07 Nov 2019

Words of Affirmation

One of the many responsibilities my husband and I have in addition to our pastoral duties is pre-marital and marriage counseling. A number of years ago, we went through the process of becoming certified counselors in this area. At the time we were pursing our passion for strong, healthy marriages and thought it was wise to gain professional training and further education in that area. Now having many years of experience under our belts, one of the references we frequently refer to is “The Five Love Languages” authored by Gary Chapman. One of the five love languages is “words of affirmation”. Although we discuss this often during marriage counseling, it makes for great discussion and consideration in all relationships.

Proverbs 18: 21 (the King James version) states, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” I have often wondered why the order of statement is “death and life”, as opposed to “life and death”. Is it that because God knew that in our humanity we would have the tendency to speak negatively first, rather than positively? Simply stated, our words indeed have power. Power to build up and power to tear down. We learn even in management and executive level training, that when disciplinary action must be executed, it should begin with acknowledgement of that person’s good qualities, accomplishments, and prospective potential. Words of affirmation have the ability to achieve a positive outcome rather than the opposite.

We just celebrated our first granddaughter’s 15th birthday. Having a teenager in the family is almost like reliving the teenage years of our daughters all over again, but with new challenges. Much to her surprise, I decided to surprise her by taking her out for a brief driving lesson on her birthday. As I turned the wheel over to her in an empty parking lot in a nearby park, I consciously tried to keep my nervousness undetected as she slowly pulled off. I am sure she probably was as nervous as I was, but I honestly believe that my words of affirmation, speaking positively to her put us both at ease. She actually did very well. Giving her praise for that driving lesson probably made that a birthday to remember for both of us! Words of affirmation give confidence, encourage healthy self-esteem, and certainly foster good relationships. Good interpersonal relationships, good family relationships, good friendships, good courtships, and good marriages all encompass benefactors which result from words of affirmation.

Source: First Lady Denise