I remember when I first discovered four letter words. Though I’m not proud of it, I used them quite a few times as a kid. My friends seemed pretty impressed with my use of these colorful adjectives—my parent’s did not share the same opinion. I got away with swearing for a time, I figured as long as I didn’t say them in front of my parents I’d be okay. Eventually one slipped out in front of my parents and so did the soap across my mouth.
I learned a valuable lesson early in life— You can’t hide what’s hidden in your heart forever.
Matthew 12:34-37 says, “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that men will have to give account on the Day of Judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”
The familiarity of our marriage lends us to say things to our spouse that we would never dare say to another human being—but don’t be mistaken; our words cut and damage our spouse like any other person.
So if you’re asking, “How do I tame my tongue?” The answer is simple; allow God to tame your heart. Ask yourself:
- How do I speak to my spouse?
- How do I speak about my spouse?
- What thoughts fill my mind about him?
- Am I talking constructively or tearing down my spouse?
- A great question I learned to ask before I spoke of an offense was, “Will this offense matter five years from now?” Some helpful hints I learned to follow are:
- Only address issues if they count past your immediate present.
- Just because we have emotions and opinions doesn’t mean we speak every one of them. Recognizing we don’t need to discuss our every emotion or opinion releases us from judgmental attitudes and liberates us to control our speech.
- When we believe and speak positively about our spouse, they become gentler and kinder towards us.
- Exercise the same restraint in responding to your spouse as if you were speaking to your boss at work or friend.
- Know this—what we hide in our heart eventually comes out sooner or later. If our speech reflects our heart’s condition, then when we clean up our hearts by surrendering them to God, we clean up our speech and control our tongues.
Another important truth to remember is:
In other words don’t just control your speech to keep from saying something bad…practice praising your spouse.
People rise to the words you speak over them. If you tell your spouse they’re not good for anything—you’ll probably get it. But, if you choose to shower them with words of affirmation they’ll rise to the occasion. Praising and believing the best about our spouse heals our relationships. I
Here are some practical ways to build your relationship:
Write out ten reasons you love and respect your spouse.
Find a way to daily express your admiration for your spouse.
Express your respect in the way they will most effectively hear you. (Practice doing this for 30 days and you will be amazed at the results.)
Entertain positive thoughts about your spouse; concentrate on 2 or 3 things you love about them instead of contemplating all the things they do wrong.
James 1:19 says, “…Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”
For more insights,on how we tamed our tongue … pick up a copy of What I Wish My Mother Had Told Me About Marriage: Unlocking 10 Secrets to a Thriving Marriage and read it together.