At points in our married life we will all go through periods of time where we one or both are under a lot of stress. This can cause us to be short with each other, this has happened in our marriage several times, one time in particular I rememeber…I said something that was not very loving or gentle…then Dick came out with something that hurt my feelings. Now trying not to cause a big argument, I engulfed those hurtful words and thought about them, held them close and nursed them like a newborn baby—I would feed them in my mind and then watch the resentment in my heart grow until God pointed out my sin. So, after some time passed when some other issues arose ,I tried a different approach.
I sat down, kept my personal feelings aside & discussed why I thought we were communicating poorly. WOW…what a difference a kind word will make. Proverbs (15:1) tells us “a gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
Harsh words are like stabbing someone with a knife. One stab makes you bleed a little, but several, continual stabs will eventually make you bleed to death. So, the next time you feel that “tension before the argument”- try taking a different approach…step back, take a deep breath & look for a soft gentle answer. Remember,
“The mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart” (Matthew 12:34). If God fills my heart then gentle, loving answers & words will fill my mouth.
One of the most important ways to love our husbands is to learn how to communicate & fight clean. Good marriages get better when a couple grows and changes from their arguments. When that happens you aren’t always arguing over the same old set of circumstances every time. When resolving conflict, try working on:
- Using kindness & gentleness
- Apologizing FIRST
- Using tact
Listen to this cute story of a husband who is learning how to use tact. It comes form a book by Michael LeBoeuf titled “How to Win Customers & Keep Them for Life” (pg.100 of The Tardy Oxcart by Chuck Swindoll):
“Tact is one of the lost arts of the 20th century, isn’t it? I heard about a man who lacked tact. He was the type person who just couldn’t say it graciously. He & his wife owned a poodle. They loved this dog. It was the object of their affection. The wife was to take a trip abroad & the 1st day away she made it to New York. She called home & asked her husband, “How are things?” He said, “The dog’s dead!” She was devastated. After collecting her thoughts, she asked, “Why do you do that? Why can’t you be more tactful?” He said, “Well, what do you want me to say? The dog died.” She said, “Well you could give it to me in stages. For example, you could say when I call you from New York, ‘The dog is on the roof.’ And then when I travel to London the next day & call, you could tell me, ‘Honey, the dog fell off the roof.’ And when I call you from Paris, you could add, ‘The dog had to be taken to the vet. In fact he is in the hospital and is not doing well.’ And finally, when I call you from Rome, ‘Honey, brace yourself. Our dog died.’ I could handle that.”The husband paused & said, “Oh, I see.” The she asked, “By the way, how is mother?” And he said, “She’s on the roof!”
Get the idea? Good Communication takes practice throughout your marriage; it is something you will always work on…by the way, remember when I said I tried to put my personal feelings aside & communicate in a Godly style? Do you know that made such an impact on my husband that he brought it up everyday for almost a full week & thanked me for trying so hard to help us communicate with out arguing? Poor communication certainly is an irritant that ticks off our husbands.