Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sacrificially Loving Your Spouse: Your Words

Here is the last post on the series of sacrificially loving your husband--your words. 

Do you honor your husband when you speak of him to others? Is he thrown under the bus for the sake of a joke, griping, gossip and complaining or, despite what mistakes he might make, do you protect his reputation and build him up in the minds of others? Remember, you have the power to esteem your husband in people’s minds or to make him look silly and foolish. We mistakenly do the latter, and then we wonder why no one looks at our husband for leadership opportunities or come to him for wisdom. We tear down our husband’s reputations just so we can selfishly let off steam.

Instead, be a promoter and recommend your husband. Not only refuse to complain about him in public, but choose to thank him and build him up in front of others. I have a friend who is constantly praising her husband—not in a bragging way—but in a proud, loving way. By the time I am leaving her, I am ALWAYS thinking highly of her spouse. People’s perceptions of your spouse are based greatly on how you present him.

What other practical steps can you take to prefer your spouse with words? Build him up and encourage him with love and gentleness in your speech. Tell your children how blessed they are to have your spouse as a father. When is the last time you told your parents how wonderful your husband is to you? That’s right! So many of us use our moms as a sounding board to gripe about what our spouse did wrong. Stop! Instead, tell her what a sweet father he is or how well he painted that room or how long he worked today to provide for your family. Write a little brag post about your spouse on Facebook. Buy a card for no reason and tell your husband as many things you love about him as years he is old or years you have been married.  Bible verses encourage me, and I send them to my husband when he is in trials to give him encouragement as well.  Scripture is a powerful tool of encouragement and hope that God has given us to use for life and godliness!

Sometimes our lack of words can be an encouragement as well. Instead of complaining or criticizing him about his parking job, his perceived bad driving, his clothes on the floor, the drawer or door he left open, the errand he forgot to run or the obvious “I told you so” staring you both in the face, just close your mouth ladies, love him, and fix whatever needs to be fixed or do whatever he forgot to do without telling him.  Proverbs 25:24 says, "It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife."  In addition, Proverbs 27:15 reminds us that "A continual dripping on a rainy day and a quarrelsome wife are alike."  Proverbs 21:19 adds, "It is better to live in a desert land than with a quarrelsome and fretful woman."  The Bible is clear that an argumentative and negative wife is not going to create a happy marriage or husband.  Who wants to be compared to a desert or an annoying, dismal dripping? 

Rather, look at what Proverbs has to say about the Proverbs 31 woman, an excellent model of godliness and righteousness in her wifely role.  Proverbs 31:26 explains that "She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue."  What a difference from the above wife!  This wife is speaking God's truths and filtering what she says through the fruit of kindness!  This is a wife who is helping her husband and strengthening her marriage.  Proverbs 14:1 says "The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down."  The Proverbs 31 woman is using her words to build up her family and the contentious wife is tearing it apart with one foolish word after another.

What is the pattern of your speech?  When you are speaking directly TO your husband, are you using gentle and encouraging words?  Ephesians 4:29 tells us, "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear."  Is everything you are saying to your husband giving him grace, or are some of your words tearing him down and multiplying sinful attitudes and words in your family?

Using righteous words and taming our tongue is hard, but we are still called to be holy in this particular area.  We must use the help of the Holy Spirit and the truths of scripture to guide us in our speech.  Think of the fruit that will result from righteousness in this area!  Be encouraged and cling to God as we work to honor God through sacrificially loving our spouse!

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