The following is an excerpt from our book True Intimacy.
For the next month we will be posting a chapter a day for your reading (and marital) pleasure. However, if you would like to purchase an electronic or printed copy for yourself or someone else we would greatly appreciate your support! To go to the web page for more information click here.
Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires. So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things, see how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell. James 3:4-6
You know the old adage; “if you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all”? I think that applies here in marriage most of all. Our words hold such power and we don’t even realize it. Our words have the power to cut our husbands to the quick, or pull them up from a pit of despair. Our words are power-filled, and must therefore be carefully guarded. When I looked up “words”, “mouth” & “tongue” in a bible search engine I was amazed at how many scriptures deal with what comes out of our mouths. God is a man of few words, so when He says something once in the bible, you listen. If he says it twice, then it must be very important. If he says it 856 times, well, you listen, obey, and then listen some more!
Our tongues are the greatest weapon of mass destruction; they are like a nuclear bomb in a marriage. And just like a bomb, if not guarded carefully they can be dropped and decimate our precious husband. Our words can go two ways, they can build up, or they can tear down. And just because your husband (or friend, or brother or neighbor or stranger) acts in a way deserving of harsh words, it does not give you permission to cut them down with the sword of your tongue!
There’s a public service announcement where a mom is buckling her baby into its car seat, all nice and secure. Then the mom gets into the car, and locks the doors, and lights a cigarette. That baby is locked into that position of being forced to breathe that cigarette smoke and damage its lungs. Our negative words do the same thing to the people around us. They are like a thick black smoke. As the negative words pour out of our mouths the black smoke billows and fills the room. And the people around us are forced to breathe it in simply because they are near enough to hear. This smoke poisons your entire being with negative attitudes and thoughts. So the next time you’re driving with your kids in the car and you’re tempted to swear, or even speak harshly at the driver that just cut you off, remember, HE can’t hear you, but your kids can. He will not be affected by the black negative attitude smoke coming out of your mouth, but you and your children will be. The things that we think about are “stored up” in our hearts. (Remember Luke 6:45? The good man [or woman] out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.) Therefore the things that we think about are also coming out of our mouths as well. Before the fast I was constantly complaining to my friends about how horrible my husband was, I was constantly thinking about how horrible he was. Then when he came home, I’d start talking to him and treating him like a horrible husband. On the other hand, once I decided that I needed to change my attitude I started telling my friends how wonderful my husband is, and then I was thinking about all the great things that he does for me and how much he loves me. Now, when he gets home, I of course start talking to him and treating him like he is a wonderful husband. In the beginning, I was fighting momentum and it WAS NOT EASY. But I didn’t give up! Turning your weapon of mass destruction into a tool for building is possible.
The one who guards his mouth preserves his life; the one who opens wide his lips comes to ruin. (Proverbs 13:3)
Speaking rashly to your husband could just manage to push him down farther and you with him. With [the tongue] we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. (James 3:9-11)14
Praise can flow from our lips like fresh water from a mountain spring. Your husband was made in God’s image, just as you were, praise him too. A man’s character is what matters most; both to his wife and to the man himself. Women marry men for their character. Men see themselves by their character. If you really want to praise your man, praise his character. NEVER insult his character.
It’s dangerous to walk around with a loaded weapon, especially if it’s in your mouth! Make sure that your tongue doesn’t have a hair-trigger. Be quick to think, but slow to speak.
Throughout our relationship, I’ve often told Tamar to think before she speaks. Don’t get me wrong, she doesn’t mean to say hurtful things to other people; it just comes across that way sometimes. We are ALL guilty of doing this. We start speaking before the entire thought is formed in our mind.
Accidentally saying harsh words occasionally can be hurtful to others for a short time. Purposefully saying harsh words often can be hurtful to others for a lifetime. The words don’t even have to be directed at someone to be harmful to them. If my son hears me constantly berating Tamar, how is he going to speak to his own wife? If the child’s father (or mother) is constantly complaining and swearing, that is all the child is going to know.
So, in essence, I guess what I’m suggesting is, speak only good, helpful things to build each other up, or keep your big mouth shut.