There’s been a theme in my head this week: Using the right words.
Not only was it the topic of my Thursday post (Q&A with J: “What Should We Call Persistent Porn Use?”), it’s also been on my mind because of a disagreement I had with husband (yes, we have those, just like you do) and because of hours of conversations with customer service representatives about a mobile phone issue. It’s easy to become careless with our words and say something we shouldn’t or to choose words that trigger the reactions in others that we didn’t intend.
Doesn’t this happen to many couples when they try to talk about sex in marriage? We get careless and rattle off something we shouldn’t, or we settle on a word that means something different to our husband than it means to us. And then we’re trapped in a Word War, both of us sparring with language in ways that don’t bring resolution or unity.
How can you make sure your words convey what you mean? What can you say that will get your spouse to understand what you want them to know about sexual intimacy for you? What words will open up the doors of communication and promote well-being in your marriage bed?What words will open up the doors of communication and promote well-being in your marriage bed? Click To Tweet
The Bible has a whole lot to say about our words. It’s really pretty amazing how concerned God is with how we use language. Or maybe not, since He’s the one who spoke the world into existence (“Let there be light…“). Perhaps He knows best how words hold power. Here’s just a sampling of what the Bible says about our words:
“Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin” (Proverbs 13:3).
“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit” (Proverbs 18:21).
“But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:36-37).
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29).
Given how important our words can be, do we pray about them? Before we verbally react to our spouse’s rejection or requests in the sexual arena, or before we even say not now or ask for something different in the bedroom, do we ask God to guide our words?
When God tasked Moses to lead His people to freedom, the first step was talking to Pharaoh. Moses prayed about it: “Moses said to God, ‘Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, “The God of your fathers has sent me to you,” and they ask me, “What is his name?” Then what shall I tell them?’” (Exodus 3:13). The rest of the chapter is God answering that prayer with specific guidance to Moses on what to say.
Speaking to your spouse likely isn’t as worrisome as speaking to a murderous Egyptian king, but we should definitely take great care in how we speak to our beloved! In Song of Songs 2:14, the husband says, “Let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet.” I’ll be the first to admit that my voice hasn’t always been sweet in my marriage. At times, I might have resembled Pharaoh more than Moses in how I spoke.
James 3:2 says, “ We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.” Preach it, James! We need God’s guidance to keep our words loving, effective, and Christ-like.We need God's guidance to keep our words loving, effective, and Christ-like. Click To Tweet
That doesn’t mean that our words will never be strong or insistent. If your spouse is in the midst of sin, you need to speak up with loving firmness. But those are times when you need God’s guidance for what to say even more.
How about we pray for our words? Pray that we use the right words that can get through to our spouse? Pray that we listen to our spouses in how they hear us and adjust our speech accordingly? Pray that we guard our lips, avoid empty words, and build our spouse up?
Let’s pray for the right words.