Recently, I had a reader ask if I could address the way some wives speak to their husbands. This particular bride struggles with having an unkind tone and also has used jokes as a weapon towards her man.
I think this is a great question and one that I am sure is very relevant to many women today. It’s so easy to have our feelings hurt or lose our patience and then retaliate with unkind speech or speak to our husbands in a belittling way.
So today I’m going to take you to the book of James, Chapter 3. Oh, the book of James. Just hearing the name of that book makes me wince and feel convicted!
Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way. We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself. People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! James 3:2-10 (NLT)
Little convicting isn’t it? We use the tongue to praise God and we use it to curse others. I’m in that group. I’m guilty as charged. I wish I wasn’t, but if I said I didn’t do these things then you can add ‘liar’ to my resume as well.
The tongue is hard to tame and if you’re not careful you can cause an awful lot of damage with this small organ.
As wives, we can easily hurl insults and jab at our husbands when we feel rejected or hurt by them. It’s a natural reaction. It’s a lot more common for us to use our vile tongue than it is to just haul off and slug our husbands when they offend us. And let’s face it, sometimes our emotions have gotten the best of us and the LAST thing we want to do is exercise some spirit-filled, self-control. We want to get back at them. We want to hurt them like they hurt us. Or we want to be right. Or we want to make them feel like an idiot.
Let’s get to the root of the issue regarding our speech…… It’s our heart, friend. Our wicked, self-centered heart.
For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. Luke 6:45
If you fill your heart with the things of the Lord and seek to please Him in all things, it will be easier to speak words of life, kind words, to your husband. Notice I said ‘easier’. I did not say it will always be under control because the Bible is clear, we won’t be perfect in this pursuit. Remember what James said?
For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way. James 3:2 People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. James 3:7,8
So what’s a woman to do in this situation? Throw up her hands and say there’s no use? Why bother trying?
No, that’s not the answer. That’s the wimpy Christian’s approach. But you dear reader, you are filled with the power of the LIVING GOD. And you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you! And you’re a wise woman who seeks wisdom to deal with this untamed, vile animal that lays, oh so peacefully, yet, so deceptively, behind your sweet smile.
5 Ways to Deal with the Tongue
1. Be mindful of the fact that our tongues are downright difficult to tame. This will help you to know what kind of beast you’re dealing with so you won’t be deceived.
2. You can build others up with your words or tear them down. You may not have control over your situation, but you do have some say of what comes out of your mouth. No one is forcing you to spew venom on your man! And your man does not need another mother, so I strongly caution that you do not speak to him like he is a child. He’s not. He’s the leader of your family and he has been ordained by God to hold such a position. You can argue with God all day long about this one, but I believe Father knows best. So give him the respect he deserves, whether you feel he deserves it or not.
3. Learn to exercise self-control. This is an on-going virtue that will grow stronger the more it’s exercised. But the key here is doing it in the Spirit. You can forget about self-control lasting long when doing it in the flesh! When exercising self-control in the flesh it’s kinda like going on a diet. We’re committed to having the motivation and will-power for a few days, but when someone puts a delicious brownie in front of us then the diet goes straight out the window. It’s the same premise with our tongues. We’ll have some self-control in the flesh, but we’ll have the most when we’re in the Spirit.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Galatians 5:22,23
4. Talk to your husband about your struggle in the flesh. Yes, you’ll need to be vulnerable here. Let him know when he says or does certain things it makes you feel_________. (Fill in the blank.) And that’s why you lash out or talk to him like he’s a child. You’re not justifying your behavior here, you’re just sharing your heart/your struggles. Ask him if he likes it when you speak to him in such ways. I’m sure he doesn’t. Let him know you’re working on this and maybe this will spark him to work on his fleshly struggles that offend you.
5. Learn to apologize over and over again in your marriage. This is another area where you’re using your tongue to build up your husband and your marriage. This restoration is ALWAYS needed in any marriage. A word of caution here regarding one’s tendency to not deal with offended feelings: Sweeping issues under the rug will not make your marriage better, it’ll just make a messier marriage.
The following passage applies to any wife/believer but I wanted to point out these verses specifically to a wife whose husband is an unbeliever or barely believing. The verses are in the same passage of James, Chapter 3 where he taught earlier about the tongue and this is what follows:
But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness. James 3:17,18
The words that come out of your mouth will make a HUGE impact on your unbelieving (or believing) husband. You are planting seeds of peace when you’re filled with gentleness. Cover him in kindness, dear friend…..even if he is vile. He’s just like the rest of us sinners, however he doesn’t have the power of the Holy Spirit like you do!
She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness. Proverbs 31:26
Our words matter!
Live a poured out life for Christ,