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Building a Habit for Speaking Life

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
June 4, 2021 2:00 am

Building a Habit for Speaking Life

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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June 4, 2021 2:00 am

We create habits for almost everything we do in life, including how we speak to people. On today's program, Dave and Ann Wilson encourage us to create a habit of speaking life within our homes and realizing the impact it can have on those we love.

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Pastor Phillip Miller

Okay, what's the best thing you remember somebody saying to you when you were a kid? I remember my mom saying to me, you know, you were an accident. We never meant to have you.

Now that sounds terrible. I said something good. Wait, wait, wait. The second half she said this, but I've always thought God must have something really special for you in this life. I think I was maybe five to seven years old and that stuck. I mean, we didn't even go to church, but I remember thinking, oh, God must have something special.

I wonder what it is. Those words were so powerful in my life. Welcome to Family Life Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I'm Ann Wilson. And I'm Dave Wilson.

And you can find us at or on our Family Life app. This is Family Life Today. And today we get to talk about the power of words. And it's amazing that you can remember specifically those words. And here's the thing. A lot of us can just flashback to a moment when negative words were spoken to them.

Do you have any of those? Yeah. I remember a high school teacher saying, you'll never amount to anything. Oh, because I was pretty rowdy and rebellious and getting in trouble.

I didn't have a dad in my home and they didn't see anything good in me. And I can still feel the sting of that. There's a part of me that's like, I'll prove him wrong. We get to talk today about the power of words in life, but especially in your marriage and in your home. Yeah. I mean, it's a power that we literally have in our hands, literally in our mouth, you know, that we mentioned in part one of this message, a very powerful verse in the Bible we mentioned before was Proverbs 18 21.

Solomon literally says, the tongue has the power of life and death and those who love it will eat its fruit. You know, that makes me think of the story I've heard years ago. Remember Roger Staubach, the Dallas Cowboys quarterback? Oh, of course I remember him. He was my favorite quarterback growing up.

Of course. And I'm looking out at the engineering booth and Jim Mitchell's got his arms off. You know, he's a Dallas Cowboys nut. Well, I'll never forget. He went to a prison to do a talk and the prison chaplain sat down with Roger after he was done speaking. And he said this, he said, you know, it was pretty amazing because before Roger got up, the chaplain said to all the inmates, men, raise your hands to how many of you had dads that told you one day you'll end up in prison. And almost every hand went up. And Roger, when he went back and started talking to that chaplain, he said, that was like, that was so staggering to me that so many of those men had their father say that to them.

It's so sad. And the chaplain said to Roger, Roger, what did your dad say to you? What were the words that your dad spoke to you? And Roger paused for a second. And then he said, that's so funny you ask. My dad told me as a young kid, Roger, one day you'll play in the NFL. And that just proved like, oh, our words carry so much weight.

They do. But they don't always come true because my mom told me I'd play in the NFL too. You could have, honey.

And I didn't. Yeah, I mean, but it is true. I mean, the power of life and death to build up life, to tear down death is in our tongue. And yet you come into our marriage and you think, OK, how does that apply in a marriage? And we said earlier that happy, if you didn't write it down before, write it down now, happy or healthy couples choose to speak life to their spouse.

And that's a habit that you build into your life. And if you study happy and healthy couples, one of the habits that they live out is they're not speaking death words. They're not tearing each other down with their words. They're not yelling and condemning one another.

They are speaking life, encouraging, build up words to one another. Again, that doesn't mean every single word that comes out of our mouth, but it does mean there's a habit being built. And this is something you choose to do, just like a workout. I'm going to build these muscles.

How I'm going to I'm going to get in a gym and do it. It's the same thing with your tongue. You have to build a habit to hold the negative words, the death words and speak out the life words. And that's that's what healthy couples do. And some of you might be thinking, oh, that's so weird.

That would be so awkward. I've never really done that. Maybe you start with texting it, you know, texting it to your kids, texting it to your spouse, things that you see in them, things that you love about them that could like think about your kids receiving that at school because our kids go out of our homes and it's hard. How about one life text a day to your spouse and to your kids? Are you going to do that for me? One I do it all time, honey.

