Marriage Talk—How To Talk To Your Spouse

As this year has begun, I am thinking on goals and visions.  I wrote down my goals and visions on New Year's Eve. I had prayed about what to have as my goals and I had asked my husband to pray for me.

Today as I read my Bible and prepared for our daily prayer time, I focused in on Ecclesiastes 5:6 "Do not let your speech cause you to sin and do not say in the presence of the messenger of God that it was a mistake.  Why should God be angry on account of your voice and destroy the work of your hands?"  

If you have some familiarity with the Bible, then you might be familiar with the many verses on speaking and/or the tongue.  

James 3:6 Yes, the tongue is a fire, a world of wickedness. The tongue is so placed in our body that it defiles every part of it, setting ablaze the whole of our life; and it is set on fire by Gei-Hinnom itself.

In my life, I have found that my greatest mistakes started from my tongue speaking either rashly or harshly.

Relationships are often broken over a few simple words spoken with rash indifference to the destruction that would ensue.  So much of what we speak comes from our broken selfishness.

My childhood was filled with people who spoke without thought to how it would come across.  It was filled with angry words spoken to me and to others before me.  The legacy of my childhood has marred my life in many ways.

Most people who are not intimately knowledgeable of the Bible think that God is full of anger and vengeance.  Some of us are aware that the Bible states that the sins of the father will be cast down through 7 generations.  From my perspective God is speaking about the sin that parents commit to their children and in front of their children—those are what is carried down through the generations. (8 ‘Adonai is slow to anger, rich in grace, forgiving offenses and crimes; yet not exonerating the guilty, but causing the negative effects of the parents’ offenses to be experienced by their children and even by the third and fourth generations.’) Most people find it hard to break the cycle of speaking and behavior that they themselves were witness to.  God does not mean He is casting the sin—no we sinful humans are routinely carrying and thrusting our sin to others around us.  We are the ones who have broken this world—not God.  God keeps trying to save us from our sin.  He has given us His holy word to transform us.  He has given us His Son our Savior to mitigate the damaging sin we do and to heal the sins that were done to us.

To speak without sinning takes effort.  To speak and grow a marriage takes positive, loving, kind communication from our mouths—our faces—yes our faces speak volumes to our loved ones, often without our knowing it.

To save our marriages and create positive marriages we must first face the sins that were thrust upon us throughout our lifetimes.

It is overly simple and without helpful meaning if I state to you to change how you talk into something kinder and gentler.  If I tell you what in your mind you know—that respectful speech and gentle words will build your marriage, without the how to overcome negative speech patterns and thought patterns, then what good is the pat answer?

I've known all my life that I should speak without anger and coarseness.  I see blog posts galore that talk about marriage communication starting with respectful tone and kind words.

I feel that most of us know that we should speak like we are talking with someone in authority over us so that we will use a more respectful tone.  Truly has that worked for anyone?  I think it works for a day or two.  But then we quickly fall back into old patterns that were ingrained in us from the womb till now.

How do we change our gut reaction in speech?

We react often without thinking in the heat of the moment the way we saw others do when we were children.

How do we change time honored tradition of yelling to get our point across if that is all we heard as children?

Where can we find emotional and mental healing such that the very words that sit in our heart change?

Matthew 15:18 But what comes out of your mouth is actually coming from your heart, and that is what makes a person unclean. 19 For out of the heart come forth wicked thoughts, murder, adultery and other kinds of sexual immorality, theft, lies, slanders....

You know that I'm going to say that it starts every morning with intentional reading of God's word and prayer.  We can't change without His holy word breaking down the past hurts and transforming our thought patterns.

I'm actively seeking change in the words that spring forth from my mouth.

I will be married 20 years this May.  I am blessed to say that the majority of our marriage we have communicated without yelling and in a mostly positive way.    I'm not entirely sure, given my dysfunctional childhood, how I didn't desire to yell at my husband on a routine basis.  There were times because of my dysfunctional childhood that I didn't communicate at all about our issues because I didn't want any strife.  I craved peace so badly that I sacrificed working on areas until things were not as they should have been.  That type of communication also breeds dysfunction and pain.

There again the Bible speaks to this form of dysfunction.  Matthew 5:24 leave your gift there before the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.  Proverbs 10:13 On the lips of the intelligent is found wisdom.... Proverbs 16:23 The wise man’s heart teaches his mouth, and to his lips it adds learning.  God can give us the ability to speak with wisdom and knowledge.  It says in His word that He grants wisdom to all who ask.  God can grant us the ability to speak with wisdom and compassion when we renew our minds in His word daily:  

Proverbs 15 New International Version (NIV)

15 A gentle answer turns away wrath,

   but a harsh word stirs up anger.

