The power of the tongue
I’ve been enjoying reading Ann Voskamp’s series on marriage these past few weeks. They’ve prompted a good amount of pondering and reflection.
While I realize eleven years doesn’t make me an expert, I also realize that in an era that has largely lost sight of the covenant promise that marriage was meant to be…many people don’t make it to their eleventh anniversary.
A lot has changed in our marriage these past two years.
As with any marriage, there have been many factors, countless immeasurable variables that played into our ability (or lack of) to maintain our union. The words have been one of the biggest pieces.
I love words. I love talking. I love reading. I love writing.
My word-love has given me an ability to argue in a cunning and bold way over the years. For many years in fact, I was proud to have the upper hand when we disagreed or argued. How twisted is that? I know.
The yucky thing about pride is that it gets ripped down. In my “I’m-better-than-you-at-fighting” state, I was actually the one losing. I began to see the fruit of my ‘work’.
And it was ugly. It was pain and wounds and a deflated heart.
I had always carefully crafted my own words. And while listening, I was constantly thinking about what witty thing I could respond with….which is not really listening at all.
I would dissect what I heard and take it out of context and make it something it wasn’t. I thought I was smart.
But I was actually just mean. And one piece at a time, I was making my husband feel like less of a man.
You can imagine how well this worked out for us. Add in a baby every year or two. The loss of a long-term job. Financial instability.
Of course my words weren’t responsible for all of that. But they had left their mark. They couldn’t be taken back. As my heart softened and I realized what was taking place – I would have given anything to make them disappear.
All I have control over now is my choice today and in the days to come. In these last couple healing years, I’ve watched my words become balm to a hurting heart. I’ve seen the incredible power when I hold my tongue and don’t let harsh words fall. Sometimes even just the absence of an angry tongue brings restoration.
I am still learning and still marveling at the power in it. I grew up knowing all the verses about the tongue and how it was a double-edged sword and all that. But it’s taken me a long time for it to really mean something to me.
I have abundant hope that though the next eleven years won’t be perfect, they will continue to refine my ability to be silent when needed and to breathe life to my husband.