May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O LORD,
my rock and my redeemer. —Psalm 19:14
How easy it is for a person to say one thing and another person to hear something completely different! That is true in all relationships, but perhaps even more so in marriage.
I cannot stress enough the importance of recognizing the genetic differences between male and female beyond the obvious physical ones. This is especially true in the realm of communication. Men and women think differently and therefore communicate differently. In a marriage, failure to recognize this often leads to misunderstanding, hurt feelings, and even divorce. So in our quest to live happily even after, we again have to take the time to examine what the Word of God says about this important topic and how to weave it into the fabric of our married life.
First Corinthians 15:33 is a good place to start. In the King James Version of the Bible, this verse reads, “Evil communications corrupts good manners.” The New King James phrases it somewhat differently: “Evil company corrupts good habits.” The word translated “communications” in the King James and “company” in the New King James is the Greek word homilia, from which we get the English word homily. So Paul was obviously referring to verbal communication and the way it affects others. The biblical principle of 1 Corinthians 15:33 is undeniably true: evil (poor) communication negatively impacts manners, habits, and attitudes. I am sure we have all experienced a conversation that has degraded into rude name-calling or false accusations.
But the reality is, once the words have escaped our mouths, it is impossible to call them back. It is imperative, therefore, that we learn how to speak in a way that promotes intimacy within our marriage and propels us along the path of becoming one. Scripture is full of warnings about the danger of inappropriate, uncontrolled communication. One of my favorite passages on this topic is James 3:8–12: 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! Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring.
To say the tongue is “restless and evil” is one of the greatest understatements of Scripture, and most of us have figured that out in our own lives by now. Even when we don’t want to say certain things, they have a way of coming out of our mouths anyway. But the good news is, God can tame our tongues! He can change our bitter words to sweet and replace our salty words with fresh ones. And we have the privilege of cooperating with Him in this venture and thus transforming the atmosphere of our marriage.
Excerpt from “Happily… Even After” now available on Amazon.