The Power of Words in Marriage

Words by Carissa Belford // Image by Autumn Kern

Early this week my alarm went off, and I awoke with “Words” in my mouth. Not just any words, but the lyrics to Hawk Nelson’s song, “Words.” The song goes like this:  

Words can build you up 
Words can break you down 
Start a fire in your heart 
Or put it out 
 
Let my words be life 
Let my words be truth 
I don't want to say a word 
Unless it points the world back to You 

Let the words I say 
Be the sound of Your grace 
I don't want to say a word 
Unless it points the world back to You 

This song is motivating and challenging! James 3:2–6 says, “For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. . . . So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire. . . . Further, Matthew 15:18 states that our words reveal what’s going on in our hearts. 

As believers in Jesus, we are commanded to love our neighbors as ourselves (Luke 10:27). Since our husbands are our closest neighbors, we should treat them with love and grace in our words and actions. Often, however, this is not the case. The devil seeks to destroy everything that God intends to be beautiful. He rejoices when we use our comments, criticisms, and naggings to tear our husbands down. Oliver Wendell Holmes says, “Don’t think that friendship authorizes you to say disagreeable things to your intimates. The nearer you come in relation with a person, the more necessary do tact and courtesy become” (The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table).  

God has called men to lead. We can undermine their leadership with our words, the tones of our voices, or the way we look at them. In response, men may either give up biblical leadership or become domineering, unbiblical leaders. Instead of tearing them down, let’s build them up by being kind and affirming. A gracious woman, daily aware of the undeserved kindness of God, will encourage her husband when she displays confidence in his decisions. 

Mike Mason says, “For the tongue is a pen, which pressing deeply enough (and whether for good or for evil) will write upon the heart.” We have the privilege of writing God’s love with our words to our husbands. 1 Peter 3:12 says, “Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct.” So, even a husband who doesn’t believe can be won to Christ by observing a respectful wife who lives the Gospel. 

Our words can be used to minister grace and healing, as many of the Proverbs affirm. There will be a day when we will be in Heaven with Jesus. We will be perfect, able to bridle the tongue and body. Elyse Fitzpatrick says, “Will we continue to struggle? Sure. But a day is coming when every word we speak will be glorious because our hearts will be filled with praise for what He has done for us. Thank God.” Until then, may we live this life for the next, resulting in kind and gracious words toward our husbands. 



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