MARRIAGE LIVE Pt 4: Speaking Life Together

Pastor Terry Inman



You’ve heard the old saying, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me" Well it may be brave but it’s not true.  Prov. 18.21 says, “The tongue has the power of life and death. 

Today, Marriage Live is about “Speaking Life Together”. Listen to these lyrics of “Sticks And Stones” by singer songwriter Dave Barnes:

You would have kept those words on your tongue,

If you had known the hurt they had done.

While your fists stay by, right by your side,

Your words they bruise me deep inside.

I'd rather have sticks and stones and broken bones

than the words you say to me,

Cause i know bruises heal and cuts will seal

but your words beat the life from me.

Sometimes your words are thick as lead,

You swing them strong upside my head.

But what hasn't killed has made me strong,

So I'll take my scars and move along.

I'd rather have sticks and stones and broken bones

than the words you say to me,

Cause i know bruises heal and cuts will seal

but your words beat the life from me.

Goodbye is the best way that I know,

To forgive and still be letting go.

I'd rather have sticks and stones and broken bones

than the words you say to me,

Cause i know bruises heal and cuts will seal

but your words beat the life from me.

Last week we talked about our Living Covenant Together. Just as critical, is our communications. “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Prov.12:18 (NIV).

Our communications or non-communication can build or break our relationships. James the brother of Jesus has some things to say about the tongue’s potential.

The tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.  The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. James 3: 5-12 (NIV)

This week we got some unfortunate news.  A cigarette carelessly tossed out the car window blackened our forty acres in Montana. The grass will come back but most of the small trees and shrubs will be gone.  

According to James careless or malicious words can scar the soul of our marriage. Paul says, “If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.”  Gal. 5.15 (NIV)

So let’s start positive with words of life. Words are one of the first things that bond us to each other. Mutual attraction may begin a relationship but it doesn’t get off the ground until we hear each other’s voice.

Communication in courtship is very fluid. We are highly motivated to talk. We will spend hours on the phone (or skype) saying stupid stuff just because we are so attached to the sound of a lover’s voice. Facebook doesn’t quite accomplish the same thing.

We even have secret names for each other, terms of endearment. Here’s some good ones...angel-face, baby-cakes, buttercup. Do you notice how so many of these are connected with food. How about honey-pie, sugar-booger, stud-muffin. Here’s a couple new to me...schnooky lumps and shmoopsie-poo!

OK you know you have them too. Go-ahead whisper in your partner’s ear one of your special terms of endearment. This may be a bit syrupy and sentimental maybe even bordering on corny but these are words of life! 

The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but violence overwhelms the mouth of the wicked. Prov. 10:11 (NIV).

Many of us were not raised with life-giving words. Ether we heard very little positive communication or we were constantly criticized. Over time these words stick to our souls and become “word curses” false things we believe about our selves and others. You may have heard this before.

If a child lives with criticism, He learns to condemn.

If a child lives with hostility, He learns to fight.

If a child lives with ridicule, He learns to be shy.

If a child lives with shame, He learns to feel guilty.

If a child lives with tolerance, He learns to be patient.

If a child lives with encouragement, He learns confidence.

If a child lives with praise, He learns to appreciate.

If a child lives with fairness, He learns justice.

If a child lives with security, He learns to have faith.

If a child lives with approval, He learns to like himself.

If a child lives with acceptance and friendship,

He learns to find love in the world.

What kind of words were parts of your world? What false messages plague your thoughts? If you have not renounced these destructive words you will have a hard time giving constructive words.  Ask God to show you when and how a damaging word pierced your soul and affected your life. Then let him replace it with the truth. Listen to what he says about you not what you have heard from others. 

So lets talk about communications that build strong marriages. Speaking Life Together involves three kinds of words. (.1) Hopeful Words (2.) Honest Words (3.) Healing Words.

Hopeful Words are encouraging they build each other up. Men need a lot of respect but so do women. Encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thess. 5:11 (NIV).

