How to Build a Strong Marriage One Simple Word at a Time

Lisa Jacobson is a woman in love with the idea of learning to love well. Not only in the big, sweeping seasons of life, but in those small, everyday sort of moments. The ones that powerfully stack up over time. She wrote down a few of those (okay, more like a hundred) simple ways in her bestselling 100 Ways to Love Your Husband. Now once again, in her warm, personal style, Lisa is sharing how you can speak words of strength and blessing—the kind of words that breathe life into the very heart of your husband. She offers many meaningful ways to affirm and encourage the man you love in her new book, 100 Words of Affirmation Your Husband Needs to Hear. It’s a grace to welcome Lisa to the farm’s front porch today…

guest post by Lisa Jacobson

So how did you know he was the one?

The one you wanted to spend the rest of your life with?

That’s what our kids were asking me. How did you know that Dad was the guy?

I felt I should have had an answer ready on the tip of my tongue. A thoughtful insight of some kind. But mostly I remember him walking into the dinner party with his confident stride, wearing a thick, manly sweater, black Levi’s, and Western boots. He was tall, dark, and, believe me, handsome, with deep blue eyes.

But that doesn’t really explain anything.

I mean, no one simply falls in love with a pair of boots . . . Do they?

No, it was more than that—much more than that. It was the way our eyes connected and how we got lost in conversation the moment we sat down together. The way we talked about traveling in France, my experiences in West Africa, and how we both loved Chopin and the same Billy Joel song.

We could have talked forever . . . Except that our hostess called us to dinner, abruptly reminding us that there were other people in the world. Or at least other people in the room. So I had to settle for staring at him from across the table.

Because by then, I knew.

I was looking at the man I was going to marry. He was the one I wanted to spend the rest of my life with—talking, praying, laughing, and loving together. My happily ever after. My very own Mr. Right.

While I realized that first evening that we were meant for each other, it took him three long days before he came to the same conclusion. And that’s why, six days after the night we met, we made the decision to get married.

A whirlwind romance, some said.

They have no idea what they’re getting into, commented others.

Those two will wake up hating each otherpredicted a well-known pastor at our wedding reception. A devastating prophecy spoken over a new bride with bright dreams.

And so it was on our wedding day that I came to understand the incredible impact of words.

Because words have meaning.

Something I’ve heard all my life. Maybe you have too. The power of the spoken word.

Words that can hurt.

Words that can heal.

And I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve experienced both. You’ve known what it’s like to have words spoken over you—some of which you’ll never forget.

So you get it. And now you’re in the place to speak words that will dramatically influence the rest of your husband’s days. Life-changing words. That amazing gift of spoken love.

Maybe this is a gift you’ve been longing to give him but didn’t quite know what to say or how to say it. Maybe you grew up in a home that didn’t “talk like this,” and it’s uncomfortable for you.

I know what that’s like.

Speaking words of affirmation did not come naturally to me. They didn’t easily flow from my lips like I felt they should. Yet I made myself speak them anyway because I was convinced my husband needed to hear them.

But, oh, I had no earthly idea just how much he needed to hear them…

I honestly don’t know what prompted me on that particular afternoon—after so much time, twenty years into our marriage.

It was an ordinary day, and we were both at home doing ordinary things. But when he walked by my chair in the living room, I couldn’t help but observe, “You are one handsome man!” Same deep blue eyes as when we first met, now all the more accentuated by his wavy, silver hair.

I’m not sure what I expected, but maybe a smile from him at most. To my surprise, however, he stopped what he was doing and came back over to my chair. And he asked me to repeat what I’d said.

“Um, you’re handsome? Just stating the facts, babe.”

He’s not one to fish for compliments, so I was at a loss as to what was going through that man’s head.

Then he told me a story from his childhood that I’d never heard before.

When he was about eleven or twelve, he hated the way he looked. He considered himself so ugly – with freckled nose and slightly bucked teeth — that he went through all the family photo albums and ripped out every picture of himself he could find.

The album contained photos of his family fishing or camping or gathered on Christmas morning, with everyone lined up—except for the jagged hole where he had been standing. Literally every picture. Torn out.

I felt instantly nauseous. How could a fantastic kid like him have possibly thought he was uglyLet alone so ugly that he’d go to such great lengths to remove any reminder of how he appeared?

Now I happen to be married to a rather good-looking man. So, of course, I assumed he knew he was handsome. How could I have ever guessed that he didn’t see himself that way?

Saying he was handsome was merely pointing out the obvious.

Except it wasn’t obvious.

Not to him anyway. And he needed to hear it— especially from me, his wife.

What I didn’t know then was that those words — and others that would follow — would not only change his life—they would change both our lives.

He would never be the same again. I would never be the same again. And neither would our relationship.

Our marriage is decidedly different and all because of words.

So if you’re at a loss of what to say or wonder if it will actually make a difference? I’m here to tell you it will.

God created your spouse specially and loves them dearly.

What He has to say about them is powerful and full of truth and love. This person you are partnered with has insecurities and holes that don’t need to be exposed or widened, but filled with love and nurture.

Start speaking life into your marriage.

One powerful word at a time.

 

Lisa Jacobson is an author, a speaker, and the founder of Club31Women.com—an online community of gracious Christian women writers that has become a powerful voice for biblical womanhood. She’s the author of the bestselling 100 Ways to Love Your Husband and her newest: 100 Words of Affirmation Your Husband Needs to Hear.

Lisa loves to work closely with her husband, Matt, who wrote the companion books, 100 Ways to Love Your Wife, and now, 100 Words of Affirmation Your Wife Needs to Hear. Matt and Lisa also enjoy co-hosting the FAITHFUL LIFE podcast—an ongoing lighthearted conversation about the strong biblical truths for marriage, family, and faith. Together they’ve raised their eight children on a small acreage in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

In her book 100 Words of Affirmation Your Husband Needs to Hear, Lisa invites you to discover the amazing ways you can build up the man you love with the words you choose to say every day—words that every husband needs to hear. Her book offers you 100 things to say to your spouse that deeply encourage, affirm, and inspire. Start speaking these words into his life and watch your husband—and your relationship—transform right before your eyes.

[ Our humble thanks to Baker for their partnership in today’s devotion ]