April 30, 2010
Words of Life or Death
"The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences." Proverbs 18:21 (NLT)
I often hear my husband Scott say something to my sons that brings a smile to my face. "Have you told your mom you love her today? Don't ever forget you have the best mom in the world." When I hear him praise me to our sons, I feel encouraged and appreciated. From my husband's example, I've learned to be careful about the words I say not only to my husband but also about my husband.
Today's key verse tells us our words can bring "death or life." In our marriages, this means our words can either tear down our spouses or build them up. I've been noticing lately whether I'm more likely to say words such as, "I'm married to the greatest man," or words like, "I told you so," or "You don't even try to understand me."
What about you and your words to your husband? When you speak to your husband, do you fill him up with praise, or make him feel like he's not measuring up?
Let's also consider the words we say about our husbands to others. What kind of things do you say about your husband to your children? Your best friend? Your sister or mother?
I tend to be a "venter" when I am angry or frustrated with my husband. Sometimes I turn to others because I'm seeking validation for my angry feelings. Often I vent when I haven't taken the time first to deal with the situation with God. I'm learning that if I go to the Lord first in prayer, pouring out my heart to Him, He changes my heart and brings me to a place of repentance and calmness. Then I'm able to let go of my anger and move on, or talk to my husband about it in a loving manner.
Scripture gives plenty of evidence that God's words have the power of life. In Genesis we're told God created every inch of the world with His spoken words. John 1:1 tells us that Jesus is the Word. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus heals countless people with the power of His words. In a similar manner, our words have accomplishing power. God wants our words to bring life to our marriages. We can choose what we will sow—words of life or words of death—and we will reap the consequences many times over.
Use today's application steps to fill up your husband with words of life.
Dear Lord, let my words to my spouse and about my spouse draw us closer to one another. Teach me to communicate in ways that build my husband up instead of tearing him down. If pride, stubbornness, selfishness, or any other sin is preventing me from speaking words of life in our marriage, Lord, I confess that right now. Make me aware of any words of death I've spoken in our marriage. And as the Holy Spirit brings those to my mind, help me confess and turn from them, especially any words of divorce. Break any curse on our marriage from hurtful, angry, or destructive words. Guided by Your wisdom and love, may our words to and about one another build a protective wall around our marriage. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Today's devotion is adapted from What a Wife Needs from Her Husband by Melanie Chitwood
What a Husband Needs from His Wife by Melanie Chitwood
30 Days to Taming Your Tongue and accompanying Workbook by Deborah Smith Pegues
For more marriage encouragement visit Melanie's blog - What Matters Most
Considering the list below, which words do you speak most frequently to your husband, "words of life" or "words of death"? Plan on blessing your husband with at least one phrase from the "words of life" suggestions.
Words of Life
I appreciate how hard you work.
You are an incredible husband.
You have great insight.
I'm really looking forward to going out with you.
I was wrong.
Will you forgive me?
Words of Death
You never listen to me.
You just don't get it.
I told you so.
You should have…
I wish you could just try to understand me for once.
How could you think that?
Why did I ever marry you?
That was dumb.
We'd be better off divorced.
What situations tend to cause you to speak "words of death" to your husband?
Are there certain words you need to make off-limits in your marriage?
In what other relationships do you need to practice speaking "words of life"?
Ephesians 4:29, "Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift." (MSG)
Psalm 19:14, "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer." (NLT)
© 2010 by Melanie Chitwood. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Friday, 30 April 2010.