There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 12:18 ESV
Last week we started digging into the different ways we can treat our husbands with respect, and in so doing, meet their need to feel respected as the spiritual head of the household. We began first with submission, which is not subservience or slavery, but is a willingness to follow your husband’s lead as a team.
In this third post of our “She Brings Him Good” series, we’re addressing another HUGE THING we women can do to treat our husbands with respect, or not.
Three Ways to “Bring Him Good”
#1 – Respect Him
– Respect Him Through Submission
– Respect Him With the Words We Speak
A quick search in a topical Bible gave 54 results of Bible verses about our speech–54!! And I’m sure there are actually more we could apply to that, because I didn’t see a few I expected to see. When I ran a search for “tongue,” that number jumped up to EIGHTY-four.
Both of these lists included our friend, the Proverbs 31 woman, yet again.
She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. Proverbs 31:26 ESV
There she goes setting the bar high for us again.
And here’s another verse about wives and their speech:
It is better to live in a desert land than with a quarrelsome and fretful woman. Proverbs 12:19 ESV
I gotta say that does not make that wife sound very pleasant–and I think that’s the point! If we frequently speak to our husbands with quarreling and fretfulness, living with us won’t be very pleasant either!
When we first get married, on our wedding day, we begin our married relationship with an exchange of words. These promise-filled words are encouraging, loving, and honoring. We vow to love, cherish, honor, and protect our marriage relationship, no matter what. Publicly, in front of God and family, we use our words to tell the whole world, “THIS PERSON IS WORTHY AND DESIRABLE AND I CHOOSE HIM!”
Not very long after our wedding day, however, we learn that words can be daggers, rocks, or poison in our relationship. We learn that we have to be very careful with these words if we want to build our relationship with our husband instead of tearing it down.
There are two different ways or areas to show respect to our husband through our speech:
- When we are speaking TO him (using good manners, not rude, but kind and respectful)
- When we are speaking ABOUT him (speaking well of him to other people)
First, we need to show respect any time we are speaking to our husbands. Simply put, we need to honor the golden rule here–love your neighbor as yourself and treat others as you would like to be treated. Be kind, not rude, use your manners, watch your tone of voice and try not to be short with him, don’t put him down, or constantly nag or complain — WE don’t like those things, either! When we take care with our speech to our husband, even when we disagree, we can disagree with respectful words and respectful attitude and maintain that level of respect his leadership needs.
The other half of that coin is guarding our speech when we are speaking ABOUT him to others. You can cry on a friend’s shoulder, ask for prayer, or confide in a friend, but without putting your husband down or demeaning him. We need to watch for those careless complaints that slip out without a thought. Also, we can laugh and have fun with each other without making jokes about our husbands that involve criticizing him or making fun of him. (Don’t get me started on the trend in American media to make the husband look like an incompetent fool who can’t even change a light bulb right–putting men down has become popular and it’s spreading through our culture.)
We need to speak of our husbands as the kind of men we want them to be — strong, wise, confident, God-honoring men. Yeah, they mess up. So do we. We both get grace for that. When we speak well of him to our friends and in public, we are showing him respect, even if he never hears it.
And I have to admit that even just a few weeks ago I walked away from a conversation with a nagging feeling that I couldn’t quite put my finger on at first. And then I realized, I felt like I had been just a wee bit disrespectful toward my husband with a complaint that made him sound like he wasn’t doing a good job at something, and I was not proud of that. If you mess up, remember that moment, learn from it, and do your best next time. The more we practice that, the better we can get at it.
So by guarding our speech to and about our husband, we respect him.
When we show ourselves to be women who can use restraint in our speech, we are also showing respect.
Proverbs 12:4 says,
An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones.
And by the way, this doesn’t just apply for wives speaking about husbands–how we speak to other people and about other people is something that applies to all of us.
The Bible addresses how we talk to and about other people numerous times. The Bible is clear that we should always be respectful and use good manners to show love to others. Husbands should treat their wives this way, parents should love their children this way, children should address their parents this way,..neighbors and friends and strangers, as Christians we need to make sure that our speech is always befitting the child of a King, or an ambassador of a Holy God.
But of all the relationships we have on this early planet, the marriage relationship is the closest, most intimate, and most important relationship we have. Two becoming one flesh is so much more than simply living under the same last name in the same household. As the other half of ourselves, we must do our best to use our words to build up, encourage, respect, and love our spouse, nourishing his heart and mind and body the same as we would our very own.
Next Monday we’ll take a look at one more way to show our husbands respect before we move on. Until then, have a great week and I ask God to give us all a little more self control over our tongue and the words that we sometimes too quickly let roll off of them.