What Did You Say?

It’s not what you say, but how you say it.”

My then boyfriend-turned-husband would preach this so much – I could anticipate when he was going to say it. Whenever a heated conversation lurked, I was spitting venom with the intent to poison. I didn’t realize at the time that my words were containers.

There’s so much power in the words we speak. I can’t stress this enough. We can encourage or discourage with the same tongue. What an oxymoron! My words were sending death to my man – a man whose love I desired. Armed with my venomous words, I would strike whenever I felt threatened. During premarital training, we had begun learning how to communicate effectively. We both were rough around the edges, but I can admit that I was a little worse off than he was. In my defense, I didn’t know how to express my concerns or problems without copping an attitude. I didn’t consider how the words that I spoke would be interpreted by my soon to be husband. I was always right and could justify why I spoke the way I did. I guess, in my book, if you said something that I felt was stupid, you would get cut. It was my defense mechanism. But, if I took this same approach in my marriage, my choice of words would cause puncture wounds. Eventually, my husband would bleed to death.

As a wife, I now understand what my husband’s favorite old saying meant. Effective communication is the lifeline to any relationship, especially a marriage. When we choose to use the words that are filled with anger or any other words that evoke negative feelings, we ultimately lose focus on our purpose. Communication allows us to share our perspective on a specific topic, with hopes of it being understood by our mate and the necessary changes or adjustments being made. The challenge is selecting the words that contain love, patience, and understanding. The words we say can be tainted, debilitating or colorful, life-giving ones. Now ask yourself, what are your word containers filled with?

Editor’s note: excerpt from He’s not perfect. I’m not perfect… But together we’re… Picture Perfect (


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Lakia Brandenburg

Lakia Brandenburg

Lakia is an accomplished writer and educator with a heart for love and relationships. She's written for Gospel Today and has freelanced for top national magazines such as Upscale. Creating a happily ever after story to be your reality.