Didn't you get one already? No, no. Think about that, though. That would be a way to build a habit. Yeah, I'm going to text at least one life text, one encouraging building up words of affirmation to my spouse or my kids every single day. How long would that take?

A minute or less. And so here's the thing. If if we're going to build this habit of being a family or a marriage that speaks life words, how do you do it? Well, here's the habit.

Here's how you build it. And this is going to be a little cute because I want to make sure it rhymes so that you remember it. But I would say it this way. If you think something nice, say it twice.

And if you think something mean, don't let it be seen. Are you laughing? I am. Yeah, you're laughing at my little thing. No, it's good. It's good. No, I mean, it's just it rhymes because people remember things.

All right. I was an advertising marketing major in college, and this is what they teach you about people remembering your brain jingle. So here it is again. If you think something nice, say it twice. If you think something mean, don't let it be seen. So if you are looking at your spouse and you think something encouraging, like nice, say it. And I'd say say it a couple times. Why don't people why don't we say it to each other?

I don't know. I remember. I mean, I literally remember early in our marriage when you were getting ready for a date night. And I remember you came out of the room and I was sitting on the couch and you walked into the family room and I was sitting there and I remember thinking, oh my goodness, she is stunning.

You look beautiful. You're all dressed up and ready to go out. Did I say it? No, I never even thought about saying it, but I remember thinking, wow.

Then we go on this date. Do you remember this? This probably happened many times. What I remember was our kids were all little. I wasn't dressed up or I didn't have my hair or makeup or anything done almost never when they were little. And so it was a big deal in those days if I would get all dressed up and put a dress on.

Yeah. So we go out. Who knows how our date was. But I remember as we're crawling in bed later that night, you said, hey, did you think I look nice tonight?

That sounds so needy. I remember you saying that. And of course I was like, oh my goodness. Yeah.

When you walked into the family room, I was sitting there. I just thought to myself, you are beautiful and stunning. Too late. Yeah. And I remember you said you didn't think that. And I'm like, no, no, no, I really did.

I thought that right. And you go, no, you didn't. I go, what do you mean I didn't? You go, if you would have thought that you would have said it. Thinking that, you know, I had the brains to speak nice things twice. I remember learning right there. I was like, why didn't I say it?

I have no idea. But again, if you think something nice, say it twice. I mean, make sure you say it. You know, it isn't like, well, I told her on our wedding day, I love her. I never need to say it again unless it changes. No, that needs to be said.

You need to speak life constantly in your marriage. Don't keep it to yourself. Well, and we've learned so much from the Feldhans with Shanti and Jeff because they've talked about like just saying thank you in their books. They talk about that, say thank you. And I remember reading that and thinking, okay, I can do that. And so I'll never forget, like you took the trash out and you do that a lot. I do it all the time. But I had never thanked you before because I thought, well, of course he should take out the trash.

That's his job. Does anyone think me for my job? Do anyone think me for?

But that's such a wrong attitude. And so I remember saying, hey, thanks, hun, for taking out the garbage. And you're like, what? You were shocked.

And I was like taking it out every night after that. I mean, again, you know, life words are motivating. And here's one way to think about this. And I'll never forget, we were at church a couple of years ago and it's really cool when one of your kids says something and it's like sort of profound. You're like, wow, that's true and powerful. And so our youngest son was on stage preaching. He was my co-pastor at the time, Cody. And I remember he made the statement, which I have in my notes because I literally wrote it down.

I remember turning to you and going, now that was a good truth. He said, when we see our spouse, the way Jesus sees them, we say the things Jesus would say to them. So, you know, obviously he was getting at the point of how does God see you? And specifically, how does God see your spouse? And when you see, he called it put on God's goggles. When you put on God's goggles and you see people made in the image of God and they're loved. When you see your spouse, the way Jesus sees your spouse, you will speak to your spouse, the words Jesus speaks. And when you think about it, when you read the word of God and you understand what God speaks to us, it's always life words. He encourages, he builds up. And so if I saw you the way God sees you, I'm going to speak life, not death.