Are your communications constructive or destructive? The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down. Prov.14:1 (NIV).

Paul says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”  Eph. 4:29 (NIV)

The way to build each other up is to be aware of your partners needs not just yours. Do you know what your spouse needs to hear? Just ask them. Most of us men are clueless. We don’t like asking for directions but we need to ask our wives what they need to hear from us. Women know how to talk pretty good they can teach us. 

Some women may even talk a little too much. Solomon had way too many wives. He had some complaints.  “A quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping on a rainy day; restraining her is like restraining the wind or grasping oil with the hand.” Prov. 27:15-16 (NIV). He said, “It’s better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.” Prov. 25:24 (NIV).

He might have been wealthy and wise but I think he spent a lot of time sleeping on the couch. Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife.  Prov. 17.1(NIV) If your partner is nagging you might ask yourself what you are doing to contribute. 

After giving specific instructions to husbands and wives Peter writes this. “Live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as companions, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”  1 Peter 3:8-9 (NIV).

This is Speaking Life Together with Hopeful words! Next we speak life together with Honest Words. We don’t intently lie to each other unless we are trying to cover something up but we don’t always say what we need to say. It takes courage to engage in authentic conversation.

Paul coached the believers in Ephesus to discard their pagan lifestyle for a Christ-centered self. He says, “...speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.”  

A few verses down he adds, “Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.”  Eph. 4.15, 25 (NIV)

Honesty creates better intimacy. Talk about intimacy! “An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips!”  Prov. 24:26 (NIV).

Some of us really don’t know what we are feeling or thinking so we stay in our cave. Again our wives are generally a little better about authentic communication. They can teach us. 

Some of us have ventured out of the cave only to be judged or criticized. So it seems a lot safer to remain silent. It may be safe but there’s not much life in the cave. Crisis has a way of bringing us out of the cave.

Don’t wait for a crisis. Speaking the truth is love, is simply taking the time and courage to talk openly and honestly about everything, your joys, your hurts, your anger, your dreams, your desires and especially your needs.

It can be intimidating especially if your not very verbal. I suggest when it’s difficult you begin with prayer. The Holy Spirit is a great communicator. He will help you talk and he will you hear.

Speaking Life together is about Honest Words. Finally speaking life together also includes Healing words. “The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.” Prov. 15:4 (NIV)

Typically we hurt before we heal. Avoiding conflict will only prolongs the pain. Psalms 4.4 says, “In your anger do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts”.

The Apostle Paul expands on that. Again to the Ephesians he writes, “In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.”  Eph. 4:26 (NIV).

“Foothold” is the greek word, “topos”. I’m sure you have heard of a topographical map. A foothold is a place or position. Unresolved anger allows Satan to occupy a spot in our marriage map.

Unhealed hurts and unresolved anger give Satan “foothold” in in our relationships. It’s a double whammy because it is also offensive to the Holy Spirit who we desperately need in our marriage. 

Paul continues with his strong counsel to the Ephesians…

“Do not let any unwholesome (bad rotten trash) talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”  

“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 

Nowhere’s the healing words: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”   Eph. 4.29-32 (NIV)  

The best healing words in the human vocabulary are “I’m sorry will you forgive me”. One of the reasons we struggle saying I’m sorry is because we are insecure. We think if we admit wrongdoing we are bad. We also think if we cop to something it will get the other person off the hook.

These are games we play for our own protection but they are destructive. Again the book of Proverbs has some sound advice. I’m going to exchange the word spouse for the word neighbor here. 

If you have been trapped by what you said, ensnared by the words of your mouth, then do this, my son, to free yourself, since you have fallen into your [spouse's] hands: Go humble yourself; press your plea with your [spouse]!  Allow no sleep to your eyes, no slumber to your eyelids. (Proverbs 6:2-5).

If there are injurious words in your marriage spoken or unspoken that need the grace of forgiveness don’t wait any longer humble yourself now and turn them into healing words. 

Speaking Life Together is sharing Hopeful words, Honest Words, and Healing words!