I love taking pictures and I have my camera with me just about all the time. Recently, however, I dropped my camera right onto a slab of concrete and it bent the extended lens in a way that rendered the camera inoperable. My heart was instantly crushed and I was so mad at myself for allowing it to happen.
As I turned to my wife she said something to me that makes me love her even more every time I think about it. Instead of getting on to me, she looked at me ever so genuinely and said, “We’ll buy you another one, don’t worry.”
That day I was reminded about the power of words in a sensitive situation. My wife could have said, “See, that’s why you should always keep the wrist strap on” or “Do you know how much that camera costs?” Or she could have chosen a more impersonal route, “Oh that’s too bad” and then moved on. But she knew how much my camera meant to me, and so she lovingly said what needed to be said at that moment.
I want to always be able to do the same for her.
In the seconds after dropping the camera, talking about how we couldn’t afford another one would have made me feel worse (and was, in fact, what I was already thinking about). Talking about how I was being irresponsible wouldn’t have helped either. Again, I was punishing myself enough as it was. However, hearing her tell me that we would buy another one showed me that she cared more about how I was feeling more than anything else in the world at that time. The talk about whether we could afford to buy another would be a reality that would set in eventually, but right at that moment, I needed to hear how much she cared.
Men are often too focused on fixing a problem, and so when something happens that shouldn’t have, we are quick to point out what someone should or shouldn’t have done to prevent it. In marriage, this can often come across as cold and uncaring. Telling someone they did something foolish when they are already feeling stupid isn’t helpful for anyone.
So the next time your wife loses her purse or accidentally breaks something important to her, do your best to react with words that show how much you care about her. Don’t sound like her father, do your best to sound like her loving and caring husband.
Let her hear the words she needs to hear at that moment.