I give my husband a great deal of grief. I’m constantly sharing my opinion with him, whether he wants it or not. There is very little room for error around me at times. My words have really hurt him in the past and although I’m trying to work on this more, using words wisely is a constant struggle.
I grew up in a home where we said whatever was on our minds, without too much concern about how the receiver would feel. When my alcoholic father lived with us, we hid our words from his wrath. I hardly remember anyone saying something harsh to him. In the one instance I accidentally slipped, I vividly recall his actions which trained me to never make that mistake again.
When he left us, it became a free for all with our words. My mom, sister, and I finally felt safe to say whatever came to mind, which we continue to do with each other today. That freedom, which at one time served as a great release for me, is now something I see as a character flaw.
Unfortunately for my sweet husband, he gets the worst of this deeply ingrained habit of blasting out all opinions and annoyances, regardless of their harshness. It’s especially hard for him because he is a man who carefully chooses his words so as not to hurt my feelings.
The other day, he called me 3 times in a row with the same ending. My phone rang, I answered and spoke, with no reply from him. By the 3rd ring, I was pretty cranky and let him know about it into the phone, unconcerned if he could hear me or not.
I finally decided maybe I could end this constant phone ringing annoyance from him with a text:
Hmmmm. Maybe I was a little harsh screaming into the phone, especially while my poor son sat in the backseat listening through the car speakers. Maybe they didn’t need my tirade about all of those phone calls I found unnecessary.
In my current online Bible study, Keep It Shut by Karen Ehman, she challenged us to just listen to our people and not give an opinion unless they asked for it. I never even thought to take that challenge. My need to be understood and share my oh so important opinion is something I fear letting go of.
But then this:
We might have to choose to let go of the need to prove our point, choosing instead to do the right thing: to impart grace and deal with the other person in love and with utmost patience.
Grace. Patience. Two things I need so much from others but struggle to dish out at times.
So, here is my Valentine’s gift to my wonderful, loving husband: I promise to try my hardest to choose grace over self-righteousness. I promise to love and safeguard your heart instead of proving my point with those little unwelcome attacks.
You know me enough to not expect perfection, but you can excitably anticipate a beautiful attempt at choosing kinder words in all of our interactions. And when I slip up, as you know I will, thank you in advance for continuing to use grace and patience with me.
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths,
but only such as is good for building up,
as fits the occasion,
that it may give grace to those who hear.
~Ephesians 4:29 (ESV)
Is there anyone you could gift kinder words to? I think we all let our mouths go a little overboard at times. We are in this together, friends. Let’s all choose grace…