The Power of a Woman’s Words
About the Guest
If we love our husbands so much, asks speaker Ann Wilson, why do we so often tear them down with our words? Ann encourages women to choose their words wisely.
Ann WilsonAnn Wilson and her husband Dave are hosts of FamilyLife Today®, FamilyLife’s nationally-syndicated radio program. Mother to three grown sons, CJ, Austin, and Cody and wife to one, occasionally grown-up husband, Dave, Ann balances a home life and professional ministry career building both on the grace and goodness of Jesus Christ. Frequently speaking at Kensington Church, a 6-campus church that welcomes more than 14,000 visitors every weekend, and touring across the country at m...more
If we love our husbands so much, asks speaker Ann Wilson, why do we so often tear them down with our words? Ann encourages women to choose their words wisely.
The Power of a Woman’s Words
Bob: How do husbands and wives become one? How do men and women bond? Ann Wilson says it happens differently for husbands than it does for wives.
Ann: Dave will say this: “Ann, come in here and watch this football game with me.” Now, I’m thinking—I say this: “Are we going to talk?” “No! We’re not going to talk! It would wreck it.” I say, “Well, then, it’s a waste of time.” But, shoulder to shoulder, what’s happening? We’re somehow bonding. [Laughter]
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Thursday, June 25th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. We’ll hear some insights from Ann Wilson today about wives bonding with their husbands. She’s got lots to say to wives today. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Thursday edition.
I don’t know how many of our guests, who join us at our Weekend to Remember® marriage getaways or on our Love Like You Mean It® marriage cruise, come to these events thinking, “I bet I’m going to get poked and kicked in the tail while I’m here this weekend.”
Dennis: By whom?
Bob: By the Holy Spirit.
Bob: Not by their spouse!
Dennis: Not by their spouse?
Bob: No! And not by us! We’re not going to do it.
Dennis: Oh, no!
Bob: But I’ll tell you what—you come to some of these events—and some of the messages you hear can have a stimulating impact in your thinking.
Dennis: Especially, Bob, if they’re coming out of Scripture. I mean, we all have a need for a wheel alignment from time to time.
Bob: That’s better than “getting kicked in the tail”—
Dennis: It is.
Bob: —a wheel alignment.
Dennis: It is a little better, especially when you’re speaking to women. [Laughter] We’re just wanting you to know you’re about to hear a very powerful message from Ann Wilson, who has been married to her husband Dave since 1981. I think our listeners are going to thoroughly enjoy listening to her. She gave this message while at sea.
Bob: We were onboard the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise, back in February. We got all of the ladies together, and Ann talked about the need for a wife to honor her husband by respecting him.
Dennis: I think she preached, Bob.
Dennis: I think she did a little preaching in there.
Bob: She did. She said that there are three areas where a wife needs to show respect to her husband. The first is with her attitude toward her husband. As we pick up with Part Two of the message, she’s going to explain the second way a wife can show respect for her husband.
[Previously Recorded Message]
Ann: Here’s the second one—it’s your audio. In other words, what respect looks like to a man—we can cheer him with our words. Our audio is really our words:
Ephesians 4:29 says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths”—
—listen to this part—“but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ah! If we could just memorize that and live it, wouldn’t we be so good? Wouldn’t we be so much better off? And I love
Ephesians 4:15 because it says, “Speak the truth in love.”
Some of us are so great at speaking the truth. I am just a verbal processor—I just vomit it all out. Some of you are like that; aren’t you?—you’re verbally processing. Things come out that I wish I could put back in. I can speak the truth. And some of us are so loving / we’re so caring—we don’t like conflict even—we are only speaking good words. Sometimes, we hide some of the things that we feel; and we push them down.
Both things are necessary. I think we need to speak truth. Our husbands need our opinions, and our thoughts, and what our ideas are.
But we need to be able to package it in a way that they receive it. I have learned, over the years, I cannot just verbally process where my thoughts are going with Dave. I need to take my thought—I need to capture it. It says to “take our thoughts captive”
[2 Cor. 10:5]; right? I need to take it and pray: “God, should I say this to Dave?”—first of all—“Will it benefit him? Will it benefit us?” Then, if God gives me the okay, my next prayer is, “God, help me to package it in a way that he will be able to hear me and accept what I say.”
