“We want our marriages to be places where our words are life-giving.” Kara Plett


It’s called an earworm – an unwanted song that plays over and over again in your mind. If you once hear “It’s a Small World,” it may be stuck in your head all day (Maybe even the fact that I mentioned it will start an earworm for you.). We laugh about it and may even try to pass an earworm on to someone else by singing a bit of the song and hoping they’ll end up saying, “Now you’ve got it stuck in my head too!”

The other day my husband said to me, “You know, songs can get stuck in your head but so can the things we say to each other.” How true this is! – and sadly, the words that get stuck in our heads are often hurtful or negative.

Marriage is one of the most vital places we hear powerful words. Though my husband is a wonderful encourager, I have found myself wishing that he would say certain yearned-for things to me. I’m sure he is wishing the same thing of me. This has become even more true since chronic illness entered our marriage.

We may think we know what our spouse wants to hear but if we took the time to ask them, we might be surprised to hear what actually is powerful and meaningful to them. We want our marriages to be places where our words are life-giving. As we read in Proverbs 16:24, our words can be like honey – sweet to the soul and adding health to the body.



There is a helpful tool available from Chronic Joy entitled Words are Powerful! I asked my husband to join me in taking a look at it the other day.

After printing it out, we cut it in half, and each took our respective sides (There’s a side for the chronically ill spouse and a side for the supportive spouse.). We took some time on our own to read through the statements and highlight those that are or would be powerful for us to hear from our spouse. We both found ourselves thinking, “All of these are important to me.” This is probably true for most couples, but we tried to narrow it down to highlight some phrases that were most powerful to us or that we yearned to hear from the lips of our partner.

As we passed the papers to each other and saw what each of us had highlighted, some wonderful conversation took place. We found ourselves thanking each other for the things we already were saying. We also realized there were some holes, some things we didn’t realize were important to the other – things one of us wished the other would say, acknowledge, notice.

I was able to share how much it means when he says, “I love you just the way you are.” He was able to tell me how important words like, “I’m sorry, I know this is hard on you too,” are for him to hear from me.



Knowing what our spouses may need to hear can help us be more intentional about speaking life-giving words to them – and of course, we know when we intentionally choose to do this, it can change how we act toward each other too.

Marriage is challenging enough and adding a chronic illness adds a whole new dimension, a dimension that isn’t going away. It will stay a part of our marriage and so we want to learn to handle it the best way we can. Our words are a great place to start.

Let’s have the words that we say to each other become earworms of affirmation and love.

Yellow Bubbles
Kara Plett

Kara Plett

Chronic Joy® Staff Writer and Prayer Team

Kara and her husband Conrad live in Calgary, Canada, where she was a teacher for 28 years. She loves the Word of God and encourages others through her devotional writing. Kara felt led to write a book of devotionals (Searching for Sea Glass) when her journey with chronic illnesses pressed her into God’s arms of love more deeply. She prays that her journey and refinement will encourage you in your walk with God.

Words are Powerful

Ask your spouse which of these phrases is meaningful to him/her or if there are other phrases he/she would like to hear. Both you and your spouse could highlight phrases on either side to help you remember what is powerful to your spouse.

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