How to Heal Your Marriage

Relationships that work are more give than take.

You must give first, not stingily last. If you give, it will not return to you void.

What does your wife want, above all else? To be cherished and adored. Why don’t you give her that?

What does your husband want, more than anything? To be really needed and tenderly nurtured. Why won’t you give him that?

I had a very tough week. My wife gave me
calla lilies. She knows how to love me.

If you want to heal your marriage, love your wife the way she wants to be loved. Find out how she wants to be loved by talking to her—a lot—then love her that way. She will repay you a thousand times.

If you want to heal your marriage, be strong and independent, but love your husband with gentle, kind, tender, nurturing words. It is an irresistible force. It is the power that holds the universe together. Nothing can compare to it.

Listen to her. Stop judging him. Sacrifice for her. Retire your sharp evening words forever.

Ask as many questions as you have to ask to get to the bottom of what is bothering her. (This takes courage.) Listen with both eyes and both ears. Take notes and write them on your soul. 

Even though he has a tough time talking about what he is feeling, put a hand on his back and let him know that you really appreciate him. Appreciating him will help him understand himself, and if he understands himself, he’ll have more to say.

Your marriage can work, but you have to stop waiting for him to “get it,” or for her to stop begging for your attention with bitter words. You have to act. First.

It’s time to take out the white flag and wave it high. Recreate your love life by not waiting for someone else to do something different.

“Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men [and women] give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again” (Luke 6:38).

If you are angry and unhappy, there is something true that you don’t believe. What is it?

Believe the truth and live it. It will never let you down.

But the price is everything. That’s the exchange rate. Nothing less.

(If you are not getting what you really want, you are holding back.)

More on Words Are Fire

Continuing yesterday’s musings, I assure you that I have’t figured the language thing out yet, but I’m on a path that’s much higher than the one I was on when I was 17, higher yet than the one I was on in 1993, even higher than a year ago.

Remember the old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”? I’ve never believed it. When I was young, words hurt me a lot. They crushed me. They still do.

I am getting out of the business of shabby words. I no longer want to be a perpetrator or victim.

But I most definitely am not there yet. Every day, I regret something I say, analyze and over analyze my words, and find myself apologizing for something I said. It is unamusing.  Mortality is not over, so my battle continues.

But I don’t fret over setbacks. I expect them. Plan on them. And I know what to do when they come along: move on, quickly.

Most of all, I refuse to defend my naked ego—a pitiful little form of myself that inspires no awe.

When I feel defensive—and I often do—I know that I am fighting a losing battle. Why not save my energy for something worthwhile? I accept my weaknesses but I don’t cling to them.

You may or may not believe in the existence of the unseen enemies of God. They are real, and our battle with them goes on. They prefer to work anonymously, but when they get desperate, they make the mistake of showing themselves.

They are a bitter, unhappy bunch, driven by the worst motivations. They pursue us with wild-eyed fear. They know their time is short. They will try anything and stop at nothing. They have forgotten decency and honor no boundaries. They feel immorally obligated to tear down, and if they can, destroy, the children of light.

I am familiar with their language. You probably are too. They like us to quote them. In fact, they take fiendish delight when we do. I myself have given their ilk much delight over the years. As time passes, I am more and more aware of their schemes and purposes and how I have been deceived by them.

I know if I say anything in the heat of anger, anything tainted in the least by spite, pride, aggrandizement, or selfishness, that I am serving a puny god.

I work hard not to do it, and if I do, I work hard to correct it and pray for the strength and grace to do so.

I must close for now, but here is another passage that helps me when I give license to the natural man: 

Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. . . . Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. (Matthew 12:34–37.)

I have more to confess on this subject (it occupies my mind) but that must come on another day.

Our Words Are Fire

I have danced and wrestled with words my whole life. My father taught me how to court them, pay attention to them, and to love them.

One of the most memorable gifts Dad ever gave me was a little volume of Shakespeare’s sonnets and love poems. On the day he gave that book to me, he confessed that he had taken a similar volume with him when he went into the service in 1944. He carried it in a duffel bag throughout the war.

When I asked him what a word meant when I was a boy, Dad would often say: “Look it up.” That was some of the best career advice I ever got. Fifty years later, I still look up words every day. I even read the dictionary on a regular basis. (Hey, I heard that! “Word geek.”)

To say that I love words is vastly understating the case. I want them to love me back so I have to take care of them. This love is conditional.

I used a lot of bad language when I was a boy. It went on for years until one day the Spirit healed my mind. It literally happened in one day. It was not gradual. It was like a divine hand turned off a switch. I was 17 years old. I have never gone back to my cowboy-word days.

Our words are our words. We own them unless we let them own us.

Our words are fire. They are the embers of our souls. They can sanctify or destroy, save or condemn.

They are investments that either lose or gain value, depending on how we use them. They are enchantments that vex or heal.

Words cannot escape your lips without your permission. Don’t give any words that you don’t like permission to leave your body. (The next step is to not let them live in your body, but that discussion is for another day.)

How we use them is our choice, but sometimes they feel out of control. If they feel that way for you, I have something you can try: Create a fire line.

One tactic for fighting wildfires is to get out ahead of the fire and cut a gash in the terrain to stop the fire—to clear away any flammable material so the fire has nothing to burn.

The fire line I’m suggesting is a commitment on principle, a commitment so strong that when a destroying fire reaches it, it has nothing to burn.

Here is one fire line I have adopted:

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. (Ephesian 4:29–32.)

I have memorized these verses. I repeat them to myself often. With spiritual mortar I have laid them into my foundation. Another favorite verse:

And that which doth not edify is not of God, and is darkness. (D&C 50:23.)

If I am not building up, I am tearing down, and if I am tearing down, I am walking in darkness.

And I’ve gone a little deeper. I have made a personal commitment to never speak ill of another person nor speak negatively of anyone or anything. Does that sound hard? It isn’t. You get stronger and stronger over time.

If you make commitments and really perspire when keeping them, the commitments will become part of you. You won’t be perfect in keeping them, but they will make you mindful. They will make you work harder. They will make you face your shame. They will make you accountable. They will protect and heal you. I promise.

Let me conclude with one of my favorite scriptures—a great reminder from King Benjamin to mind my words:

I cannot tell you all the things whereby ye may commit sin; for there are divers ways and means, even so many that I cannot number them. But this much I can tell you, that if ye do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God, and continue in the faith of what ye have heard concerning the coming of our Lord, even unto the end of your lives, ye must perish. And now, O man, remember, and perish not. (Mosiah 4:29–30).

Your commitment is a fire line. It will keep your combustibles under control.

Words were meant to be your friends, not your enemies.

I hope to write more about this soon.