This takes time. Don’t you feel like: “I don’t have time for all that! I’m busy!”? I’m telling you—this is so critical! Sometimes, I need to put a little bow on it for him to accept it. Then, though, it’s so worth it because he hears me. He hears my love, and I have to couch it in respect because I do respect him. I think it is so important.
So, words—what kind of words?—praising them. Words that say: “I’m proud of you! I believe in you.” I asked Dave, “Give me your top three words that you long to hear—top three sentences.” I would challenge you to ask your husbands, “What are the things that make you feel respected when I say them?” Dave said: “When you say, ‘I believe in you.’ When you say, ‘I need you.’ And when you say, ‘I want you.’” Those were the three that he needs. Your husband is probably different.
I was in bed, reading one night. Dave walks out of the shower—he’s naked. He walks across the room, and he just—you know, I’m reading a book. So he gets in bed, and he puts his stuff on; and he says: “Wow! You don’t even lift your head or care.” I could tell that he was a little hurt. I thought, “If that makes him feel respected, then why can’t I do that?” So, the next time he gets out of the shower, and he has his towel around his waist, I lift my head from the book. I look at him and just say, “Mmm, mmm, mmmm!” [Laughter]
Emerson Eggerichs—do you know what he says? He says: “When a man feels respect, it’s like an air hose / it’s like oxygen—it brings him life!” I remember one time we were eating—I had just read this stuff, and I was trying to be this student. We were going to pray; and I said, “Hey, guys/boys—before we eat, I just want to say: ‘Dave, thank you for being the provider in our family. Thank you for supplying all this food on our table and for our house.’” The boys were like: “Mom! What are you doing?” I said: “No! You guys need to know that your dad is amazing!”
Dave said: “I could see the book on the hutch—Love and Respect—I saw it! [Laughter] I knew she was only doing what they told her to do, and I didn’t even care!” He said, “It felt so good!” He was like: “I am the man! That’s right!” [Laughter] How hard is that?—just to verbally affirm that he’s the man? “Thank you,” “I’m proud of you,” “I believe in you,”—those are things a husband wants—to become the man we see him becoming!
What is the picture that you’re painting for him to become? The more we paint the picture of who we see God has made them to be, the more they want to live up to who we think they are. They need us to be cheering for them with our words.
And then, finally, this—oh, let me add this about words: Words of silence. Can we just be quiet sometimes? [Laughter] You know the number one complaint of men? “My wife nags too much and talks too much.” I don’t know if you guys have read the book, Love and Respect, but in it Emerson says that he did this study with second-grade, sixth-grade, tenth-grade, and twenty-five year-olds. From each age group, he took two boys and then two girls—of each of those age groups. He put them in a room with two chairs. So, he put the two second-graders, then the two sixth-graders—
Every time the girls walked in the room, no matter what the age group, the girls turned the chairs to face one another. They talked verbally and expressed communication—they bonded through communication.
Every single time the boys walked into the room—even the twenty-five- year-olds—they left the chairs, facing forward, and sat in the chairs, sitting, shoulder to shoulder. They still talked, but what they found in these studies was that men bond through doing things together. In other words, they don’t bond through communication—they bond through shoulder-to-shoulder things that they do together—which takes me, then, to the last point.
Our men long for a cheerleader, and they long for respect through our actions / your actions. Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind and compassionate to each other, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” How are you doing with your actions and showing your respect?
With Willard Harley—he was saying—this totally makes sense—“Men bond through golfing”; don’t they?—or hunting? How much talking goes on during some of these things? None!
Doesn’t your husband golf and you say: “Hey! How’s John doing?” “I don’t know.” You’re like, “You were with him for four hours!” [Laughter] “I know.” I say, “So what did you talk about?” “We said, ‘Nice shot,’ you know, “What’s your handicap?’” I said, “I would know the name of my friend’s mother’s grandmother’s maiden name”; you know?—because, as women, we verbally communicate.
