Does your mouth often cause trouble between you and your husband (or between you and other people)? If you’re one of many women who end up “venting” on their husband or saying harsh words you later regret, God’s Word gives us 3 clues on how we can respond appropriately when we start to feel our anger rising.
1) Pause. Just stop. Leave the room for a moment if you need to. Don’t react in the moment because your gut-level reaction will almost always cause trouble! James 1:19 puts it this way, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” So pause before you react verbally.
2) During the pause, consult the Holy Spirit and ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand how to love and respect your husband with your response. Would your husband be positively impacted by a gentle and encouraging word from you? Would your husband be more willing to make changes that you’re requesting if you showed him respect by asking him to help you understand his perspective? Philippians 2:4 says “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interest of others.“
3) When you’re ready to address the issue with your husband, say a silent prayer and ask the Holy Spirit to be the one speaking to your husband by using your mouth. Trust me. The Holy Spirit will come up with much better words than you ever could, and will utter those words in a much more respectful way! When speaking to his disciples, Jesus said in Matthew 10:19-20, “But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”
Many powerful and influential male leaders have attributed much of the reason for their success to their wives. Billy Graham is one of those leaders. When his wife died in 2007, he told reporters “My work through the years would have been impossible without her encouragement and support.”
Your husband needs your encouragement and esteem in order to have the boldness and confidence to accomplish great things. In Genesis 2:18, God makes it clear that women were created because men need help. God said “It is not good for man to be alone. I will create a helper suitable for him.” That helper is you, and one of the biggest ways you can help your husband is by encouraging him with your words.
With that in mind, here are 10 words/phrases that your man longs to hear from you:
Husbands battle the world every day at their jobs. Co-workers stab them in the back. Other men put them down in order to look more important. The culture tells your man he is a failure if he doesn’t own a Mercedes and he can’t dunk like LeBron James.
So when your man comes home to you, the last thing he needs is to feel like a failure in your eyes too. However, our words often unintentionally communicate just that! Perhaps this is why God felt it necessary to actually instruct wives in Ephesians 5:33 that “the wife must respect her husband”.
Even if your husband has disappointed you, you can still be respectful as you address his behavior, request changes, and establish boundaries. However, if you condemn him and belittle him in that moment of disappointment, you shred his heart. As a result, he will likely turn his heart away from you, self-medicate his pain in destructive ways, or simply stop trying to be a good man since you don’t see anything good in him anyway!
With the need to respect your husband in mind, here are 12 words you should never say to your man:
Proverbs 18:21 says “the tongue has the power of life and death”. Oh my. Consider how many words a woman usually speaks in just one day, and you can see the potential for disaster!
It took me a couple decades to really understand this fact. The words spoken by a wife to her husband can either build him up and give him confidence to step up and be an even better man…or her words can tear him down to the point that he emotionally withdraws from her and doesn’t try to accomplish much of anything because he believes he’s a failure.
What kind of words are you speaking to your husband? Are you his biggest cheerleader? Do you intentionally encourage him every single day, or do you give in to the temptation to point out his many flaws on a regular basis? He NEEDS you to believe in him and encourage him. By the way, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t hold him accountable or put boundaries in place if he is actively sinning against you. However, even then, you can address sinful behavior with an attitude that is loving and hopeful. You can still let your husband know that you see something good in him.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I can get pretty grumpy when events become challenging in my day. When the internet goes down while I’m trying to work on my computer, I get super frustrated. When I accidentally drop a bunch of flour on the floor while baking, I get grouchy. When I get an unanticipated bill in the mail, I get really irritated. Unfortunately, when that happened in the past, if my husband happened to walk by at that particular moment, I inflicted collateral damage! Collateral damage is a military term where civilians, who were minding their own business, are injured unintentionally by a military strike. Hmmm. Yes, my husband sometimes ended up being that innocent civilian who was injured by the bullets coming from my mouth and the darts shooting from my eyes during moments of irritability!
How can you prevent this collateral damage? Here are two possible remedies:
1) Pause before you react! Before a word comes out of your mouth, pause. During this pause, remember who your enemy is. Your enemy is NOT your husband…or your children. Your enemy is Satan and he is TRYING to provoke you! 1 Peter 5:8-9 says “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith…”
2) Claim two specific Bible promises and pray that God would fulfill those promises for you in this moment…Isaiah 54:17 “No weapon forged against me will prevail” and Romans 8:28 “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose“.
Good grief! Just when I think I’m finally growing a little more like Christ, my tongue trips me up yet once again! In our marriages and in our friendships, what comes out of our mouths often tends to gravitate toward criticism, complaints, sarcasm, etc. Try as I might, I just can’t seem to turn the corner on this problem! How about you?
Chances are good that your tongue also gets you into trouble. That’s because we have a common enemy. Satan keeps subtly prompting us to spew negative, hateful, disrespectful, angry words. Thank goodness, there is One who has the power to tame our tongues! Jesus is stronger than the enemy. 1 John 4:4 says “greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” Hallelujah!
So, this morning I surrendered my tongue to Jesus and asked Him to control my tongue today. Would you be willing to ask God to help you remember to pause before you speak to your husband, especially when you’re angry or frustrated! Maybe you would benefit from asking God to remind you during that pause to speak words that are kind and loving, even if you’re asking your husband to stop a certain behavior or trying to explain your frustration. I know this is a prayer the Lord will answer because God tells us several times in the Bible to speak gracious words. Ecclesiastes 10:12 “Words from the mouth of the wise are gracious, but fools are consumed by their own lips.”
Will you courageously begin praying for God to help you catch yourself the minute you’re about to say something disrespectful, sarcastic, negative, critical, or arrogant toward your husband?
Normally, pride isn’t a very good thing. In fact, God tells us over and over again throughout His Word that we need to get rid of pride. I think we’ve all heard the Bible verse “Pride goeth before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).
But here’s the thing. I believe God is talking about getting rid of pride in ourselves. He doesn’t want us to be puffed up and arrogant. God wants us to attract people to Him through our humility. However, I don’t see any place in Scripture where God tells us to avoid telling our loved ones that we are proud of them. That kind of “pride” isn’t arrogant. It’s extremely encouraging to the recipient!
In fact, telling your husband “I’m proud of you” can move your husband out of paralyzing insecurity into confident, positive action. When you say, “You’re a good man”, or “you have a good heart”, or I’m so proud to be your wife”, you are speaking words of life to your husband. He longs to hear those words. It’s time we stopped focusing only on what’s wrong with our husbands, and looked for some things that we can honestly affirm. Our men need our encouragement!
This hit home for me recently. My husband took the time to tell me that he feels tremendously encouraged when I occasionally pop into his home office and tell him I’m proud to be his wife. That tiny little statement builds him up. It helps him press back into the challenges that await him. It helps him feel like he can slay dragons. His wife is proud of him. She believes in him. He has the courage and confidence to keep moving forward. Your words are powerful! Have you told your man that you’re proud of him lately? Are you speaking those essential words to your husband?
Consider Proverbs 14:1 A wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands a foolish woman tears hers down. Are you building up your husband, and thereby, building up your marriage and family? Or are you tearing down your husband and demolishing your home? Something to ponder!