If you’re married, the most important earthly relationship you will have is with your spouse. You may be a parent, an employee, a leader, a teacher, a neighbor…but no relationship is as important as the one with the person to whom you are married.
One of the ways we affect our marriage more than any other is by what comes out of our mouths. Or even, in this time of social media, the words that are seen on Facebook, Instagram, emails, blog posts, will have power over our marriages.
We can either use our power for good or for evil. To build up or tear down. To give life to stifle it.
I’ve only been married for seven years, but I have learned many valuable lessons about the words I speak to my husband.
You are the most important human voice to your husband. You speak much into your husband on any given day. You are usually the first voice he hears. And many times, the last. What you speak in those times can lift him up, or tear him down.
You can also have a lack of communication that can be detrimental to your husband. So, ladies, if you are thinking great and wonderful thoughts about your husband: he is a good dad, he took time after a long day of work to play on the floor with your toddler, he took out the trash, he got your home ready for your Masters’ rental: tell him. You don’t need to keep all these nice things bottled up. He needs to hear you say it.
If you have to share rebuke or correction to your husband, choose to pray about these things first and humbly come to him in a timely manner, not in the heat of the moment. Emotions can run high, especially in an argument or when the kids are fighting, or maybe when you are hanging out with other people. Choose to think about the things that need to be said and bring it to your husband’s attention at a later, calmer moment.
The Proverbs say much about our words. And we can learn how to speak humbly instead of pridefully to our spouses. Gary and Betsy Ricucci, in Love That Lasts, share these pointers from Proverbs. (There are many others; you will definitely want to read this book!)
- Pride loves to talk, reveling in every self-exalting form of self-expression.
- Pride is quite content with what it already knows.
- Pride assumes I already understand everything I need to.
- Pride assumes I don’t need help.
- Pride sinfully judges others by assuming they will respond negatively or unhelpfully if I’m open.
- Pride uses conversation as broadcast time.
- Pride doesn’t need a spouse, just an audience.
- Pride denies what the gospel reveals about our seriously sinful condition.
One way, a big way, we show respect to our husbands (Eph 5) is by what we say, both to him privately and what we share about him in public. Shame can be imparted with careless words. Ask the Spirit to guard your tongue and your heart so that your words to and about your husband would always be life-giving to him.
- The tone is just as important as the words I choose to say.
Communication has many parts. It’s not just the words you say that is important. Your tone and your body language are maybe even more important than the words you say. Sometimes your tone has a greater effect on a conversation. Consider, for instance, you are visiting someone in the hospital, and you don’t say a word because you are afraid to say the wrong thing. So you sit and hold their hand as you listen. You haven’t said anything, but your actions speak louder than your words.
The same is true for your communication with your spouse. You can say I love you and say it very coldly after a fight. Or you can say I love you as your husband walks in the door from work as you greet him lovingly. Two different tones, same words, different things communicated.
- Words can be forgiven, but are hard to forget.
We are all sinners. And sinners always need to be forgiven. Words can come out so quickly, but they are often hard to forget. There have been a few times of word-amnesia with my husband. Where something hurt so bad, but a few months later I can’t even remember what was said. I think that is a total answer to a prayer of the Holy Spirit working love in me: love doesn’t keep a record of wrongs.
Ask the Spirit to do the same thing in and for your marriage. He will do it.
Our marriages are worth fighting for. If you believe that, you will fight for choosing the right words to say and the way to say it. And there will be times when we fail. That failure can hurt and sting. Only Jesus can take away the pain of those words. He alone can heal relationships that have been broken by sour words. Turn to Him for healing. He can heal and wants to heal.
©2018 Women of Warren, Warren Baptist Church