The point is this—sometimes we just need to do fun things with our husbands. One of their top needs is a recreational companion. When is the last time you guys just laughed? That’s why this cruise is so fun; isn’t it? We get lazy; and we’re so driven by our demands of life, that we stop laughing and having fun together.
Dave will say this: “Ann, come in here and watch this football game with me.” Now, I’m thinking—I say this: “Are we going to talk?” “No! We’re not going to talk! It would wreck it.” I say, “Well, then it’s a waste of time.” But, shoulder to shoulder, what’s happening?—we’re somehow bonding. [Laughter]
I’m thinking: “I wish I could go sit and watch TV. I’ve got so much stuff to do! Why aren’t you emptying the dishwasher and getting things ready for tomorrow?” You know?—our attitude! In our head, we start making our case. Why not just go in and have fun and laugh? Do fun things together! I am not good at this because I’m a task-oriented person. So for me to just sit down and have fun—and I would say this too—sex.
I try to surprise Dave with crazy things—things that will just catch him off-guard. I feel like we, as women, get so resentful that we don’t make this area a priority. It helps me to get my mind on things.
I was teaching this Bible study with the Lions’ wives. This woman had been married and was celebrating her one-year anniversary. I said, “What are you doing for the anniversary?” She said: “Oh, my gosh! Carl is taking me to this restaurant in downtown Detroit. He rented a limo. It’s going to be amazing!”
I said, “But what are you doing for him?” She goes, “I’m going to go.” [Laughter] I said: “No! You need to buy something! Come on! Let’s go shopping.” I said, “Just buy something that you feel comfortable in / that you feel beautiful in—that fits your taste.” She bought something, and she wore it underneath.
She called me the next morning—she is like: “Oh, my gosh, Ann! My husband was shocked, first of all, because I never do anything like that,”—and he never went to Bible study and was not a believer. He said: “What in the world has happened to you? Where did you get this idea? I know this didn’t come from you.” And she said, “It was from our Bible study.” [Laughter] He goes, “I don’t want you to ever miss one of those Bible studies again! [Laughter] The next week, Carl was sitting on our couch at the Bible study. He gave his life to Christ—they became missionaries! [Applause]
I know! We are such influencers. You know, the thing is we get so resentful; and Satan gets a foothold in our thoughts. He gets a foothold in our attitudes, in our words, and in our actions. What if we surrendered those to Jesus? What if we gave them to Him? What would that look like?
When Dave and I—I was asked to speak to the chaplains’ wives in the NFL—they asked me to go down to Cincinnati. I was so excited about it because I was going to get to speak on marriage. I picked up this book—this is years ago—by Larry Crabb, called Men and Women: Enjoying the Differences. In it, Larry’s talking about how we think our men are going to meet our needs; and they were never meant to meet our needs! Only God can meet our needs.
We put all our hope and expectations in our husbands when they’re never supposed to be that. God is supposed to be that! I was underlining that book like: “Yes! Yes! This is so good!” In the meantime, I’m driving this—it’s that same Honda, where the headlight’s out. My trip is in a month; and I say: “Dave, that headlight’s out in the car. Could you get that fixed before my trip?”—because he’s a tightwad, and I know he will not want to pay somebody to do it; so he’ll want to do it himself. He’s like: “Absolutely. I’ll get that done before your trip.”
Every week, I’m saying to Dave, “Did you fix the headlight yet?” “No, I will, though.” It’s the day before: “Honey,”—trying to be respectful—“um, did you fix the headlight?” “Oh, Ann! You know what? Tomorrow—I know you leave. I have a meeting in the morning. On the way home, I’ll fix the headlight and then you’re good to go.” I am like, “Alright, but don’t forget.” “I’m not going to forget.” Sure enough, he pulls in the driveway—he is a little bit late. I throw my suitcase in / I give him a kiss. I get in the car and, “You fixed the headlight?” “Oh, Ann!”