Wow. That's really good because I'll never forget that message too with the God goggles. Because I thought, man, I need to put those on every day to see you the way God does to see our kids.

But not only that, I need to wear them out of the house. And I mean that it started to become a habit where when I would be checking out at the grocery store and I remember thinking like, man, I'd love to see the cashier the way God sees her. And then I would say, Hey, thank you. Like I can see that you're really working hard and I just want you to know, I really appreciate that. By the way, you do this all the time.

Do you think I do? It's annoying sometimes. I gotta be honest. I mean, you just are always stopping to speak life into people. And I know we're sitting here talking about how important that is and there are times when I'm like, can we just go? I mean, she's some stranger, you know, do you really need, but I mean, I can see them. They, they light up.

It's like air comes into their lungs and you can see them feeling better about their day and their job and their life. I love that you said that, but I was thinking like, can you imagine if Jesus just hung out with us all the time? He does. He does like his spirit, like he lives within us, but if he was walking beside us, he sees the greatness in the homeless person. He sees what happened and he's always encouraging and lifting up. It's not that he doesn't correct us.

You know, it's not that he's not speaking truth to us, but he's a lover of our souls and our person and he's always speaking life to us. You know, it's a, another great statement. I'm telling you, write this down. And I think this is something you've said. Oh, good. I'll take credit for it. Yeah. I don't know where I first, but I've heard you say it many times, especially when you're talking to wives about their marriages. Oh no, I know what you're going to say. This is Andy Stanley. Oh, it is.

All right. So it comes from there, but it says your spouse should be able to tell how much God loves them by the way you talk to them, by the way you treat them, the way you love them and admire them. Talk about that. Well, the first time I heard Andy say that, I remember stopping and thinking like just that, like your spouse should be able to know how much God loves them by the way you treat them. And if your spouse doesn't even know Jesus or have a relationship with God, like you should win them and they should be able to think, wow, does God love me that much? Because if he loves me that much, I want to know him.

And to be honest, the first time I heard I was just super convicted because I'm like, I'm not doing that. Like you should be able to know because my love is so unconditional, like that's how God loves me and that's not easy and you can't do it apart from God's spirit. Yeah. And I said earlier, but it's really true. You do that for me.

You speak life. I mean, I wrote down, you constantly, I mean, and I'm sure someone's listening and going this season. I don't even feel like I do that. Keep going.

This is good. You do. I mean, I wrote down, you've almost daily say you're an amazing husband. You're a great dad. You're a great provider, communicator, spiritual leader.

No, you don't. I wrote down romantic. You don't usually say I'm romantic because I'm not.

I'm not very romantic. So you're saying I don't lie. No, I mean, honestly, I run home now because you constantly speak life. Okay.

Compare that to what it used to be because I want people to understand what it used to be like. Well, I mean, many people have heard us if they've read our book Vertical Marriage or even went through the small group Vertical Marriage, they saw us talking about this with the sort of somewhat famous boo story where I felt like I communicated to you. Again, this is first 15 years of marriage, probably that everywhere I go, people cheer me and I come home and all I hear is boo, you know, because it felt like, you know, you were dissatisfied with me. And when you said that to me, I said, well, they don't know you.

Yeah. How terrible is that that I would say that to you? When you felt like booing me was motivating me to become better. All I know is six months later, a year later after that, the climate in our home changed.

And this has been two, two and a half decades now where it felt like the Wilson house has a environment and aroma and atmosphere. And I think it's you that sets it of life, of encouragement, of belief. It's so nice of you to listen to this over and over again.

Well, it's funny. One of my best friends, Michelle, we would talk about this a lot and we walked about three days a week. We go six miles and we would talk about this and how we need to implement this in our homes. And she came up with this brilliant idea and she got out a journal and for Rob's birthday, her husband, she would go through periodically during the year and every time Rob would do something that she admired or loved, she would tell him, but then she would write it down. And this wasn't natural for her because I remember we would walk and she would complain like Rob didn't make it home for Macy's soccer game, you know, and he didn't put the lights on the tree and he's traveling all the time.

