Taming My Tongue
I was having a rare moment of peace to myself. The older four children were at school, the little one was asleep in the buggy and I had walked to the park so I could have some fresh air and read while he slept. I didn’t mean to eavesdrop and I don’t make a habit of listening to other peoples’ conversations but part of this one intrigued me and they were actually talking so loud that I couldn’t help but hear every word! There were two women, about my age sitting on another bench just near me. They were just chatting about nothing in particular until one of them started to talk about how her and her husband had argued about something. She talked, fairly loudly about his faults and failings and finished off with “So I stood there and let him have it, I gave him a piece of my mind. Actually I gave him all of it.” Of course it’s not for me to say at all whether this lady or her husband were in the wrong as I don’t know them or anything about them, but it did remind me of something I learnt quite a few years ago in my marriage and it’s this: “Don’t say everything you think.” I said “learn” and I mean “learn” because this isn’t something I always knew or practised.
Speaking my mind
When I first got married I thought that you should always speak your mind; always say exactly how you were feeling and let it all out. We have to be honest, right? Well...what I’ve since learned is that it actually has nothing to do with being honest but instead has everything to do with being wise. Proverbs 31:26 says “She opens her mouth with wisdom.” It sounds amazing doesn’t it? I always picture this beautiful, tall ,regal woman who opens her mouth and every word is full of wisdom. That’s what I want to be but I must confess that many, many times I have not been that woman, opening her mouth with wisdom, but I’ve been pretty much the exact opposite! So often I spoke out of anger and then wished I could turn back the clock and take every one of those words back. But words are powerful and once they’re said, they can’t be taken back. They can take you on a journey, one that you didn’t intend on taking and if you continue on it, before you know it your relationship is in trouble. All because the tongue has not been tamed.
Thankfully there’s hope! The Bible talks a lot about self-control and how we must keep a check on what we say. God has given us the Holy Spirit to help us to do this and has promised us wisdom if we’ll only ask for it. There have been times in my marriage when I’ve felt like I wanted to speak my mind and say my piece but I’ve known in my heart that it would not be wise; it would bring fire to a situation which already had some kindling. Instead I’ve chosen to say little and wait. I’ve prayed and asked God to show me the right time to say what’s in my heart. And He always does. When we follow His lead, the words are said out of love instead of anger. They mend instead of tear down.
Silence is strength
The trouble is that the world we live in tells us that if we act this way we’re weak; that silence is not strength. However I‘d like to suggest that it takes much greater strength to hold your tongue when you desperately want to give way to your feelings, than to let out an angry torrent of words that you’ll probably regret an hour later. We have a responsibility to work on our marriage and I believe that if we think twice (or maybe three times for some!) before we let some of those words out of our mouth our home would be a much happier place to be and those relationships would be much stronger. Let’s be inspired to be that woman who opens her mouth with wisdom, whose goal is to build up with her words and not tear down. Of course it’s not easy, but then, nothing of value rarely is and your marriage is worth it.