The Importance of Words

Colossians 3:16–17 holds an important truth:

“Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.”

Couples are to teach and counsel each other in the context of their marriage. They should be learning from each other and growing in the grace of God together. After all, they’re on the same team, made one by the vows exchanged in the presence of God and others.

That, I know, is easier said than done. Too often our tongues get us into trouble. There is a story that illustrates this point perfectly: A man with six children was proud of his “achievement” and developed the habit of referring to his wife as “mother of six.” Much to his wife’s chagrin, he never called her “honey,” “sweetheart,” or “darling,” even when they were out in public. One night at a dinner party, when it was time to leave, the man called loudly to his wife, “It is time to go home, mother of six,” to which his exasperated bride answered, “Whenever you’re ready, father of four.”

Yes, “the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity . . . and sets on fire the course of our life” (James 3:6, NASB). Who among us has never had poorly chosen words get away from us? Unfortunately, we all do that from time to time. As Scripture warns us, “The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences” (Prov. 18:21). That is key to the marriage relationship. With your tongue, you can bless or curse your spouse, build up or tear down, encourage or discourage. Its power is remarkable and even frightening. Never forget this sober truth about your words:

What you say to and about your mate will soon become what is believed.

Excerpt from “Happily… Even After” now available on Amazon.

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BARRY STAGNER

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