"Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." (Proverbs 16:24)
We know the value, importance and impact our spouse's words have on our hearts. Scripture after scripture instruct us that the words of our mouth should be pleasing to the Lord. "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer." (Psalm 19:14)
A husband's words, heart and actions toward his wife must demonstrate unconditional love "as Christ loved the church". A wife's words, heart and actions toward her husband "must" be respectful unconditionally. As a wife, we honor and obey God by being respectful toward our husbands at all times. There is no "if he has earned your respect" clause in Ephesians 5:33. "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her...each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband." (Ephesians 5:25, 33) God can use wives who are respectful and reverent in speech and action to win their husbands over to Him. "Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives." (1 Peter 3:1-2)
Our words reflect what is in our heart. "For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks." (Luke 6:45) We must therefore keep our hearts yielded to the Holy Spirit. We have the privilege, blessing and responsibility of being our spouse's greatest encourager...and most often that is with our words.
Our words have the ability to pierce and tear down. They also have the ability to bring healing and to build up. "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." Proverbs 12:18
My husband has said many things throughout our almost-18-year marriage that have made an impact on me. I want to share with you a time when my husband spoke words that brought such healing and reassurance to my heart. His words were God's healing balm in my life. I share this in order to demonstrate the weight of our spouse's words.
Jim and I had asked another couple to meet with us to talk and pray together. I had felt a huge division in my friendship with the wife, and the Lord put it on my heart for us to get together with our husbands so we could communicate and restore unity in our friendship and in the Body of Christ. I asked her to please tell me anything I had done to contribute to the division and unhealthy state of our friendship so I could apologize and put my heart before the Lord with understanding.
During our conversation, she asked me to tell her honestly if I had been judgmental of her. This took me off guard, and my knee-jerk reaction would be to say "no, of course I have not been judgment of you". However, this was a serious question from my friend and I wanted to respond with care, truth and reverence before the Lord. I told my friend that I didn't think I had been judgmental but that I would like some time to ask the Lord to search my heart.
After a few moments of silence in our conversation, my husband gently and confidently spoke on my behalf. His words hushed my heart and brought tears to my eyes. His words were God's healing balm to my heart, which had been hurt and confused in this friendship. He said, "Sharon and I are very transparent with one another. We talk about everything. I have heard every inch of Sharon's heart over these several months of the division in your friendship. I've heard the hurt, the anger, the sadness and the confusion. I've heard her care for you, her love for you and her desire for unity and peace. I've heard the best and the worst. Through all the hurt, I can honestly say that I have not heard one judgmental word from Sharon's mouth toward you. In my opinion, Sharon has not been judgmental of you at all."
I will never forget my husband's words at that moment. Jim is a man of truth and would not have said that had it not been so. His words were God's healing balm to my soul. His words brought assurance to my heart. His words were used to restore confidence in this friendship. His words healed and built up.
I am challenged and humbled by the example of my husband. Am I building him up in truth continually? Are my words like a honeycomb, sweet to his soul and healing to his bones? Are the words of my mouth always pleasing to the Lord? Does my mouths speak words of wisdom and do the utterances of my heart give understanding? My mouth will speak words of wisdom; the utterance from my heart will give understanding. (Psalm 49:3)
Today, ask yourself these questions as well concerning your words towards your spouse. Get into God's word and ask Him to search your heart concerning the posture of your heart and your words. Yield your heart continually to the Holy Spirit. Regardless of the words or behavior of your spouse, speak the truth in love so you will grow up in Christ. "Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ." Ephesians 4:15
Turn and steer your spouse's heart toward the Lord with the wholesome, sincere and encouraging word of your tongue, flowing forth from your heart. "When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body..." (James 3:3-5)