“You only bring out the gold in each other when you treat each other as the bearers of the gold.”

I am copying this sentence from a book[1] I wanted to read for a long time. They remind me of words that (among other things) saved my marriage a long time ago: “You think you hold a water pistol in your hand, but without realizing it, you shoot with a machine gun.”

The more intimate your relationship with someone is, the more impact your words have. Your words can harm more than you like, but also heal and elevate more than you thought possible. If you act and speak towards someone with respect and love, that person can grow and become more who they are, especially if that person is your own husband, wife, child, or friend.

I was completely unaware of this when I got married almost twenty-one years ago. I said what came to my mind, plain, random, often unfriendly. Only when I heard Tim Keller speak on the cassette tapes we got on our wedding day, that you can think you’re holding a water pistol when actually it’s a machine gun – and I saw my Love nod affirmatively – I began to see that I maybe had to do something about the way I bring things to the table.

That was hard and it took me a long time to get better at it. I still blurt out things that I subsequently regret and that hurt people. But the opposite also happens: I see how my words can build, brighten up, lift up, motivate someone. It brings tears to my eyes when I see or hear that the words I tried to choose so carefully and thoughtfully come across and someone moves on with fresh courage.

It is precisely that thought that makes me take the time to make that choice and it does not only apply to people with whom you have a romantic relation or a family connection:

“You only bring out the gold in each other when you treat each other as the bearers of the gold.”

If I see and think that the person I am talking to is valuable, worthwhile, gold, then I can and will treat him or her that way. Then that machine gun becomes a cannon of love and encouragement.

Foto door cottonbro op

[1] De Ware Worden by Rinke Verkerk and Margo den Ouden

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