Some Spell Love B-R-A-V-O
Are You a Cheerleader?
Have you ever wondered why football teams need cheer leaders? I mean, can you picture a scenario where they are of any real value to the game? Imagine, you are down 35 to nothing. The coach has tried everything, the team is dejected, and the fans are heading for the exits, and it’s just the start of the second quarter. Suddenly a quiet but growing chant begins to waft through the stadium.
“Be aggressive…Be aggressive…B-E A-G-G-R-E-S-S-I-V-E…”
The quarter back leaps to his feet and yells to the rest of the team…that’s it guys…we forgot to be aggressive. With that the tide of the game turns and what looked like a hopeless slaughter turns into an overwhelming victory. At the end of the game the cheer squad if lifted up on to the shoulders of the players as they stride off the field victorious, thanks to the cheerleaders.
Sound silly? It would be if it weren’t for the knowledge that our words, or sometimes lack of words, can in fact have a significant impact on the lives of those we love. See, just like quality time is one of the love languages, so too is giving words of affirmation. Actions often speak louder than words, but not always. Let’s consider this love language as we see that some people spell love B-R-A-V-O.
B is for Basic
There are basic things that we do with our words that have a tremendous impact. It starts with simply being polite and well-mannered. I’m often stunned—and saddened—but the number of couples I talk to who have stopped being “nice” to each other.
As a kid I remember being reminded at least a million times to say “please” and “thank you” to everyone. They were referred to as “The Magic Words.” I’m not sure if these is still taught to kids today…evidence seems to say that it isn’t. However, in our most intimate and closest relationship we need to keep these words, and many more, active in our vocabulary bank. We have to speak to each other with basic courteousy, whether our primary love language is words of affirmation or not we should make this a practice.
R is for Random
One fellow came home from work with a bouquet of roses and a box of chocolates for his wife with no real reason or special occasion to celebrate, just to say, “I love you.” She met him and the door and burst into long painful sobs. He was, understandably, confused. She began to lament all that had happened through the course of the day…broken dishes…backed up drains….messy kids….burned dinner…etc….finally gasping a breath she concluded, “and now to top everything off you come home drunk!!’
Random words of affirmation will be surprising, and may at first be met with skepticism—especially if this has not been a regular thing for you. If you start today giving words of affirmation to you beloved, but before today most of what you had to say wasn’t worthy of saying, it may sound a little like a foreign language. Keep at it though, because it will pay off in huge dividends over time. Keeping it random helps us avoid getting into ruts where they are the same words at the same time which would eventually sound somewhat hallow. Surprise with your speech and see what happens.
A is for Authentic
It is possible to really go “over board” and become unbelievable with our words of affirmation and appreciation. (Appreciation would have also been a good ‘A is for…’ topic too) We need to be authentic with these verbal gifts. For example, telling my wife that she is the best cook in the world and should have her own restaurant would be exaggerating and she would see right through it. (Honey, I’m not saying you aren’t a good cook…you know what I mean.) It wouldn’t be authentic praise and therefore would sound hallow, albeit flamboyant.
So, keep you words of praise and appreciation believable and authentic. Talk about the traits and character of your spouse. Positively point out things that he/she has actually done that have meant something to you. If you start offering false praise it will become harder for the one you are attempting to affirm to believe that you mean what you are saying, and you will be leaving them feeling unloved once again.
V is for Voluntary
At first it may seem that you are having to force yourself to do this. That’s ok. As I mentioned earlier, if you haven’t already made a habit of being complimentary and courteous in your speech with each other it might feel awkward when you get started. Keep at it though. As this becomes a practice it will become more natural and essentially voluntary. I believe that you will even want to do this more as you open your eyes to the things your partner is doing that you might not have noticed before and as you become aware of the positive aspects of your relationship.
O is for Often
There isn’t a pattern or formula that comes recommended by the experts. I would simply say that the best frequency for these words of affirmation would be to make them part of your life often. A good time to do this is on a date night—which I highly recommend for every couple. Go to dinner, even if it’s the McDonalds dollar menu, hold hands, and speak affirmation to each other. As I said, even if this isn’t your primary love language, no harm will be done by hearing words of affirmation. If this is your partners love language, however, you will be loading their love tank in a major way, and you will be giving them a precious gift that there is far to little of today…
The song, “Home on the Range” talks of a place “where seldom is heard a discouraging word.” Truth be told that isn’t true about most homes and families around us.
Yesterday I watched, sadly, as a couple tore into each other in a public parking lot. Profanity, anger, hatred, all seethed out of both of them. As they walked sullenly to their car I wondered what it would be like in their home. Every couple has faced times of pain and anger…words spoken in haste. Making a practice of speaking encouragement and affirmation will change your home…and perhaps impact other areas of your life as well. Give it a go, after all…
Some spell love…