Taming The Tongue In Marriage

Taming The Tongue in Marriage (adapted from starting out by MattJP, on Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/mattphipps/4961682108/)

I saw his face fall, his eyes turn downward, and watched him slowly walk away in shame.

She didn’t even know he had been there. She had been carrying on about all the ways men fall short of women’s expectations; how she saw a sweatshirt in a Christmas catalog with words emblazoned upon it:

“Three Wise Men?… Get real!”

She continued on about how she was tempted to buy it for herself since the universal hilarity of it would make her the life of the party. Everyone would think her so clever and would laugh along with the joke.

I mean, really? Everyone knows it’s women who keep things running, she snorted.

She said more, but I had to excuse myself from the conversation after attempts to steer the conversation in a more edifying direction fell short.

My heart ached for the man she hadn’t seen approach, nor leave with his head hung in shame. It was her husband.

Since my attempts to change the subject proved futile, I found my husband and stuck by his side for the duration of the evening.

Let’s Not Deceive Ourselves

I wish I could say this took place at a business function, at a public meeting of some sort, because then it wouldn’t have shocked me so much.

No…

With great regret I must tell you that it happened in church.

I’d like to attempt damage control and tell you this was an isolated incident… that I had never heard it before that time, and never since. But that would be untrue.

Many people would laugh along and say that it was just a little joke; a little female banter because “we all know men do silly things.”

Pardon me for being so severe upon my own gender, but I HAVE to say this:

We must stop deceiving ourselves.

We Christians are told in the Bible to keep a guard over our mouths and let that which comes from our lips be good for encouragement, edification—the building up of the Body of Christ—especially the portion of the Body of Christ that lives under the same roof and shares our bed—our marriages.

Sculptural Love

What a Man Wants

Most men will never tell you, wives, how desperately they long for… NEED… your respect. They lead lives of quiet desperation, hoping against hope for a little help in the form of respect from their wives—the one person whom they should be able to trust to be on their side.

Most men will never tell you, dear ladies, that you will be the queen of their heart if you would only build them up in front of others; speaking only the good, rather than exposing their shortcomings.

Most men will never tell you, my friends, how deeply their hearts are pierced through with respect for you… and deep abiding love for you… when you build them up in front of others.

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Most men won’t say these things…

But, I guarantee you that the lack of these—much less the antithesis—will slowly erode your marriage.

 “And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell

 

“With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so…

 

“But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic.”

 

-James 3:6, 9-10, 14-15 (emphasis mine)

We are made to be a blessing to our Maker, the Body of Christ, our children, and yes, our husbands.

The Power of Life and Death

Ladies, please allow me to say it plainly:

When we make comments, “jokes,” remarks, witticisms, it should be for the mutual edification of all. When we speak of our husbands we should consider every word in light of God’s Word and consider our own motives for saying them.

Are we trying to be the life of the party? Are we trying to “one-up” another woman? Are we attempting to set ourselves on a prideful pedestal to gain the admiration of other women for our long-suffering with “that man?”

Our words have the power of life and death. There is no neutral ground here; either your words are wholesome and uplifting or they are straight from hell. Please, ladies, choose this day whom you will serve.

Words and power…

Make no mistake, Satan knew exactly where to get Eve didn’t he? Right smack-dab in the gut of her (our) depravity.

He went straight for the choke-hold of the desire for power; that of being like God (Gen. 3:1-7).

The serpent, in all his cunning lowness, went right where he knew she would cave:

The desire to be worshiped.

Now, before you get mad at me and tell me this isn’t what we do, think about it long and hard. Commit it to prayer. Search God’s Word for yourself.

Then…

Ask the Lord if it isn’t true.

Testing Our Motives

When we speak ill of our husbands what, in reality, are we doing?

  • Are we building others up and setting a good example of how to love our husbands?
  • Are we living thankfulness to the Lord for giving us our husband?
  • Are we looking to help other women who may be struggling with respect?
  • Are we building up our men by focusing on their good and godly qualities, thus spurring them to love and good works? (Hebrews 10:24)

OR

  • Are we looking to be the life of the party?
  • Are we looking for the admiration of others by being witty, charming?
  • Are we just going along with the crowd because “everyone’s doing it,” and by doing so, gaining the perceived power of acceptance?
  • Are we looking to “fit in” rather than humbly encourage and stand by our men?
  • Are we venting our frustrations so others will think more highly of us for what we have endured?

Do you see how all of the motivators in the latter set above are rooted in pride, vanity, selfishness, and the desire to be approved of by (wo)man rather than God?

These are all rooted in the desire to be the object of worship.

Ouch.