He's never home. And so she would go to him with those complaints and it really wasn't working. And so what she started doing is asking God, God give me new eyes, give me encouragement. So she started writing down things that she really appreciated. So one of the entries would say, Rob, thank you for leaving work early and getting to Macy's soccer game. That meant so much to me.

Rob, thank you for putting the lights on the tree outside. I know you didn't want to do it, but you go out every single year and I can't tell you how much that means to me. And so the first year she did it, she was all excited. She wrapped the journal in birthday wrapping paper, gave it to Rob on his birthday and he sat in the chair and there were a lot of entries, short, but a lot of entries over that full year.

And he sat and he wept reading all of these things. And she's probably done it now for over 10 years. Every year she gives him that journal. And the amazing thing that Rob said, Dave, is what you say, like that motivated me to want to be better.

Yeah. And Rob became the guy that texts Michelle almost every day. Makes us other husbands look like losers. We'd be out to lunch, all these girlfriends and Michelle opens her text and she's like, oh, what?

Did Rob text you again? And then she's like, oh yeah, it's no big deal. And all the women are like, just read it, just read it to us. And it would say, Michelle, you're the best wife. You're so beautiful.

And thank you for taking care of our girls and you're the best. And you guys are all looking at your phone like, when's my husband going to... We kept holding our phones like, when's it coming in? Oh wait, it didn't. Yeah. And again, it just shows the power, what Solomon said, life and death are in the power of tongue. It could be text. It could be a look.

It could be literally words like that can change your home. I remember laying down with the boys, you know, when they're little doing devotions at night, right? And I didn't do it a lot. I mean, you did it more than me and I remember walking out. What'd you say? You said something about you're jealous.

Oh, this was an ongoing fight because I was horrible with you. I'm like, why aren't you like Dennis Rainey? Why aren't you like Bob Lapine?

They read the Bible every night with their kids. And I thought that would motivate you. And so when I started that prayer of like, Lord, show me the things that Dave's doing right. You walked out of that room after laying with the boys and praying with them and I watched you and we came out of the room and I said to you, I'm so jealous. And you're like, what? I said, I just watched you in there with our sons and I realized like you have so much power. Like they're clinging to every word you say. You just have so much influence over them. And I'm jealous of that. Like, man, I wish they would cling to my words like that. I mean, I remember you saying that and the funny thing is what was I doing the next night? I'm up in that bedroom. I'm up there the night after that night after that. It was so motivating.

It's like, really? I have influence that's powerful and they're hanging on my, I just never thought that. And I often thought you were better at it. Like mom's better with the boys at the spiritual stuff than dad is. I'm better at church.

I'm the preacher, but it motivated me to step into the role God had called me to be to lead my family and lead my boys. Do you think a lot of men feel that? That the wife is better? I know they do. Really?

Oh, I know they do. I've talked to hundreds, if not thousands of men that feel that. And I would say to the wife listening right now, encourage him. Tell him, tell him he's good. Lie if you have to. I'm kidding, but no, speak life. And every man, we're wired the same and I think women are too.

We are motivated by belief and encouragement and we'll run harder and faster if somebody believes and encourages us, speaks life. Your husband's faith might look different from yours and that's good. It's good for our kids to see it look different.

Yeah. I remember when again, Cody, our youngest went to college to play football. You said to me, like the night before he's going to go, we're giving him a laptop to take to college. And I remember you saying, Hey, you know, you're really a good writer.

You're an amazing writer. You are. And I remember going, no, I'm not. I literally said, no, I'm not. I'm not. I'm okay, but I'm not good.

Oh no, you're really good. It really would be encouraging if you'd write Cody like an email, like as he goes off to college, you played college football. He's starting to do that.

You should write him something. And I remember thinking, I don't know. I'm not that good. And I just let it go. Well, and I was saying that because you're so good at putting your feelings down on paper.

Well, I didn't think so. But before I went to bed that night, I wrote this email encouraging him saying, boy, I remember when I went to two days in college and I was way down on the depth chart and how hard it was. Anyway, I just tried to inspire him. It's going to be really hard, but you've got what it takes and sent this email off and he never responds.

