“If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue,
he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.”
Do you ever find yourself loading verbal ammunition to use against your spouse? Ever catch yourself trying to one up one another, competing for awards of who has it worse … or who has given more? How about ever say something you wish you hadn’t?
Whew! Glad to know we aren’t alone.
James one seems to indicate however that we do possess the power to reign in our tongue. So, how does a couple gain that victory?
In What I Wish My Mother Had Told Me About Marriage we share the inside scoop to taming your tongue. You see, the secret to taming your tongue is in taming your heart. After all, it is out of the overflow of the heart that the mouth speaks. Jesus said, “The good man 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.”
During my college years, I met an incredible couple. I loved watching them in their daily routines. I enjoyed how Andy consistently opened Bella’s car door and the way Bella joyfully picked up Andy’s plate from the dining room table after every meal. I marveled how Bella hung on every word Andy said. I wondered how many times, in their forty-eight years of marriage, she heard him tell the same story, when I personally had heard it at least ten times in the short eight months of our friendship. I loved watching the two of them together. Bella giggled like a little school girl and at times her face actually turned a soft pink because of the crush she still felt whenever Andy looked her way.
“Does Andy ever do anything to irritate you?” I asked. “I mean, did you guys ever fight or say cruel things to one another?”
Both laughed a hearty belly laugh. “Oh heaven’s yes! Of course! But at some point it just became such a waste of energy. After all, neither one of us was going to go anywhere; so, we decided we better learn how to get along.”[i]
How about you? Is getting along with your spouse a priority? Want to speak more kindly to and about them? Want to gain victory over your speech? Here are some simple thoughts to help.
- Establish checkpoints to guard your speech. Before speaking, ask is this going to encourage or discourage my spouse?
- Take inventory of your thought life. Ask yourself, how am I thinking about my spouse? Do I seek to consider their good qualities or am I concentrating on how I’m getting the short end of the stick?
- As always, the most important quality to pursue is an intimate relationship with Christ, daily. Invited God to guard your thoughts to empower you to meditate on all the things you love, not the things that are lacking. Ask Him to help you see the best in your spouse.
Make this your best year ever by taking every thought captive to the cross, honoring your spouse in your head and praising them with your words.