James 1:19 KJV
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man (or woman) be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man (or woman) worketh not the righteousness of God.
- emphasis added -
My grandmother always taught me to "kill'em with kindness." She always said it would be difficult for someone to be ugly to you if you continued to treat them with respect and dignity. As hard as her lesson was for me to understand as a child, today, I can clearly see how her teachings were Biblical principles that God would one day reveal to me as truth. These words were buried deep within my soul as a child, and, no doubt, have helped me to withstand some difficult situations in my own marriage while I patiently waited for my breakthrough to finally arrive.
I think the book of James is a good starting place for us to study in seeking how we can learn to silence arguments and put an end to dysfunction in our homes. James says that we are to be "swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath." Until we recognize that change begins within US, we will forever be trying to "fix" everyone else - in particular, our spouse. We will never rest in the promises of our Lord for complete victory in our marriage, until we settle it in our heart that "we cannot change our spouse!" So, let us take instruction from James that our breakthrough will manifest only if we do our part. We must learn to control OUR MOUTH by praying, "Lord help me to listen more and talk less, so that You can work in my marriage."
In addition, James 1:22 says that we should be "doers of the word, and not hearers only." Now, being a doer of the word does not mean that we make others... "do the word." On the contrary, it means that we make ourselves come into agreement with the word of the Lord even while in adverse circumstances. Marriage is not always easy (especially if one spouse is lost). Even so, as Christians, we are to do our part by being obedient to the things of God - even while it is not convenient. If it were easy to be a "doer of the word", then being a "doer" would not require faith. But, we are people of faith and we need to understand that our faith grows as we exercise it. So don't be afraid to exercise your faith when it comes to being a doer of the word in your marriage.
There is one themed rebuttal that is always spoken to me by someone hurting in marriage: "But you don't know what they did to me" or "You don't understand what I have to put up with." When these valid comments come across my ministry, I gently take these broken souls back to God's word which speaks of self control, controlling our tongue, praying, and trusting Him. Granted, one spouse in the marriage may be like a wild bull running through a china store. Still, that doesn't justify the other spouse to be moved, shaken, or provoked to sin against God. In the midst of a marital storm, we must remember that God is on the throne and He loves our marriage. He is on our side and will fight our battles for us if we will just tame ourselves and lay our marriage on the altar for Him to work a miracle. Malachi 2:16 says, God hates divorce, so our job as a married Christian is to work toward avoiding divorce... even through the fiercest storm.
The devil is forever tempting God's children. He knows that if he can just get a Christian to be drawn away of his own lust and enticed to sin then he can kill them. His greatest thrill is to see sin conceived in a child of God because it is sure to bring forth death in certain areas of their life. For instance, if the devil can get us to enter into arguing with our spouse, he has a better chance at getting us to believe that we are justified in hating them. Then once we are convinced that we don't need our spouse anymore (because we just can't get along), we are now in a position to believe that divorce is OK in our situation. Divorce is the calculated death that the devil is ultimately seeking to arrange in the lives of every married couple. But the devil doesn't stop there. The enemy of our soul will go much further than the initial divorce. Most often, divorce causes bitterness to fester. Bitterness leads to wrath... and wrath leads to revenge. Now does anger, bitterness, wrath, and revenge sound like characteristics of one claiming to be a Child of God? (See James 1:3-15)
So in conclusion, James 1 says that our religion is vain if we don't learn to bridle our tongue. Remember the trying of our faith (especially in marriage) teaches us to have patience. And, the patience produced in us will make us perfect in the end. This means that our faith will be purified in our trials, making us ready to receive the reward that God has waiting for those who believe Him and act according to His word even throughout adverse circumstances.
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
The Lord doesn't want any to perish. He wants all to come to salvation. As the spouse who professes to know God (I say this because you are reading this article), I exhort you to stand strong and see the salvation of the Lord for your loved one. Believe God against all odds. And, very important, mix all of your faith with God- centered actions that will create fertile soil for your miracle. When you line yourself up with Kingdom principles in your "doing", you can expect results from a God who loves you, loves your marriage, and loves your children.
So take the narrow road, tame your tongue, harness your emotions, exercise your faith, and trust God in all things. He loves you!
Job 6:24 KJV
Teach me, and I will hold my tongue: and cause me to understand wherein I have erred.