Hard Words for a Strong Family Bond
Some things are difficult to say. They leave us vulnerable and at the mercy of the other person. These same phrases, however, are often the statements most necessary to preserve and strengthen our relationships with our spouses, children, and parents. These difficult statements are actually treasures of the heart that we protect with great caution. Let me share some of these treasures—difficult statements that can strengthen your family relationships even though we struggle to give them voice. Practice them as often as needed.
- I’m sorry.
- You were right.
- I was wrong.
- I need your help.
- I don’t know.
- Will you forgive me?
- I’m hurt.
- I deserve what I get because I really messed up.
- I’m letting this go. (And then really doing it.)
- I’m scared.
- I forgive you.
- Good-bye. (i.e., to a family member leaving for college.)
- I do. (As in “who gives this woman to be married?” “I do.”)
Let me end with a quote from Stephen King that describes difficult words to say…and the need to state them.
“The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them—words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they’re brought out. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you’ve said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That’s the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller but for want of an understanding ear.” –Stephen King