Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”
The next verse after that always catches my attention: “He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the Lord.”
Are words and marriage connected? I believe so. In fact, I teach that the state of your marriage will never rise above the level of your mouth. The words you say and how you say them predict the quality of your marriage with no exceptions.
To prepare for marriage, we have to prepare our mouths, because the power of life and death are in the words we speak. In other words, God wants to use your tongue to create a great life and a great marriage and to bless other people.
But the devil wants to use your tongue to destroy your life, damage your family, and hurt other people.
Whoever has control over your tongue has control of a powerful thing.
I know this because I destroyed our marriage with my words. God created me with an innate talent for speaking. I have never been at a loss for words. Whether for good or bad, I am naturally articulate. Speaking is my gift.
That’s never been the case with Karen. She is very wise and can certainly say what she means, but she is not as quick as I am. Early in our marriage, I used that to my advantage. I was dominant, and when I didn’t get what I wanted, I turned my words against her.
Verbally, I beat her down. I accused her. I made her think she was the whole problem, and I watched my beautiful wife wilt before my eyes. God’s restoration of our marriage began when I apologized to her—for the first time ever.
When this moment came, she said “What you have done with your mouth is the worst thing you have done to me.” She forgave me but it took me years to regain her trust. I had to drastically overhaul the way I spoke to her.
We live in a world that is vulgar, sarcastic, and verbally hateful. If you speak that same way to your spouse, you will never have a good marriage until you change.
You fell in love speaking good things to each other. You spoke life to each other. Marriages begin to fail when bad, hurtful words begin to replace your life-giving words.
Words do not evaporate. All words are consequential and none of them are neutral. Good words bring good results. Bad words bring bad results.
Occasionally I’ve heard people try to justify the bad things they say by claiming they didn’t mean it. “You don’t know my heart,” they might say. But in Matthew 12, Jesus says the mouth speaks out of the abundance of the heart. The nature of our words reveals the nature of our hearts.
A heart filled with hate and unforgiveness brings forth hateful words. A mean heart produces mean words.
But a heart filled with love brings forth loving words, and a pure heart produces pure words.
We have to be careful with the words we say. We have to take responsibility for them—especially in marriage. Words are powerful. They bring life and death, and can have an enormous impact on your marriage.
What kind of words are you introducing into your marriage?
Jimmy Evans // Marriage Today