2 The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge,

   but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.

3 The eyes of the Lord are everywhere,

   keeping watch on the wicked and the good.

4 The soothing tongue is a tree of life,

   but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.

To have a soothing tongue that is a tree of life to our family members that can heal as proverbs 12:18 speaks of, we must first work inside of ourselves.  

It takes time and work to create healing out of dysfunction.

Recognizing that we need help to heal and grow is the first step.  The first step to beginning the journey of transformation through God's word.

The steps to healing for you might look a bit different then mine.  Inquire of the Lord on what steps you need to take and where you need to find your healing.  Most importantly is to do the work.  No matter how many times you fall back into old patterns.  Most people slip once or twice then throw in the towel.

Transformation doesn't happen overnight.  No, it always takes time and effort to dig into the word and prayer and counseling.  

Counseling is one very important key.  If you have a lot of strife because of how you speak then start with a Christian counselor.  Divorce and dysfunction are always more expensive in the long run then the money spent on a wise Christian counselor.

I did counseling as a young adult and this truly did help with some of my dysfunction.

My greatest breakthrough came from Christian Coach Hannah Keeley's life transformation Boot Camp.  This was massive action, real tools, and real results in a fast, effective way.  I was broken from the flooding of our home and needed Biblical emotional help and healing.  You can read the story here.  However, I walked away with healing in so many more areas.  Including how I speak to my family.

The other tool that I have been reading recently is Dr. Caroline Leaf's book:  Switch On Your Brain (Switch On Your Brain: The Key to Peak Happiness, Thinking, and Health).  This book has a step by step process of replacing negative thoughts over a 21-day program.  I can't encourage you enough to seek this book out and learn from her.  She truly is blessed by God with immense scientific and Biblical knowledge.  

More than anything seek the Lord moment by moment.  There is no quick fix in my opinion to completely stop yelling, rash, and harsh talk.  I find it odd that other blogs claim that you can just force yourself to speak kindly without first working on the root spiritual dysfunction that has us flying off the handle.  

Feel free to reach out to me with any questions or inquires on how you can tackle your communication issues.

Let's pray:  Dear Lord God in heaven, You are Holy and worthy of all praise.  Lord Jesus we thank You for Your Holy Word.  We praise You for Your Holy word that holds all the answers to life and the issues that this broken world may bring to us or has brought to us.  Lord God Your word is a lamp unto our feet.  Your word is wisdom and we praise You.  Your word is sharper than a two-edged sword cutting deeper to remove sin such as yelling and hateful speech.

Lord Jesus we humbly come before You this day to pray for guidance to heal how we speak to others and ourselves.  We pray Lord that You would provide the steps to healing for each of us, please.  Help us to know where to begin to heal our minds and families that have been effected by our sinful, hasty speech.  Jesus You are the great healer.  We praise You and thank You for forgiveness that we do not deserve.  Yet, You sacrificed Yourself for our salvation and transformation through the Holy Spirit.

Lord Jesus help us to know who in our lives we must forgive and heal from.  Sin is like a volcanic explosion that can have far and lasting effects.  Lord Jesus please heal all the people we have wronged and help us heal in all the areas that others have wronged us in.  By Your hand we can be healed.  Please take us on our healing journey.  Please keep us ever working on healing and learning through Your Holy word.  Help us not be deterred by time nor circumstance.  Help us please to persevere in triumph over any and all areas of brokenness in our lives.  In Jesus Christ Precious Holy Name, Name above ALL other names, AMEN and AMEN!

Bible Verses To Think On:

Proverbs 12:18 Idle talk can pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise can heal.

Proverbs 15:2 The tongue of the wise presents knowledge well, but the mouth of a fool spews out folly.

Proverbs 17:27 A knowledgeable person controls his tongue; a discerning person controls his temper.

Proverbs 18:21 The tongue has power over life and death; those who indulge it must eat its fruit.

Proverbs 15:4 A soothing tongue is a tree of life, but when it twists things, it breaks the spirit.

Proverbs 21:23 Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps himself out of trouble.

Proverbs 31:26 פ When she opens her mouth, she speaks wisely; on her tongue is loving instruction.

James 1:26 Anyone who thinks he is religiously observant but does not control his tongue is deceiving himself, and his observance counts for nothing.

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About Leah Virgin
God has created a bursting desire to share His word. My name is Leah Virgin, loving wife for almost 20 years to my soulmate, and mother to three beautiful and blessed children.