And say, thank you. I don't even know if he got it. I'm like, did he get it? And I remember thinking, oh yeah, I'm such a great writer. My son didn't even acknowledge my amazing words and never heard anything about it until four years later when he's graduating, he sends that email back. And he said, dad, you know, this was the first email I ever got in college four years ago on this computer.

Yeah. And there were days I wanted to quit. It was really hard. And I would read your words and it would encourage me. And here I am four years later, thank you. This was a powerful email in my life. And I'm like, wow, there's Anne again. She's right. But you know, as he gets ready to go to camp with the Detroit Lions, guess who sends him an email the night before training camp?

Me. Because I was like, wow, you inspired me with words of life to remind me that I can have an impact with my words and I would have never done it. And if you would have said, which you probably would have said 20 years before that, you know what, you should write your son an email.

You never do that. I would have never done it, you know, but you said it in a way it was packaged, you know, it was wrapped up in a way that was encouraging and encouraged me to do it. Well, I'm recalling, too, if you get into the teenage years and sometimes it's not always easy to see the greatness when they're struggling in your relationships a little strained.

And I think that C.J. was home from college and then our other two were in high school and it was the summer. And it always takes a while to adjust when all the kids are home all the time in the summer. And I think I was complaining to the boys about you guys need to work around here and you need to get things done. I always said that many, many times. And as I'm saying this, I think they were playing video games and they all picked up their phones and they started all getting on them. And I said, what are you guys doing? Are you listening to me?

This doesn't sound like I'm very positive at this point, but they started laughing and they said, yeah, mom, we're talking and texting each other about how crazy you are. And so then I'm just mad. And so when I get mad like that now, I just need to leave the room. And so I was going to go for this walk and I go on this walk and probably for the first two to three miles, I am complaining to God about our children. Like are you seeing the way they disrespect me? Are you seeing that they're not doing anything?

They're not working hard and who knows what they're going to end up being like? So I'm just venting to God. And it's not, I'm not sure at that point I had ever done this before, but after about three miles, I had vented everything I could. I said, so God, what do you think? Jesus, what do you think about this?

Don't, don't you agree with me? And I don't know what I was expecting, if there'd be some boom in the sky or some epiphany in my mind. But all of a sudden, God just started to download and these thoughts started coming to my mind.

And I started with CJ, like, are you seeing what's happening with CJ? And this thought came into my mind. Isn't he the most fascinating person you've ever met? And I was thinking like, where, where did that come from? And I had the next thought that came to my mind is he's just like Nathaniel in whom there is no guile.

And I'm just going to tell you right now, those thoughts just don't come to me, especially Nathaniel. Yeah. And I mean, you know, you don't know our son, CJ, but that describes him.

Yeah. Well, perfect description of him. Why do you think that describes him? I mean, he's so, uh, there's no guile. He's just, he's just who he is. He's wonderful. And you would never notice him. He would just sneak up on you and you'd love the guy. And he is fascinating. He's kind of quirky. And that's what you heard.

Yes. And I had never heard anything like that. And so that like perked my ears up.

Like, what? Lord, is that you? Because God can speak through us. We have the power of the Holy Spirit in us. And so I started listening and that made me go to Austin.

Lord, what about Austin and what about Cody? And I just started hearing all these beautiful life giving words of how he delighted in each of them. And I treasured it in my heart and I realized I'm not looking at that greatness.

I'm not seeing all those good things. And when I came back, I remember going up to my room and even writing all this down because it was, it was like a pretty pivotal moment in my life. And I wrote down all the things that I felt like God said. And, um, I started trying to speak that to them. And when I would get frustrated and see the negative because we just all bug each other sometimes. But when I would go back to that and recall and remember, this is who they are. I need to say those things and draw the greatness out of them.

Yeah. And so I would hope, you know, an action step from today is that you and we would do this. We would see our spouse, see our kids, see your neighbor the way God sees them. He sees them beautiful, made in his image, valuable, formed by him in their mother's womb.

Psalm 139, he sees awesomeness in him. I was thinking if you've never done this and you feel like, oh, our home does not have that atmosphere. Pray, go to God, talk to him, and then go to before your family and say, you guys, I just want to apologize. I feel like I've been nagging everybody. I feel like I've been talking about the negative things in all of us.

