110. The Rhythm of Speaking Life

There are a thousand ways we could choose to live our life together. We have a thousand different voices pulling at us from a thousand different directions at all times. We all have a vision for the life we want, but until we put purpose, intentionality, and action behind that vision, we will remain stuck in the current of the world around us. We need a set of intentional rhythms to guide us toward the life and marriage we envision. Join Chris and Jenni Graebe on a journey of learning together what it means to craft a “rule of life” both individually and together as a couple. Leave behind the busy life of chaos and hurry, and learn to move toward a meaningful life of joy and intention. Rhythm 1: Speaking Life The tongue has the power of life and death. Proverbs 18:21 Words create. God’s Word creates. Our words can participate in the creation. Eugene Peterson Think of the couples you admire most in your life. One thing we’ve noticed time and time again is that any thriving couple who has made it together over the long haul just has this incredible way of talking about each other, with a deep sense of admiration and respect. Take it to the bank. This foundational sense of deep respect simply must be present in order for a couple to thrive. Even in moments of conflict and frustration, there’s still an underlying sense of appreciation to lean on that keeps the couple strong. It’s so important in a marriage to be able to respect each other as people. One of the things that sealed the deal for me with Chris, even when we were just friends, was how respected I felt by him. He just had this way of always noticing the absolute best in me and holding it up for the world to see. Things that I couldn’t even see in myself. The words we speak to each other create the culture between us. If the environment of our relationship is filled with words of criticism and contempt, no amount of romantic gestures will make a dent of difference. But we hold the power to change the environment of our relationship simply by changing our words. 1. Affirm the Good So, what are some practical ways we can begin to grow in this rhythm? Here’s the easiest place to begin: When you think something nice, say it out loud. This sounds very simple, I know—but it’s often the simplest things that can make the biggest difference. I realize this practice will be easier for some than for others. When we first got married, this rhythm of speaking life did not come naturally to me at all. Over time, however, as I saw how important it was to Chris, and how easy it was for him to affirm those around him, this rhythm began to rub off on me. Just like everything else in life worth pursuing, speaking life takes practice. Give yourself plenty of grace and time, but just begin. When you think something nice, say it out loud. Awkward as it may be at first, just give it a try, and then another, and another. Over time, your spouse will begin to hold their head higher, and even grow stronger in the areas you take the time to intentionally acknowledge and affirm. When he does the dishes, even if it’s not the way you would like them done, thank him and affirm his thoughtfulness. When she musters up the courage to try something new, even if she’s wobbly at first, shower her with praise for the grit and guts it takes to tackle a new skill. There will always be plenty of good to affirm and plenty of faults to criticize. The choice is ours. What will we choose to acknowledge and affirm? Remember, with each blessing we speak, we’re contributing to the reality of the person they’re becoming. 2. Affirm the Gift We can take speaking words of life to a whole new level when we pray for eyes to notice and name the gifts and callings God has given our spouse. No one knows them better than you do, and no one’s opinion matters more than yours. We both entered our marriage as a whole person with dreams, gifts, and abilities.