Billy Watchtorn was the PGA pro at Pine River Country Club in our hometown of Alma, Michigan, for a number of years. Billy’s laid-back personality and wry smile was a perfect fit for our small community. His knowledge of golf and ability to teach made him a favorite with high handicappers and scratch players alike.

One day I was talking with Billy about my friend Scott Davis, a very good player. I was sharing with Billy my amazement at the size of the divots Scott produces. Seriously, some of his divots are so big they resemble beaver pelts! (A divot is the piece of sod that is “cut” out of the ground by the club when one properly hits down on the golf ball.)

Without hesitation, Billy went into a lesson on the importance of properly replacing a divot. If the divot is replaced immediately, the ground will heal in as little as twenty-four hours. However,if an hour passes before the divot is replaced, it can take up to a week for the ground to heal. Finally, if that divot sits for a day, it becomes unable to reattach its root system. The ground can take up to a month to grow new grass.

Harsh words spoken in marriage leave scars in our spouse much like the golf club leaves a scar in the ground upon contact. We have received countless comments over the years on how “replacing verbal divots” has helped marriages tremendously.

When we realize that the words of our mouth or the tone of our voice has “cut” our spouse, then the sooner we address the issue, the more quickly the cut heals. When we admit our mistake immediately, the healing begins immediately. However, if we wait for an hour or two, often the healing takes longer. If we wait days — or weeks — to address the words of our mouth, the scar can be permanent.

No one gets this right 100 percent of the time. The key is to pay attention to the signs our spouses give that indicate our words have had a negative impact. I still deal with tone of voice issues, just like I’m still learning how to hit that low hooking three wood. But, just like I do with my golf game, I’m listening to the Pro and attempting to improve my “swing” when it comes to the words I have for Laura.

Let’s Rewrite History
Adolf Hitler said, “If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it is true.” History shows us the unfortunate power of that principle. Likewise, if you repeat the truth often enough, people will believe it is true. Truth will change their lives forever.

This is about powerful words that speak the truth to your spouse in ways they will understand. We all know men and women think differently. They speak differently and hear differently too.We are going to unlock the mystery behind your spouse’s words as we share eight phrases that will revolutionize communication in your marriage. But before you turn the page, we want to tell you that these words alone will not improve your relationship. Rote repetition of these powerful phrases will not automatically make your marriage better. Communication is more than the simple “mechanics” of human conversation.

Discovering the phrases that will change your relationship with your mate is important. But equally important is speaking those phrases with your heart. Make sure your spouse hears your heart as well as your words. Marriage is about revealing to your spouse the depth of who you really are and how you really feel. That truth will change your marriage forever.

Questions for Reflection
Take a moment and reflect on a time when words:

  • encouraged or inspired you
  • hurt or harmed you
  • made you laugh


Four phrases that a wife needs to hear from her husband and four phrases that a husband needs to hear from his wife.

She needs to hear:

  • I love you
  • I respect you
  • I desire you
  • I cherish you


He needs to hear:

  • I am proud of you
  • I need (blank) from you
  • I want you
  • I believe in you
  • At first glance, which of these phrases do you need to hear the most? The least? Why?
  • At first glance, which of these phrases do you think your spouse needs to hear the most? The least? Why?


Adapted from He Said, She Said
Copyright © 2010 by Jay & Laura Laffoon. Published by BakerBooks, used with permission.

Porn Addiction Destroys Marriage | Restoring What's Been Lost