Here are some specific ways of speaking with patience, kindness and respect to your spouse:
- “Sweetie, may I ask for a special favor? It would really mean a lot to me if you could… Thank you. I really appreciate it.” (If your spouse refuses your request, you can say “Thank you for considering my request. Would you please pray that I can find a different way to solve this problem? I’m just really not sure what to do about it. Thank you. It means so much to me to have you in my life.” If you cannot say this with a straight face, spend some time thinking about your life without your spouse in it at all. Don’t replace him/her with the fantasy spouse that does not exist (no matter what your friends and family tell you.) Think of yourself as completely alone. Remember to appreciate what your spouse does add to your life, even if (s)he can’t be everything to you. No one can be everything.
- “You look nice today.”
- “You smell good.”
- “Thank you for _____ (dinner, washing the dishes, going to the meeting at the school, working so hard for the family, etc.)” Think about what your spouse is already doing and tell him/her you appreciate it!
- “My Darling, could you tell me when you will be finished in the kitchen? I have some things I need to do in there when you are done. Thanks.” And then wait. It will not kill you to wait. If you don’t have 5 minutes to wait for someone to move before you start pushing them around, you need to start building more cushion in your life. You are too pressed for time if this is the case.
- When you really want to be advanced, you can say “How can I help you today? Is there anything I can do to make your day a little easier for you?”
- “You are my treasure. How precious you are to me!”’
- “I am so lucky to have you in my life.”
- When your spouse is having a hard time, “Sweetie, what you are doing isn’t easy. I so appreciate how hard you are working for our family. I could not do what I do if you weren’t doing what you do.”
This list is by no means exhaustive. Get creative with your choice to be kind. Remember also, that NOT saying something mean is another way of practicing this habit. Be aware of wanting to point out your spouse’s faults, or of wanting to call him/her names, etc. Yes, I know you are upset. Spouses who engage in domestic violence are upset. Hitler was upset. We can still choose to control our speech, and our actions. If you find yourself in a rage, find a way to leave the room, until you can calm down. When you mess up (we all do!), ask forgiveness, forgive yourself, and start again. Train yourself to speak with patience, kindness and respect. Soon, it will feel very easy and natural.