“Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind. Not only do words infect, egotize, narcotize, and paralyze, but they enter into and color the minutest cells of the brain.” – Rudyard Kipling

“A man will be satisfied with good by the fruit of his words.” – Bible

George had been working hard trying to support his young family, but things just weren’t going right. He was low on money already after the birth of their first child, and then the car died. Since he couldn’t get to work, he lost his job. Returning from a futile job hunt for anything within walking distance, his harried and worried wife greeted him with the words: “George, you’re a loser!”

George was devastated. Even though his wife later regretted what she said, the word “loser” had been spoken, and had done its damage.

Words. They are so important. God spoke, and the world was created.

We also have the power to create – or destroy – with our words. We can create good feelings, sooth troubled souls, and inspire and encourage. We can also do irreparable harm through a cruel word, gossip, slander and untruths. This power in the word applies to our own well being, as well as others.

It has been said that we will never rise above our confession. Have you made the comment: “Every time I get a little ahead, something happens to ruin it?” Or maybe “I just can’t do anything right today.” Then you wonder why you don’t succeed.

On the other hand, speaking optimistically has a definite beneficial effect on us and on others as well.

Many marriages are made or destroyed through the power of words. Unfortunately in the very familiar setting of husband and wife, we do not always choose our words carefully. Seems strange, since our spouse is the one we should be most concerned about encouraging and reassuring.

Heaven forbid we should ever physically injure our spouse, but if we do, the wounds usually heal up and leave nothing more than a scar.

What causes permanent damage is what is spoken. Physical abuse is bad enough; verbal abuse is life-destroying.

The significance of words starts with our very names. Names have meaning.

In the Bible, God changed the name of Jacob (one that supplants, undermines) to Isaac (laughter, laughing one). Both names were accurately descriptive.

The laws of science apply to the social world, as well: For every action, there is a reaction.

Everything we do and say evokes some kind of a response – in us and/or in someone else.

In our marriages our words should always be positive and encouraging. We can learn to bring about change and improvement without the use of destructive words.

Even in a crisis our words should be driving us to a constructive resolution and not complaining or derogatory.

Following are some thought – provoking words from a variety of sources, ancient and modern. Consider and apply as appropriate:

“For one word a man is often deemed to be wise, and for one word he is often deemed to be foolish. We should indeed be careful what we say.” – Confucius

“Give me the right word and the right accent and I will move the world.” – Joseph Conrad

“The first author of speech was God himself, that instructed Adam how to name such creatures as He presented to his sight ...” – Thomas Hobbes

“Speak clearly, if you speak at all; carve every word before you let it fall.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes

“Colors fade, temples crumble, empires fall, but wise words endure.” – Edward Thorndike

“A blow with a word strikes deeper than a blow with a sword.” – Robert Burton

“A very great part of the mischiefs that vex this world arises from words.” – Edmund Burke

“For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” – Bible

“All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.” – Bible

The Family and Marriage Coalition of Aiken, Inc. (FAMCO) provides resources for you to succeed in your marriage and families. Roger Rollins, Executive Director, FAMCO, 803-640-4689, rogerrollins@aikenfamco.com, www.aikenfamco.com.