s Day, but a loving relationship is so much more than flowers and candy once or twice a year.

If I could give married couples just one word of advice that would improve their relationship, I would share with them this one thing that I have tried to practice in my own marriage.  It’s seems like such a simple thing, but it’s not easy.  This Valentine’s Day, I’m challenging all of you who read this to put into practice this bit of advice in all of your relationships, especially your marriage.

What is this one thing?  Speak with a kind tone of voice.

I’ll admit to you, that this is difficult for me.  I am the queen of sarcasm, and I can almost always think of a witty, and often caustic, remark suitable for most any occasion. But in the interest of my marriage relationship, I’ve had to curb this tendency to hurl sarcastic, demeaning words at Grandpa.  While this advice is great for marriages, the same is true for all relationships.  I know there are times when I have hurt others with my words.  I’ve sacrificed someone else’s feelings for a laugh or to satisfy my own sense of superiority.

A wise fellow teacher told me once that sarcasm slays respect.  And he was certainly right about that!  God tells us in His Word, “A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.” (Prov. 15:1 NLT)

We can say sooo much with the tone of our voice.  Consider this scenario:  Your spouse or your child calls to you from another room.  When you answer with the words, “What do you want?”, we can, with our tone of voice, say to that person, “I love you, and I’m here for you” or “You are a nuisance and a bother to me” or “Whatever you want can’t possibly be as important as what I am doing right now.”

My challenge to you for this Valentine’s Day is not to buy your loved one flowers or candy or even to cook him or her a special meal.  My challenge to you is to purpose to give the gift of respect and affirmation by speaking to those you love with a kind and gentle tone of voice.

I wrote last week about having a cozy home, and, honestly, no home will ever feel cozy and welcoming if the people who live there don’t speak to each other in a loving and respectful way with our words and with our tone.

Will you take the challenge?  If so, let me know what a difference it makes in your marriage and other relationships.  It WILL make a difference!

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