Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Speaking Kindly

I was holding Asher, but I needed to do something 
which would require free hands. 

"Take him!" I barked.

"Okay..." a girl in the youth group 
reached for the baby,
 assuming I meant for her to take him. 

"Oh," I reassured her,
 "I didn't mean you, I meant Brandon. 
I wouldn't talk to you that way..." 
I trailed off, realizing what I had just said. 

The week of youth camp was kind of hard on our relationship, as we didn't get to talk as much as we normally do. Brandon and I didn't get to spend as much time together because of his responsibilities in leading the youth group, which I totally understand. However, for some reason it made things a little tense between us. 

We didn't get to clarify misunderstood looks or thoughtless comments. We didn't get to show affection as much as we normally would have. We didn't have our relatively uninterrupted dinnertime conversations like we do at home. We didn't even sleep in the same room and talk and pray together at night as we usually do. Those and other situations made it harder to communicate as we would have liked.

Nevertheless, there's no reason to talk disrespectfully to anyone, but especially my husband. I am commanded to respect (Ephesians 5:33) and submit to him (Eph 5:22, Col 3:18) as to the Lord. Would I talk to God that way? Never. Would I appreciate being talked to that way? Nope.

I need to learn to keep a tight rein on my tongue (James 1:27) and speak "only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen" (Ephesians 4:29). I should set an example for others with my speech (1 Timothy 4:12) and my conversations should be always "full of grace, seasoned with salt" (Colossians 4:6).

I need to realize that even though my tongue is a small part of my body, my words are powerful - just as a small spark can set a forest on fire, or a rudder can steer a whole ship (James 3), the tongue can build up or tear down. "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger" (Proverbs 15:1).

Do you have any suggestions for keeping your speech kind? What works for you?

"May the words of my mouth 
and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, 
my Rock and my Redeemer."
 ~Psalm 19:14


  1. I've found that I often treat worst those people I love the best, especially my husband. I have a bad habit of speaking before I think, but I've been working on slowing down my reactions and trying not to interrupt as much. A big thing for me is remembering that my husband (almost always!) has good intentions so I should NOT assume the worst about him, which I do unintentionally. Also, as you said, I want to be treated with kindness and respect, so it's important to treat my husband that way.

    I don't have a "trick" or anything that helps me remember...but I'm asking God's help to treat my husband as respectfully as I can.

  2. This is an area that I find we have to be so very intentional over. It's so easy to bark thoughtlessly when I'm tired or grumpy. That would be my only suggestion honestly: to practice with intention until a harsh word becomes the noticeable exception, in which we quickly apologize for. I'm working on it. Thanks for this reminder!

  3. This is hard for me, especially when I'm tired or stressed. I have to be intentional about it or my speech will snow ball. Thanks for this reminder!

  4. A friend told me that the best advice she received at her wedding was, "There is never a good reason to be unkind." I try to remember that. It's hard!

    My man recently pointed out to me that I often speak as if I am assuming he will never do some chore so I'll have to do it myself--when I haven't asked him to do it! Now, sometimes these are things that are supposed to be his responsibilities and he's behind schedule, but still, I can ask when he expects to get it done, and then if waiting that long is unacceptable to me I can tell him so, and even if it still results in my doing his chore this time, he will feel more respected and I will feel less resentful than if I just do it with a snarl! When it's a chore that we share responsibility for, it's even less fair to both of us for me to say, "I have to because you never will!!!" than, "Could you please?"

    Thanks for the reminder!

  5. wow...I had a moment eerily similar to that, and it was a definite eye opener, just like yours. It was a girl on our drama team, and I had snapped something...same exact scenario of apologizing that I wouldn't talk to her that way and the same cringe-worthy realization of...why, then, would I talk to my husband in that way?!?

    Thanks for sharing this post. It's something that I need to remember. We get more "comfortable" with those we're in contact with everyday but that's no excuse.

  6. I have in fact been studying through gentle speech towards my husband. I have found I am a VERY honest person but lack the grace to speak lovingly. My piece of advice only works when you're about to fight (where I usually do the most damage) and I just breathe, he knows he can't push me here, I have to just go quiet so I can reign in the evil, poisonous thoughts that cloud my vision of the great man I married. I don't do on the fly well either, so when I do mess up I quickly (try) to ask for forgiveness and explain that I really didn't have time to keep that quick little dagger out, but I am working on it, and I'm very very sorry.