Marriage Advice From A Christian Perspective

8 Powerful Phrases to Improve Your Marriage

  • Whitney Hopler Contributing Writer
  • 2010 4 Mar
8 Powerful Phrases to Improve Your Marriage

Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Jay Laffoon and Laura Laffoon's book, He Said. She Said. Eight Powerful Phrases That Will Strengthen Your Marriage, (Baker Books, 2010).

Words contain great power to either help or harm people.  If you and your spouse speak the right words to each other, those words can dramatically change the way you both see each other and your marriage.  Then, with the right perspective, you can act in ways that will actually make your marriage what you say you want it to be.

Here are some key phrases you can say to each other to improve your marriage:

Say "I love you" to your wife.  Many women need to hear the words "I love you" verbalized and backed up with actions to know that they're truly loved.  Study your wife to learn how best to express your love for her in a way that she'll receive and appreciate.  Use your five senses (seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, and tasting) to communicate your love to your wife throughout your daily times together. 

Say "I'm proud of you" to your husband.  When men hear that their wives are proud of them, that knowledge touches their hearts and deepens their commitment to their marriages.  Identify at least one area of your husband's life, character, or talents that you're proud of - and tell him so.  Let your husband know that you're proud of him especially during a crisis, and when you're talking in front of your kids and other family members.

Say "I respect you" to your wife.  Wives need to hear that their husbands believe in their talents and understand their passions.  Discover your wife's dreams, encourage her to pursue them, and support her as she does so.  Free her to be capable, accomplished, and significant in her own right, through her own pursuits (not just through your marriage).  Show confidence in her abilities and challenge her to fulfill her greatest potential.  Talk and listen to her often, and praise her for the progress she makes toward reaching goals.

Say "I need (fill in the blank) from you" to your husband.  Husbands need clear, concise communication from their wives - not just hints.  So when you need something from your husband (whether it's more time, more affection, help with a chore like taking out the trash, or something else), directly ask him and be specific about what you need. 

Say "I desire you" to your wife.  While wives often know that their husbands desire them sexually, they need to know that their husbands want to connect with them emotionally, mentally, and spiritually as well.  So guard against sex being your first thought when you communicate with your wife.  Show her that you desire her, without having a sexual agenda.  Hold her hand, hug and kiss her, call unexpectedly just to chat, or bring her a surprise gift like flowers. 

Say "I want you" to your husband.  Men need to know that their wives want to be with them sexually, because knowing that is an important part of what makes them feel masculine.  When all is right in a husband's sexual relationship with his wife, all feels right with his whole world.  So decide to invest time and energy into your sexual relationship with your husband.  Ask God to help you look forward to and enjoy making love with him.  Keep in mind that a husband who feels wanted leads his home and loves his family in powerful ways.

Say "I cherish you" to your wife.  Women long to share their lives with men who cherish them.  You can help your wife feel cherished by forsaking all others for her and treating her with tenderness to show her how you hold her in high regard.  When a crisis hits your marriage, cherish your wife by assuring her that you'll stand by her side throughout any circumstance, no matter what.  Care for your wife, nurture her, and protect her.  Support her, expressing your commitment to her success in every part of her life.

Say "I believe in you" to your husband.  Men face immense pressures every day, and hearing "I believe in you" gives them the confidence they need to succeed in the face of those huge pressures.  Let your husband know that you believe he has what it takes to be faithful as a father, on the job, dealing with money issues, facing temptations like pornography, and overcoming challenges that could lead some other couples to divorce.  Tell your husband how much you appreciate his willingness to answer God's call to serve others in need, as well as his ability to balance work and family demands.  Discover what dreams your husband would like to pursue.  Then work together to create and implement a plan for making those dreams come true.  Decide to fight for those dreams, working as a team to defend them against all obstacles.

March 9, 2010

Adapted from He Said. She Said.: Eight Powerful Phrases That Will Strengthen Your Marriage, copyright 2010 by Jay Laffoon and Laura Laffoon.  Published by Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Mich.,

Jay and Laura Laffoon are communicators who have inspired thousands of couples throughout North America with their Celebrate Your Marriage conferences. They are authors of The Spark and Make Love Every Day.  The Laffoons live in Michigan with their son and daughter.