Monday, October 31, 2011


How do you talk about your spouse? When they are with you, is your tone positive or negative? What about when they are not around - while you’re at work or out with friends, how do you speak about your marriage then? When things are not the greatest between you, do you still praise your spouse publicly? Praising each other is critical to the success of your marriage.

If you are not speaking well of your spouse, examine your motives. Are you addressing issues and trying to resolve them? Unless you are speaking directly to your spouse or with a counsellor, airing your problems is unlikely to solve anything. Are you just seeking allies - people who will agree with you and commiserate? Not only is this unlikely to help, it will almost surely make things worse. People agreeing with your negativity will reinforce it in your mind. When they start airing their problems too, it can make all marriage seem hopeless. It won’t make you feel good about yourself either... didn’t you choose the person you married? Speaking bad about your spouse is also denigrating yourself.

In Luke 6:45 Jesus says:
The good man, out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.

You can actively turn this verse upside down. When you choose to speak positively about your spouse, you can refill your heart with “good treasure” that will bless your marriage. Whatever you say, speaking it aloud - especially to someone else - reinforces it in your head; you become more and more convinced of your own conclusions. Thus, when you’re speaking ill, you reinforce that. Luckily though, it works both ways. When you are making a conscious effort to focus on the positives it’s a way to intentionally remember why you married that person in the first place, a way to count your blessings and revel in what is good about your marriage.

When your spouse is in the room, keep praising! Speaking bad about each other in public - even under the guise of joking - is a sure way to make those around you uncomfortable, as they try to decipher tone and body language cues to tell if you are being serious or not. When your spouse hears you praising them to others they are affirmed. It will make it easy for them to continue with the behavior you are praising, and even to go beyond. Think of it as investing in your marriage; your effort will not go unnoticed - by your spouse or by God. in Matthew 12:36-37 Jesus says:

For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.

What kind of words are you using? Be intentional when you speak, and use words to build up your spouse and your marriage.

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