3 Phrases Every Couple Should Say Daily
I still remember my wedding day like it was yesterday. It was a chilly day in Chicago with snow covering everything like a big, white blanket. The church was decorated with twinkle lights; candles of all shapes and sizes burned through the corridors; and the Christmas décor was still hanging, giving the whole place a warm, festive feel. The images of that day, from the sanctuary to my handsome groom, are sealed in my mind forever.
But there’s something else from that special day that I will never forget: our pastor’s message. He challenged us to say three phrases to each other daily, and my husband and I have literally been saying these three phrases to each other every day for the past nine years. I cannot tell you what a huge difference this has made in the life, health and stability of our marriage. I highly encourage you to say them to your spouse as well and to see the difference that it makes:
1. “I Love You”
We cannot say this phrase enough. The need for a husband and wife to reaffirm their love daily is crucial to a joy-filled, God-honoring marriage. There is something so powerful for a person to show love and to know that he or she is loved in return. It gives us confidence and security, it allows us to overcome past rejections and pains.
Most importantly, love allows us to reflect Christ more in our marriage. In Ephesians 5:22-33, love is the non-negotiable element in the relationship between Christ and the church. The word “love” is used four times in this passage, and it is emphasized because Christ’s death on the cross, His ultimate sacrifice for the church, is nothing but loving.
2. “I’m Sorry”
Forgiveness is a two-way street. It’s important that we both confess our own sins as well as forgive the sins of our spouse. It is grace that Christ shows us in Ephesians 5:25 when he “gave himself up” for us, and it is this grace that we should show to each other. For forgiveness plays a vital role in empowering a husband and wife to keep their covenant to one another. It creates a hedge of protection from long-lasting bitterness, resentment and hate.
This is especially important in the middle of a heated argument. Reminding ourselves that we truly love each other does wonders for stopping a fight, seeking out grace, and working toward restoration.
3. “How Can I Help?”
This phrase is almost self-explanatory. If we are to “nourish and cherish” each other like Christ does for us in Ephesians 5:29, we must seek out the other’s good by extending help as needed. We should not just assume or guess what our spouse needs (though anticipating a need is very different). Rather, part of our daily and sacrificial care for each other should include asking, “How can I help you?” This question, of course, requires a follow-up: we must hear the needs of our spouse and then seek to respond to that need in a time-sensitive fashion.
At the heart of this question, really, is open lines of communication. I know it’s hard at times to express our needs to our spouse, but this is something we should all seek to be better at. For the sake of our marriage, we must be willing to be vulnerable, to expose our heart, to share our weaknesses, and – if love and grace are also being developed – we can be confident that this vulnerability will be met, heard and cared for.
My hope and prayer is that these three phrases encourage you in the Lord. May you feel empowered to speak new words of love, humility and care to your spouse with the knowledge that Christ first showed this same love, grace and care for us.