Our lives are shaped by conversation – conversation that consists of thousands of words a day. Our children’s lives are shaped by the words spoken, or not spoken, in our homes each day, especially the words shared by Mommy and Daddy.
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Words are a gift from God. Words are powerful, and they have value simply because God intended for them to. Our words are meant to represent Christ.
Sarcasm, humor, irony, and teasing are common ways in which you will find me speaking on any given day. This has been detrimental to my marriage, for it is not my husband’s easily accepted way of communication. Simply put – he doesn’t like it. Over the years, he has adapted, but in the end, this type of communication does not serve my husband.
Recently, the Lord brought Proverbs 12:18 to mind:
There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
The ESV Study Bible notes on this verse were the icing on the cake to bring this point home for me.
Some people’s normal speech pattern is constantly to accuse, belittle, manipulate, mock, insult, or condemn, and their rash words hurt other people and feel like sword thrusts.
Wait, I thought I was just being funny?!? The only thing is … I was the only one laughing. I need help, and I need to change
Let’s talk about four things we need to be aware of when speaking to our spouse.
1. Talking a lot is probably not a good thing.
Recall the last time you were around a toddler.
- How many questions did she ask?
- Did you worry about whether or not he was going to come up for breath any time soon?
Proverbs 10:19 warns us against talking too much:
When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.
Consider the last time you rambled on and on about something.
- Were your words edifying?
- Were you re-hashing a topic that you had said you were giving to the Lord?
- Were you using your words to encourage or nag?
- Were you slandering someone else?
- What about gossip?
2. Listening carefully before responding is a mark of true humility.
The longer we live with our spouse the easier it gets to assume we know what they are thinking. We can listen to the first part of the conversation and assume we know exactly what our spouse is going to say. God warns us that this is pride, and we must be careful.
Before destruction a man’s heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor. If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame. ~Proverbs 18:12-13
When your spouse talks, do you listen with humility?
3. Demanding warrants poor results.
The wise of heart is called discerning, and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness. ~Proverbs 16:21
It never ceases to amaze me that I will first try the nagging and demanding route before I ever consider taking my request to my husband in love. However, when I bring my requests gently and with respect, my husband inevitably responds with grace and eagerness to fulfill my requests – every.single.time.without.fail.
Do you use your words to demand and nag, or do you use your words to show respect to your husband as you request his assistance?
4. Slandering our husbands is not becoming.
Titus 3:2 tells us:
Speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.
Are you quick to point out to your children evidence of grace in Daddy’s life, or are you critical and judgmental in what you share with your children? Let us guard our hearts and tongues from slandering our husbands to our children.
We must be wise in how we use our words, especially in our home. Our children are listening. Their little hearts and minds are being shaped by our daily conversations.
Paul Tripp says in his book, War of Words:
Words belong to God, but he has lent them to us so that we might know him and be used by him. This means that words do not belong to us. Every word we speak must be up to God’s standard and according to his design. They should echo the Great Speaker and reflect his glory. When we lose sight of this, our words lose their only shelter from difficulty. Talk was created by God for his purpose. Our words belong to him.
If you’re like me, more often than not, your words fall far short of the glory of God. But like me, you have an advocate who is pleading your case and washing you clean and giving you strength and power to change – Jesus Christ.
Next week, we’ll dive into what we will put on in this area of great temptation as we strip ourselves of unwholesome talk. We’ll look to the women of the Bible, and study their example in the hopes that the conversations taking place in Mommy and Daddy’s marriage would bear fruit in our children.
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What about you? Which of the four areas do you see yourself needing to grow in? Leave a comment so we can encourage you!
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