I look at him like, “Are you kidding me?!”—
—the attitude / like my whole attitude—I said, “You’ve had a month to fix the headlight!” He is like: “Oh! I’m going to do it right now.” He goes: “Boys! Get in the van!” So the boys come out; he’s throwing them in our mini-van. He says: “Go to Kmart®. I’ll follow you!” “You’ve had one month! I’m not going to follow you to Kmart!” He’s like: “Get in!”—he’s throwing my youngest son in the car, without his car seat—like there’s no car seat—he’s just throwing him in the car: [Laughter] “Get in the car!!”
I am so mad right now because it feels like everything else is always a priority and not me. I’m driving. I can’t even tell you how angry I am. He’s right behind me now, and I am so mad. I start, in my head—start thinking of all the things I did—like: “I made all of those meals for him. I made all of them, and I put the little recipe and when to put it in, and at what temperature, and all that stuff—I stuck that in there. I even put Scripture notes around the house. What did he do for me?—nothing!
“I am such a good wife. Does he ever think of me? No! I am the last priority. Everything comes first—the church / everybody else. Everybody’s needs come first. I am the last thing. He doesn’t care! He doesn’t love me / doesn’t live out the Bible.”
I’m driving; and all of this is just like “Ugggh!” It’s just like storing it down; you know?—all my hurt and my rage, and I’m just driving. It feels good. It feels good because I’m so right. Have you ever done this? [Laughter] I feel like I look better too—I needed some of that! [Laughter] I’m driving; and I’m like—I mean, I don’t want anything to do with God—and I feel like God says, “What are you doing?” Oh, when you know God’s speaking to you, and you don’t want to hear it, I turn up my radio—LOUD! [Laughter]—like really loud! “I’m going to sit in this for a while because it feels so good to sit in it.”
So, I’m driving; and I feel like the Holy Spirit says, “What about all those things you read?” “Nooo, that doesn’t count, God! This is counting right now. He had a month!”
And I felt like God was saying, “Take it out and give it to Me.” Oh, I didn’t want to do it! Sometimes, our hurts—we almost hold onto them as a barrier to our heart. I felt like God was saying, “Let Me have all of it.” I told God—and I was raging: “God, I feel like he doesn’t see me. He doesn’t care about me. He doesn’t love me. I’m not a priority.” I vented all of it to God. I think we need to vent all of it to God; don’t we?
Women, we need good sisters and friends that we can vent to—who are safe / who will not gossip—who will hear you / who will pray for you—who will love you, and encourage you, and speak truth to you. We need that; don’t we? [Applause] We need God’s Word! Had I not been in God’s Word, I would not even have heard the Holy Spirit. We have to be in God’s Word so He can speak to us, He can encourage us, and He can love us. We need to be with people and places where God’s Word—I have in there—
—like God’s Spirit—to listen to the Spirit and obey / that we don’t quench His Spirit. I cannot live without my friends. I cannot live without God’s Word. I cannot live without my relationship with God because I am so flawed, but He can equip us to be the women that He wants us to be. He can give us the power to respect our husband the way that he wants us to.
We pull into Kmart. Dave’s running in; and I’m still giving it, giving it, giving it—like: “Lord, I’m giving it to You. You know my heart. I know that You love me, and I surrender it to You. I surrender Dave to You again. Help me to be the wife that I need to be because I want to hurt him.” All of that was ammunition—it was ammunition for later because we use our words as weapons; don’t we? We can slice them and dice them. If I didn’t get rid of it, I would hurt him badly. I don’t want to—I want him to be the man that God created him to be.
He gets done, and he comes to the window. He is like: “I’m so sorry. Are you okay?” And he’s waiting—like he’s just waiting for the, “Arggggh!” [Laughter] I said, “Honey, I’m okay.” I said, “I still need to talk about it later,” because I need to tell him it’s not about the headlight; is it? It has nothing to do with the headlight—it has to do with feeling like: “I matter to you, and that I’m important, and that I have time in your life.” It was one of those gifts that I gave to Dave that I don’t always give. But it was a gift that I gave him of my unconditional respect and love.
It’s funny—I think about my parents and how I said that my mom was a doormat. My parents have been married 65 years in April. [Applause] I know. They have become believers; and for the last nine years, my mom has been struggling with Alzheimer’s.
