Scripture Focus: Do not use harmful words, but only helpful words, the kind that build up and provide what is needed, so that what you say will do good to those who hear you. Ephesians 4:29
It matters how we talk about our marriage partner. When our words are positive and encouraging, we can build confidence and a sense of safety for someone we love.
One of our pastors had a practice of always speaking positively about his wife. If he mentioned her in a sermon or in a private conversation, or even “off the record” --- every word he spoke about her was positive. Every time. With every person.
When God called that pastor away from us, there was a “sending service” attended by the entire congregation. One of the most meaningful parts of that time together was watching husband after husband step up to the microphone and say, “Pastor, you really showed me how to talk about my wife! I learned so much from your powerful example!”
Among his other accomplishments, this wise pastor was modeling the power of helpful words. He helped so many young husbands begin to improve in the way they talked to, and talked about, their wives. The difference was tangible – we watched relationships improve in quality, in depth, and in trust levels.
Speaking positively about someone helps others respect them. It also demonstrates that we ourselves respect the person we are talking about. When a wife knows that her husband will always speak positively about her, she thrives in her heart and her soul.
When a husband knows that his wife “has his back” and will speak only positively about him in her circles of friends and family, he feels respected and valued.
Paul shows us in this passage that we should test our words: Do they build up and provide what is needed? Do they accomplish good for those who hear us?
For your personal reflection:
· How can I become more like the pastor in this story?
· How can I begin to demonstrate a consistent pattern of speaking positively and constructively about my life partner?
· Who is watching my example today?
Prayer: Lord, I would like to become known as someone who encourages others and builds them up, not as someone who tears people down. Please let me begin by being the number-one booster of my husband or wife. Help me speak positively about him or her; not just in public and when I know people are watching, but also in my private conversations with family and friends. I want to be an encourager!