They matter so very much.
ESPECIALLY in your marriage.
Negative words crush. Positive words give life. We often dole out both without much thought, and I think that needs to change.
One thing you can do right now that will bless your marriage is this: Look for one positive, life-giving, encouraging thing you can say to your spouse TODAY. And then actually SAY IT TO THEM. When tomorrow rolls around, do it again. Ditto for the next day.
Recently my husband was watching me do my thing -- I love to talk to strangers about Jesus. So that is what I was doing with our neighbor at the campground where we were staying that weekend. I saw him watching me with a grin on his face, but I didn't really think anything of it... Until dinner time, when he told the kids how he admired this quality about me. He went on and on about it. I have never felt more honored. To hear my husband brag on me to my children while I'm sitting there listening? Life-giving. Precious. A treasure for my soul.
Words have power, and all to often in our marriages, we keep these life-giving words inside, hold onto them, never letting them exit our heads via our mouths.
Release them, People! They have the power to do powerful things in your marriage, but not unless you actually speak them into existence!
Perhaps it's not easy to find things to speak. Perhaps you are in a difficult season of your life. So look HARD for something, even a small thing!
Are you inside a house right now? Then your rent is paid and someone went to work to put the money in the bank which paid for it.
Do you have food to eat? See above. Also, someone had to prepare it.
Are you wearing clothes that don't stink? Someone has a job that bought them and someone washed them and someone paid for the water and electric bill.
Did your spouse put the kids to bed instead of you? Mow the grass? Fill the car with gas?
Drop off the kids at school or pick them up? Make the bed? Wash a load of clothes?
There are any number of things you can thank your spouse for. And if there is something you can thank them for, then there is likely something they do well which you can mention as well.
Those positive comments, expressions of gratitude, commendations, observations -- all can be used by Jesus to bless the soul of your spouse.
Side note: It doesn't matter if your spouse doesn't say these things to you. Say positive, kind things anyway. You are only responsible for you, so YOU be the one who speaks first. And don't go keeping score about whether anyone returns the favor. Just speak the words. Out loud. With sincerity.
Words have power.