Adam and I have been married for almost 15 years now. Although we still have much to learn, it has been long enough to learn some pretty important lessons along the way. We are in one of the sweetest seasons of our marriage. I thank God for the marriage we have, but it isn’t perfect. If there is one thing that I could share with you today, it is how important your words are. When you to speak to your spouse, about them to others, and to your children; how you talk will affect your marriage one way or another.
Adam and I were lucky enough to grow up in homes where our parents both have had good marriages. One of the best things we have seen is how they treat each other, and talk about one another. I know Adam would say that his parents have modeled what it looks like to speak kindly about each other, and to one another. And I can say the same thing about my parents. You can tell that there is mutual respect for each other in their marriages. One of my favorite things to hear is my mom say how great she thinks my dad is. Even what is unsaid can present a good picture of how a person feels about another.
In the first two years of our marriage is when I learned the most about how important my words were. While my husband was in graduate school, I had to work full-time. At one of my first jobs, I worked mainly with a bunch of other ladies. When there was down time, of course there would be talking, sometimes it wasn’t so nice. I can remember one subject that was discussed fairly often, and that was husbands. When this topic did come up, it seemed to be mostly complaining or putting their significant others down. I am usually a quiet person anyway, so I didn’t add much to the conversation to begin with, but I can just remember how hard it was to not join in on the husband bashing. Being newly married, I just couldn’t understand why they would want to talk this way about their spouses. I get it that no one is perfect, but I do know that our spouses do not deserve to be thrown under the bus by the most important person in their life. There is a time and a place to to air your frustrations, but I guarantee it isn’t with a group of people when your spouse is not there. So most of the time I just sat silent, not wanting to participate in the conversations.
As the years have gone by, it has gotten a bit harder to keep my words in check. We disagree on things, kids are thrown in the mix, and the feelings aren’t always constant. But the thing that has helped me the most is being aware of the fact that no matter what, I need to respect my spouse. I believe that it shows my level of respect in the words I use. It has not been easy. I have failed at it, but I have learned. Honestly, I have not been able to do it on my own. It is with the help of Jesus that I can even do it. I have learned that I need to talk to the Lord first about my frustrations, and process them with him first. He helps me deal with my feelings that might otherwise come out in harmful words. Even for the sake of my kids, it has helped me to bring Jesus into it. When I am not so overwhelmed with feelings, I can be aware of the words that I am saying. But this is something that I have had to practice at.
Can I just tell you that even when it is hard, it is worth it? When you learn to be careful with your words, it makes such a difference. Your spouse will feel more loved and respected. If you have kids, they will feel more secure seeing the respect you have for each other. They will learn how important it is in a marriage. And think of the ways that you will make an impact on others by what you say or don’t say. If you are the only one in a group who is not bashing their spouse, they will notice, and wonder what is different about you. You might even provide encouragement for them to work harder at their relationship.
Just remember, it may not come naturally, but you get better at it over time. Ask Jesus to help you control your words. He is faithful to provide.