By Jolly Mokorosi
Not so long ago I attended a women in leadership conference. One of the subjects raised was on how it seems men do not always ‘cooperate’ whilst in relationships with ‘strong’ working women. A story was told of a woman whose husband called her out of meeting during intense negotiations to inform her there was a missing grocery item at home and he needed her to ensure that she purchases it on her way home. Whilst we have all had the phone call or interruption during critical work moments by family or significant others, her reaction was a bit shocking. Sadly the incident was cited as the trigger for her decision to get a divorce. Many women nodded and chipped in their own versions of this story.
Christian marriages are no more immune than any other marriages. However long before our marriages get to the stage of contemplating divorce there are a number of ways we women sabotage our marriages in our minds and with their own tongues. Here are 3 ways we do this:
1. Publicly berating your husband
My husband has discussed with me on a number of occasions how, in addition to being humiliating, soul destroying public berating of a husband by his wife can be. This is especially hurtful as the wife should be playing role of biggest cheerleader. The scriptures are clear on what we should be doing:
“Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.” Proverbs 13:3
“Words from the mouth of the wise are gracious, but fools are consumed by their own lips.” Ecclesiastes 10:12
Avoid publicly berating or arguing with your husband.
2. Speaking ill of marriage
In the office there is great temptation to join in the water cooler or tea pause area conversation on how useless men are or other conversation that highlights how “I suffer as a woman “. These are like a vortex for many women. We naturally want to fit in and do this seamlessly by finding common areas we identify with in other people. But there is life and death in the power of the tongue. Remember you do not have to participate. Excuse yourself when possible, change the topic or simply avoid these situations. Scripture states that:
“With the fruit of a man’s mouth his stomach will be satisfied; He will be satisfied with the product of his lips. 21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:20-21
When confronted with questions about your marriage speak life. Speak of your spouse and marriage as God sees.
3. Failing to build
Sometimes we manage to do the “good Christian” thing and sustain a silent stalemate when we would rather lash out at or about our spouses. However even this is not quite God’s standard for our tongues. There is a Chinese proverb that states that, “Kind words can keep you warm for three winters, while harsh words can chill even in the heat of summer.” Do not withhold when you have the opportunity to build. Choose life. Whenever possible through your actions and your words build, encourage and lavish with love. The Bible is clear that we should be encouraging one another and pursue peace:
“Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11
“So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.” Romans 14:19
There is hope
Most of us have stumbled in one or all of these areas at some stage or another and probably will again in future. But there is hope. One of the most important keys to recovery of lost ground is sincere, heartfelt apology and repentance. Again it involves taming the tongue and humbling oneself. Let us be like the wise woman of Proverbs 14:1 who builds her house and not the foolish one who tears it with her own hands.
We pray that your marriage is not only a blessing to you and your family but those you work with and interact with daily. If you are single and intend to marry our prayer for you is that your marriage may be void of any of the “tongue vices” mentioned above. Lord may we all act as guardians of those marriages that are within our midst and hold each other accountable to a higher standard.
What other ways do you hold those around you accountable to be good stewards of the marriages they are in?