We promised to only say good things.
There in the half-lit restaurant. Leaning back against wooden seats in a booth. We were college students, not at all frightened of forever. A diamond glistened on my left hand. On yellow lined notepads, we scribbled out what mattered.
It’s been one of the hinges of our relationship every since. In public, we speak praise. We speak truth: life-giving words that fill up, like high-quality hot cocoa topped with real whipped cream on a day that chills the bones.
I tell people about his hard-working hands, how he loves us so well. When people compliment our grass or our sparkling floors, I defer them to Tim’s green thumb and his tidiness, how he toils with the mower and the mop. I tell about his loyalty, his strength, his business savvy, his willingness to take risks, that time he picked up an old man who had fallen in the street. You won’t hear sarcastic jests or jabs at his personality or his character.
In public, we breathe life. We honor. We respect.
In private, we gently critique and correct.
This same philosophy now extends to our children. We tell positive stories – about how they cleaned their room, stood up for a friend, served lunch to great-grandparents. We call them artists, scientists, and world changers. We let our words sink in to their souls, knowing full well that their ears are ever open.
We choose to let the good reign on our tongues. Not empty flattery (and no bragging competitions either), but the sturdy strength of truth. The words go out like a melody, like a calming tune played in the park on a Sunday afternoon.
At home, we instruct in love, we are honest about flaws in ourselves and each other.
But out there? Out where the world is often gruff and heartless? We encircle each other with encouragement. We boost each other up. Love always hopes, always trusts, always protects.