One of the most inspiring things I’ve ever seen in my life is watching my dad, who I felt like was so self-centered, who took her for granted—but my mom just loved him, and served him, and believed in him, and cheered for him. To watch him—he does everything for her. She only recognizes two people—my dad and me. He puts lotion on her arms. He cooks all of her food. He does all of the laundry. He cleans the house—things that I’ve never in my life seen him do.
I told him, “Dad, I respect you so much!” He’s like, “How could I not?” He said: “She’s my partner—she’s my girl. She’s loved me so well her whole life. How could I not do the same for her because she’s made me who I am.” The parts that—when I looked at her, I thought were so weak—my dad told me she would come to him and she would always speak her mind, in the bedroom, with respect—
—just because she wasn’t ranting and railing, as I was doing in the other room. [Laughter]
[Emotion in voice] I want to be that! And it starts with our surrender to Jesus! Can I tell you how much He loves you? How He knows you? How He sees you? How He longs to walk with you and comfort you? How He longs to encourage you and use you? All of your gifts / all of your wonderful traits—He sees them. Let Him be your best friend! Let Him be your Redeemer and your Savior! Let Him change us! We can make a world of difference because your greatest witnessing tool in the future will be your marriage. We, as women, are powerful! Let us surrender to the King, who can give us the strength and power we need to become the women He wants us to be.
Bob: Again, today, we’ve been listening to Part Two of Ann Wilson speaking to wives onboard the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise, back in February. This session was one of the sessions that passengers were talking about throughout the week.
Dennis: And I’m convinced they’re probably applying now, several months later, Bob. Our Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise is really very practical. It delivers messages like this to folks so that they can discuss it while they’re there, in an undistracted way—away from kids, away from email, from cell phones, and all kinds of digital communication, and TV—and have some good conversations, as a couple. I think it’s one of the best things we do.
When you hear a message like this, it is like: “Wow! What’s that like to spend four days/five days at sea, listening to folks open the Bible and teach it like that, and help me grow, as a wife or as a husband / as a mom or a dad?”
It’s just a great privilege, Bob, to be able to have these cruises and to impact so many people.
Bob: Well, more and more folks are saying, “This is a great way to celebrate a special event in our lives and our marriage / a special anniversary.” We’ve got folks who are saying, “This is going to be an annual vacation for us—to go on the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise.”
Dennis: And I ran into a guy at church, last Sunday, who said: “Both my wife and I are in a blended family / our spouses died. We’ve been looking for something to really go do together. This looks like this might be really good.” I said, “Well, you’d better hurry up and sign up because—
Bob: —“we’re about out of cabins.”
Dennis: —“we’re about out of cabins.” And he did—that afternoon.
Bob: And that’s why we wanted to let listeners know the same thing because we are just about out of cabins / out of staterooms for the 2016 Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise. We started with 1300, and we have fewer than 100 left. If a listener is interested, this is the week to sign up.
Joining us on the cruise—Dave and Ann Wilson will be with us again, along with, of course, you and Barbara, and Mary Ann and me. Darrin Patrick is going to be with us, Lysa TerKeurst, Bryan Loritts. Music from: Sanctus Real, and Steve Green, and Selah. If you like Southern Gospel, Ernie Haase & Signature Sound are going to be with us. I mean, it’s going to be a fun week as we head to Jamaica and to Grand Cayman.
It is Valentine’s week 2016. We leave on Monday, February 15th / get back to Miami on Saturday, February 20th. You can get more information about the cruise / you can sign up, online, at FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the link in the upper left-hand corner of the screen that says, “GO DEEPER.” Then look for the link for the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise. Again, FamilyLifeToday.com is the website. Or call 1-800-FL-TODAY for more information: 1-800-358-6329. That’s 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then, the word, “TODAY.”
Hope to see you, onboard, in February of 2016 for next year’s Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise.
Now, tomorrow, we’re going to hear from Kirk and Chelsea Cameron. They joined us this year on the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise. We sat down with the two of them and talked about their life, their marriage, and family. We’ll share our conversation with them tomorrow. I hope you can tune in for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I’m Bob Lepine. We will see you back tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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