Whereas the former set represents the qualities of a heart of Christ-like servanthood, and are rooted in a desire to live the worship of Christ.

To which are we called, dear sisters?

The Powerful Wife

If it is power you crave, seek to have the Christ-like power of prayer, of seeking your husband’s good. Your words have power indeed to help him be the man God has called him to be.

Our men slay dragons all day long on our behalf. When it comes to us, they need to know they are safe, loved, and thought of highly by us… even if no one else does.

If it’s power you seek, do what the Lord commands and show high regard for your husband—all in the name of Christ, humbly submitting yourself to God and trusting in His power. Then just wait and watch what power the Lord has to work miracles in your heart, in your husband’s heart, and in your marriage.

Sparks of Love

Watch your man “soar on the wings of eagles” because of God working through the power of His Holy Spirit in you to build up your house, rather than tear it down with your own hands (Proverbs 14:1)

Women of God, stop thinking like the world!

Start thinking with the mind of Christ toward your husband.

Real power is found on our knees in prayer and in worship of the only One worthy of praise.

Give all your hopes, dreams, and expectations to God, and let Him fulfill them as He sees fit. He promises He will work it to your good (Romans 8:28).

Real joy in marriage is built upon Christ-likeness.

Taming the Tongue

There, I’ve said it. (This has been on my heart for a very long time.)

Build up your man and focus on his best qualities. Build him up privately and publicly, and rest in the waiting for what God will do.

And the next time you are talking with a group of women—or even one-on-one with a friend, keep your tongue under control. If the conversation veers in the direction of husband-degradation, pray and try your best to steer it back onto an edifying course.

If it is not possible to do so, calmly excuse yourself from the situation and pray fervently for hearts to be turned toward godliness.

And please, when you confront another woman for speaking ill of her husband, do so with grace—realizing she may not know what she is doing. Speak prayerfully, gently, lovingly; giving proof from God’s Word. Commit to lifting her up in prayer. Offer to help her. It is possible that she’s never had a good example of how to honor her husband—I have known many women like this. Have compassion, but be firmly loving.

With a pressing desire to see Christian marriages grow strong,
Amy Joe

Linked to:  Missional Women.

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P.S. I hope and pray for your marriage to be strong in the Lord. If you need help standing strong, please allow me to pray for you by leaving a comment below or sending a private message through our contact form.

14 thoughts on “Taming The Tongue In Marriage

  1. Amy

    Please pray for me… I have a problem with my tongue. My poor husband I feel is ripped apart all the time by me. He’s such a living, caring, selfless person. I truly do t deserve him. I pray God works in me through the Holy Spirit to help me change. I want to change!

  2. Jim Bob

    A friend of mine shared this post with a group of wives and just shared with me the feedback she received from one of them:

    “This is a beautifully articulate and powerful article. I have been guilty of disparaging my husband for a variety of reasons and it has never ended well. My husband desperately desires to love me and feel my respect. I may not always agree but I am responsible to keep my side of the street clean. I often have to pray for strength in this area as it is a personal flaw of mine. I will be saving this to read frequently.”

    Praise be to God for giving Amy these words to share! And thank you, dear friend, for sharing this feedback.

    If you haven’t shared this post on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Google+, would you consider it? If you have already shared it, would you mind sharing it again?

    And please, if this article has helped you, we’d love to hear from you… either here in the comments, or privately via our contact form.

  3. Rachel

    This is great and I have failed so much in this area early in my marriage. I was like one of the women in that last part you mentioned- did not have the best examples and really did not know how to ‘do’ marriage. I am still learning. The more I committed to pray and God’s word, the more disciplined the Holy Spirit helped me become and taught me how to love my husband well with words. Now, I feel a queasiness in my stomach if I or someone around me begins to hint at being degrading. Even the smallest innocent seeming remark can have such a hurtful and negative impact. And you are right, our men won’t tell us, but if we pay attention we can see it in their expressions, mannerisms, and even feel it, the slow disintegration of the emotional bond. If we’re not careful, those words can become the death of our marriages. Thank you for this post and bringing attention to this important subject.

    1. Amy Joe Post author

      You are welcome, Rachel! I love what you say about getting queasy in your stomach when even the hint of degradation of our husbands. So true… I get this too.

  4. MommySue

    You had me at “Taming the Tongue in Marriage”! Oh so good and so true! Lord Jesus … we need your help and your grace! Thank you Amy for being obedient to speaking truth to us all!!

    1. Amy Joe Post author

      And thank you for the encouragement! It’s so easy to feel vulnerable when I give my thoughts on something like this. I am glad it spoke to you. 🙂

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