Communication in Marriage Part II: Healing Words
- Barry R. Leventhal, Ph.D. Two Becoming One
- 2003 2 Oct
In part one of this series on communication in marriage, we downloaded what God has to say about hurting words, especially in our marriages. Now we need to link up with the positive side of marital communication, healing words. It is not enough to excise the hurting words from our marriages. We need to transplant healing words into them as well.
Of course, all authentic communication is grounded in the very nature of our Triune God. The Father speaks the creation into existence (Genesis 1-2; Psalm 33:6-9). The Son is the Word personified (John 1:1-18). And the Holy Spirit inspires the written Word of God (1 Corinthians 2:6-16; 2 Timothy 3:16-17). So it should not be surprising that if we ask God to teach us how to speak healing words into our hurting marriages, He will certainly do it:
“Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble; He saved them out of their distresses. He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions” (Psalm 107:19-20).
The Power of Words
Again, we need to remember that the Bible makes it clear that our words have an awesome power, both for good and for ill:
“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit” (Proverbs 18:21).
Since our words are so potentially profitable and at the same time so potentially dangerous, it is critical that we devote ourselves to developing words that heal, especially in our marriages. And, like any other new skill, we can do this with God’s help. It will take committed intentionality and practice on our part. But it is worth it. For God’s healing words can transform a hurting marriage.
Words That Heal
What are healing words and how do they work? If we can get a handle on this, maybe God will transform our marriages. So back to the practical and relevant Book of Proverbs we go.
First, healing words do just that — they heal the pain of a thoughtless word:
“Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing” (Proverbs 12:18).
Second, healing words are the source of abundant life:
“The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit” (Proverbs 15:4).
“The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but violence overwhelms the mouth of the wicked” (Proverbs 10:11).
“The tongue of the wise is choice silver, but the heart of the wicked is of little value” (Proverbs 10:20).
Third, healing words have the potential of curtailing the rising tide of a marital fight:
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).
Fourth, healing words can actually mend our broken bodies:
“Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones” (Proverbs 16:24).
Fifth, healing words can encourage a despondent heart:
“An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up” (Proverbs 12:25).
And sixth, healing words hold the hidden power of persuasion. They are the secret to lasting motivation:
“The wise in heart will be called discerning, and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness” (Proverbs 16:21).
“The heart of the wise teaches his mouth and adds persuasiveness to his lips” (Proverbs 16:23).
In light of God’s desire for you to experience His healing words of life in your marriage, prayerfully answer the following questions:
When was the last time, as a couple, that you asked God to give you His words of healing for your mate? Why not do it right now.
When was the last time that your spouse shared God’s healing words of life with you? What were the results? Why not thank God for it right now, and your spouse as well.
In the last part of this series on communication in marriage, we will look at the most effective way to deliver words of healing to your spouse.
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