WORDS MY WIFE WILL NEVER HEAR ME SAY
The old saying “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me” is simply not true. Words can hurt. Words carry a lot of weight. In fact, Scripture teaches that death and life are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21).
And as powerful as words are in general, their impact is magnified exponentially within marriage. A compliment from my wife carries far more weight to me than it does if it comes from someone else. Likewise, with that power, she has the ability to hurt me with her words in a way that no one else does.
I’ve seen this in my own marriage time and time again. When I get tired or upset, I notice my words or my tone become ammunition that gets aimed at my wife. Whether or not I intend them to be, my words can be daggers to the woman who means more to me than any other person on the planet.
Because what we say matters.
And while I know that I will continue to fall short in this regard, I have promised my wife that there are certain words she will never hear me say.
That no matter how many other ways I may fail her, I will be extremely intentional about not letting certain painful words come out of my mouth.
My wife will never hear me say, “She’s attractive.”
For as long as I live, I will never tell my wife that another woman is physically attractive. I will never tell her that a certain celebrity is hot or that one of her friends is pretty. She will never hear me use the word beautiful to describe anyone but her.
In our world today, my wife is bombarded with the message that she needs to be prettier or skinner or sexier than the next girl. She is constantly fed the lie that her self-worth and identity is embodied in her physical appearance. Like every other woman, she is faced with the temptation to compare herself to the women she sees on TV or on social media.
As her husband, my job is to love her like Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25). To love her unconditionally. To cherish her above all else in this life.
And just as importantly, it is my job to make sure she is aware of her beauty and value and worth independent of what the world says.
I never want my wife to wonder if I find her attractive. The possibility that she may have any doubt about that can only be increased if she hears me say that some other woman catches my eye. It may seem harmless, but those words matter. Because consciously or subconsciously, women have been trained to compare themselves to other women. So if I say that a certain woman is attractive, my wife will instinctively notice everything about that woman that is different from her.
The Bible commands me to show honor to my wife by loving her with understanding (1 Peter 3:7). That understanding includes recognizing her emotional needs and the temptations that she faces as a woman in our culture today. And while men are not immune from this either (and so my wife also will not tell me how physically attractive some other guy is), women have been programmed from an early age to compare their physical appearance with the unrealistic standards placed before them on television and social media.
So my wife will never hear me say that another woman is attractive. In fact, she wouldn’t even be able to catch me thinking it.
Because in my mind, she alone is the very embodiment of physical attraction.