One of the most difficult things I’ve learned to do in marriage is tame my tongue. While I don’t quite have that figured out, I’ve been stretched tremendously since April 29th, 2021. Marriage reveals a lot about who we really are and can I tell you, Vashti LOVES to say what’s on her mind. Interestingly, I lean more towards the introverted side. I am mostly quiet unless I need to be social. Despite my “chill” and “laid-back” personality, I do have a hard time taming my tongue, especially in heated conversations. It gets cutthroat pretty quickly with a mouth war that leaves both parties defeated, wounded, and broken.
I mentioned this many blogs ago about Jarrod and I’s premarital counseling and the session we did on conflict resolution. If you missed those blogs, here’s an inside on how we tend to approach resolving conflict. Jarrod is the immediate resolver. I tend to linger, dwell and simmer on the situation. I don’t like to resolve instantly. In premarital counseling, we were advised to meet in the middle. I needed to communicate that I needed time and Jarrod and I both had to agree on a reasonable middle ground time that gives me enough time to blow off steam but also does not drag the conflict out longer than it needs to be. Learning and receiving tools and tips for marriage is easy. Implementing what’s learned when conflict arises is difficult.
In our almost one year of marriage Jarrod and I have had 3 “major” arguments. We do banter from time to time, but these 3 “major” arguments required us to implement what we learned. In last week’s blog, I shared that the root of these arguments stemmed from my disconnect with Christ. You see, often we expose what’s in our hearts when life gets heated. My lack of daily devotion to Christ revealed what was in my heart when Jarrod and I didn’t meet eye to eye.
Looking back, both of us agree that our “major” arguments could have been avoided and downright petty on both of our parts. Funny how in the moment all we want is to be right failing to see we are the same team and should be working together rather than against each other. Our arguments ended up being mouth wars that wounded the heart of the other and stirred insecurities as hurtful words often do.
There are plenty of verses in the Bible that touches on the importance of taming our tongues. King Solomon writes in Proverbs 21:23 that “Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.” The Apostle Paul writes in Ephesians 4:29, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” James wrote in James 3:10, “From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.” Lastly, Matthew writes in Matthew 12:36, “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak…” Again these are just a few I handpicked for this specific blog. If you’re curious about what more the Bible has to say about taming the tongue I challenge you to google it. It won’t take too long for you to be convicted.
While James was very clear that we cannot tame our tongues (James 3:8), he did encourage followers of Christ to seek purity of speech. In seeking purity of speech we seek the One who is pure and righteous. It boils down to the whole concept of you produce what you are plugged into or you are what you eat. If you consume good and practice good, you are more likely to release good whenever you’re faced with trying times. While I have not mastered this, Jarrod and I do try out best to seek purity of speech when mouth wars desires greatly to take over. We will never master this, but that does not stop us from trying to practice speaking from a pure heart.
Reality is, communicating can be difficult. Choosing our words especially when we’re heated is often strenuous. It’s easy to simply say what’s on our mind, bring up the past or throw dart words that wound and crush the heart. That’s easy. What’s difficult is choosing righteousness and holy speech. In choose this route however, you save you and your spouse/significant other the time it takes to apologize for your degrading and negative choice words. You also avoid an even bigger argument as choice words often stirs the pot and increases the heat of conflict.
You will only respond in purity if what you consume is pure. I have learned and is continuing to learn that my response is directly related to what I have been consuming on a daily basis. Whenever I snap, it is probably due to my lack of responsibility submitting my temperate to Christ. I need to daily surrender the parts of my heart I know easily stirs strife. You know what you struggle with. You know what areas in your heart that needs daily surrendering. Let me tell you, we can avoid plenty petty mouth wars if we learn to daily surrender the dirty parts of us that enjoys being right and having things our way. It is important to understand though, that while you may still not meet eye to eye, you are still on each others team. You are still rooting for the other. You are still one!
In wrapping up this weeks blog I want to encourage you. If you struggle with your speech, here are a couple things to remember when conflict stirs in your relationships or marriage:
- You are working together not against each other.
- Fight the urge to bring up the past – speak on what “fits the occasion.”
- Give each other grace and time to communicate.
- Practice praying about your response rather than stewing in your rightness.
- Fight the urge to use words that degrade, demean and that which can break the confidence of your spouse.
- Hug and kiss it out! (if you’re married)
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29