Control. Your. Tongue.
Yes, words can be used for good- lots of it- but today, I want to focus on not allowing anything negative about your spouse out of your mouth.
As clearly stated by Jeffery Holland, “Words can be more piercing than any dagger ever forged, and they can drive the people they love to retreat beyond a barrier more distant than anyone in the beginning of that exchange could ever have imagined.”
Imagine it for a moment. Think of your last few weeks, months, years, (even decades?!), and imagine the fights, problems, and hard times that could have been prevented by controlling what you said about your spouse.
Now, I don’t mean to say that you cannot discuss (appropriately) problems or issues that may arise- but there is a clear difference between,
“I can’t believe that you just went out and bought a new car! You didn’t even tell me! This is so frustrating!” and
“What an idiot! Ugh! Why on earth would you buy a new car? Does you not realize our financial situation!? Moron! Anyone in our shoes would NEVER buy a brand new car!”
The tongue is a small muscle, but if you can control your impulses to speak negative things to and about your spouse, your marriage will be so much happier! And, stepping away from marriage, your life will benefit.
It isn’t easy. It really, really, isn’t easy. If it were, you wouldn’t hear about so many marriages falling apart. Here are two ways to accomplish this seemingly impossible feat.
1. When you are upset and just want to let those words fly at your spouse, remember a time when they opened up to you, one of those moments when they showed you what was in their heart: admitting a weakness, telling you something incredibly personal, or telling you why they truly loved you. Imagine your spouse in that moment, as a human with weaknesses, and what your angry or upset words would do to them. Think about the hurt it might cause- and refrain.
2. Make a list of things you just adored about your spouse before you were married. When you are about to just let some negative remark slip, think of one of those things. “Ugh, she is being so selfish! Everything is all about her! But, she IS an amazing mother.” Think of what it is that you adored about them and use it as leverage NOT to say something awful.
So, easy? Of course not. But if you CAN accomplish this and truly not let an insulting phrase leave your mouth, you will be able to show your spouse how much you really do love them- even if they really are being a giant, stupid, selfish jerk for a minute or two.
Let me know how this works for you! Feel like you've got it down pat? Continue with Improve Your Marriage (Part 3) and Improve Your Marriage (Part 4)