As couples, we learn communication skills – how to talk with each other effectively. But have you considered how to talk about each other in public when the other isn’t present?
“When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different.
You know that your name is safe in their mouth.”
This quote has been attributed to a 4-year-old and a 13-year-old, to a best-selling author and to a songwriter. Even to a paraphrase of a verse in the Bible.
What does it mean?
More than simply a heart-warming saying, it provides concrete words to support an attitude for relating to others, including those we’re closest to.
When Greg says my name, I’m confident that it will put me in the best light. The way he chooses to talk about me will show appreciation and respect. He’ll praise me and celebrate me. His words will demonstrate the way we feel about each other and the way we relate to each other day-in and day-out.
When with others, I know that he won’t criticize me, disrespect me, or throw me under the bus. He won’t “air our dirty laundry”, complain about me, or embarrass me. He won’t use my name as a punch line to a joke. . .
Through the years, loyalty has been an important theme in our relationship. That loyalty translates into how we talk about each other when in conversation with others. Our talk is indicative of the way we view each other – giving each other the benefit of the doubt, not assigning blame, accepting responsibility for our point-of-view, and speaking for ourselves.
Sit-coms and advertisements seem to take pleasure in delivering lines for a cheap laugh – at the expense of another individual or even of an entire gender.
They paint a stereotypical picture of:
Webster defines words as “a unit of language that functions as a principal carrier of meaning.”
Our words carry meaning; they matter
When talking about Greg, I want my words to express respect, appreciation, love, and loyalty. I want my words to provide a snapshot of our relationship.
I will keep his name safe in mouth.
Sharing fondness and admiration with your partner is important – equally important is sharing those things when talking about each other in public with others.
When you talk about your significant other today with colleagues, friends, or strangers, what will you demonstrate by the words you choose?
Your words can be more than a trite throw-away line in a sit-com.