And I'm really asking God to give our family kind of a new, I'm asking God to give our family a new perspective on seeing the great in each other. And then the action step would be speak it out. Yeah. So I've got an idea. We've been encouraging people to text one another. Let's do it.

Right now? Yeah. Let's just take a minute and text a life text, words of life to one another. I don't know what you're going to say.

You don't know what I'm going to say. I've already got your name in. Here I go. Well, let's text each other and then we can read it later. Oh, we're going to read it out loud. Yeah. Why not? A couple minutes.

Okay. Well, as Dave and Ann work on their text messages to one another, let me step in here and remind you that what they've talked about today is one of the themes that they address in their book, Vertical Marriage, the importance of how we affirm one another, how we speak life to one another. The book Vertical Marriage is also available as a small group video series.

So if you've started your small group back up and you're looking for a way to invest in your marriages together, consider the Vertical Marriage small group series or get a copy of Dave and Ann's book, Vertical Marriage, the Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages, the little things that make a big difference. We've got both the book and the video series in our Family Life Today Resource Center. You can order these resources from us online at or call to order at 1-800-FL-TODAY. Again, the website or call 1-800-358-6329.

That's 1-800-F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today. You know what Dave and Ann talked about today is at the heart of what we're all about here at Family Life, providing practical biblical help and hope to strengthen your marriage and your family. David Robbins, who is the president of Family Life, is here with us and this conversation today has really been on mission for us. Yeah, at Family Life, we do everything we can to halt the drift toward isolation that is so often experienced in families and help people grow toward oneness in relationships that matter most. The relationships like the relationship with God and their spouse or their kids, even their neighbors.

That's what we are about. And our vision is every home a godly home and a godly home is one where people in that home are growing as disciples of Jesus and making disciples around them. So whether it's bringing you the practical authentic biblical insight for your family through Family Life Today and your earbuds or through a radio station, whether it's hosting marriage getaways like Weekend to Remember and the cruise that we do and many other venues or providing tools for you to host small groups and mentor others, we believe that families are one of the most untapped resources on the planet to help fulfill the Great Commission and bring good to the world. And I just want to say thanks for listening.

Thanks for engaging. And please feel free to email us with ways we can pray for you. We have a prayer team that loves interceding for people that are part of the family of family life by engaging with us and whether it's things you're taking steps of faith in or or areas you're having to trust the Lord in and in different seasons and maybe hard seasons in your life. We would love to come alongside and pray for you because we are so grateful for you. Go to our website at and there is a link there where you can click and contact us, send us an email and a prayer request and we would love to pray for you. Again, the website is

Thank you, David. And we hope you have a great weekend. Hope you and your family are able to worship together in your local church this weekend. And I hope you can join us back on Monday when we're going to hear about the significant elevation that Jesus gave to women in the first century culture.

Christy McClellan will join us to talk about the worth and the value and the dignity of women that Jesus restored in his earthly ministry. So we hope you can join us for that. So a few moments ago, we texted one another and I just hit send and I just received yours. Did you get mine? Yes.

I'm so excited. You are? Yes. You want to read what I wrote? Yes. Okay. Don't read mine.

You haven't read it yet, have you? No. Okay.

All right. Here's what you sent to me. You are one incredible woman of God. You are the greatest mom and grandmother in the universe. You could not be a better wife and mother.

You believe in me and trust me unconditionally, and that makes me a better man. Thank you for choosing to speak life to me and others. You are a picture of Jesus to me. Thank you. Oh, that's so nice. Thanks. Okay.

Your turn. And here's what you wrote to me. I love and admire who God made you to be. You're a leader I want to follow.

You're funny and laid back, but driven at the same time. Everything you do is done with excellence. Our boys admire you and want to hang with you all the time.

I didn't even realize how blessed I was that God brought us together. You are the man. I love doing life with you. Thank you. If we did that once a day. How hard was that? That was easy. Yeah. Speak life today. Family Life Today is a production of Family Life, a crew ministry, helping you pursue relationships that matter most.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-09 09:12:10 / 2023-11-09 09:26:17 / 14

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