Early in their marriage, Dr. John Trent’s wife would get up early and cook him breakfast. One morning, he came into the kitchen and instead of bacon and eggs, he found a book. It was one of John’s textbooks from college.
She said, “Do you remember when you first got this book? You couldn’t wait to read every page. Now you use it as a door stop for your study.” She paused then said, “That’s what our marriage feels like.”
John’s wife had given him a word picture. He used to be excited to spend time with her, to learn about her, to read every page about her. Now, she felt like a book that didn’t mean anything to John anymore.
Our own vice president of Family Ministries, Dr. Greg Smalley, used a unique word picture to communicate his love for his wife, Erin. He told her, “Erin, to me you are a 10-cow woman.”
That unusual imagery centered around an account of a young Pacific Islander who wanted to ask for a girl’s hand in marriage. The tradition in that culture was to offer a number of cows that corresponded to the value of the woman – one cow, a common woman; two cows, better; three cows, awesome; four, the perfect woman. In this case, the young man gave eight cows for the girl he loved. It was an extravagant expression of his love. Considering Erin a 10-cow woman communicated to her, “That’s how valuable you are to me.”
Word pictures are an effective tool for clearly and effectively expressing your feelings and innermost thoughts. With word pictures, people get caught up in the story, and the truth of it goes right over their defenses and into their hearts. That’s what Jesus did. His stories cut right to the heart of his listeners.
Drs. John Trent and Greg Smalley are with us to talk about the power of word pictures in communication. As they’ll share, word pictures can come from anywhere. The question is, what do you want to accomplish? Do you want to express praise? Do you want to offer correction? Do you want to clarify yourself?
Join us for “Harnessing the Power of Word Pictures” to learn how to incorporate word pictures in your communication with your spouse and children. Tune in on your local radio station, online, iTunes, via Podcast, or take us with you on our free phone app.
And check in our online store for the re-release of Dr. John Trent’s book with Greg’s late father, Dr. Gary Smalley, The Language of Love: The Secret to Being Instantly Understood.