From Our Hearts to Yours
When Moses was tending his father-in-law’s sheep in Midian, he led them out to the desert to Mount Horeb (also known as Mount Sinai). There he encountered a bush that burned, yet was not consumed by the fire. As Moses turned to see what was going on, God called to him from inside the bush. He told Moses to take off his sandals because he was standing on holy ground. God then explained to Moses that He had heard the cries of the people of Israel, who were in bondage in Egypt, and that He was going to use Moses to confront Pharaoh and bring His people out of Egypt.
Moses thought there was no way God could use him. He basically asked God, “Who am I? Why would You send me to go before Pharaoh? And what makes You think I could bring the children of Israel out of Egypt? No, God. You’ve got the wrong guy!” (See Exodus 3:11). God assured Moses that He would be with him. But Moses remained unconvinced that he was the right man for the job, even after God provided him with miracles to show the people confirmation that God had sent him. Moses wanted God to send someone else, but God refused, allowing only Aaron, Moses’ brother, to go with him. Eventually, Moses complied and prepared to leave Midian to go to Egypt. (See Exodus 3:1-21.)
A Life Lesson from Moses — Stop, Look, and Listen:
The mind plays funny tricks on a person in a desert environment. Moses saw something that looked like a burning bush, yet it was not consumed by the flame. Moses had spent 40 years in the desert and had never seen anything like this! He could have concluded that it was a mirage or that he was having a heat stroke, and returned to his tent. But the supernatural caught his attention and he went to investigate. This choice to turn and check out this strange happening turned Moses’ life upside down. He was never the same person again.
Is God wanting to speak to you from His Word or through wise counsel? And are you willing to take the time to turn aside and hear His message? What if Moses hadn’t paused and turned to receive God’s instruction? Perhaps God would have found someone else, and Moses would have lost the blessing. Follow Moses’ example: Stop, look, and listen to what God has to say to you. You’ll be glad you did!
Question: Share a story of how you’ve stopped to look and listen from God in the last year. How was your life changed by this encounter?
In poetic language the writer of Proverbs 25:11 paints this word picture of good communication:
A word ﬁtly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.
As a wife after God’s own heart, this kind of beauty should be the goal for all of your communication, but especially with the person most important and closest to you—your husband. So here are several of God’s keys to godly speech. Your words are to be…
…soft. “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1). The words we choose to use have an effect on the hearer. Harsh, loud, caustic speech leads to arguments and quarrels, while soft, gentle words bring about peace. And here’s another fact: “A soft tongue can break hard bones” (Proverbs 25:15 TLB)!
…sweet. “Sweetness of the lips increases learning” or inﬂuence (Proverbs 16:21). Do you want to get your point across? Then realize that “pleasant words promote instruction” and understanding (16:21 NIV).
…suitable. “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones” (Proverbs 16:24). Kind, sweet words have a medicinal effect on both body and soul.
…scant. “In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise” (Proverbs 10:19). Another Bible translation is very vivid and down-to-earth in its language: “Don’t talk so much. You keep putting your foot in your mouth. Be sensible and turn off the ﬂow!” As a wise person once put it, “Sometimes the most skillful use of the tongue is keeping it still.”
…slow. “Be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” (James 1:19). In even fewer words, make it your aim to “listen much, speak little, and not become angry” (TLB)! Why? Because “the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (verse 20 NKJV). No good ever comes from sinful anger.
What happens when you and I don’t communicate God’s way with our husbands? What results from a failure to pay attention to God’s wise guidelines for our speech? Proverbs has more word pictures for us, detailed in these verses:
“Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, than in a house shared with a contentious woman” (Proverbs 21:9).
“Better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and angry woman” (Proverbs 21:19).
“A continual dripping on a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike” (Proverbs 27:15).
I’m sure you get the picture! The message is that a crabby, cranky, nagging, quarrelsome, complaining, ill-tempered wife annoys her husband in the same way a constant drip gets on our nerves and “drives us crazy.” And, it’s important to note that poor communication drives people away, isolates, and divides spouses apart from one another.
Instead, don’t you want your speech to be like apples of gold in settings of silver? Like 14-carat gold fruit in a sterling silver basket? Priceless? Indescribable? Admirable? Exquisite? Desirable?
Then learn to speak with godly wisdom when you communicate with your husband. Choose words that are soft, sweet, suitable, and, despite the female tendency (especially mine!), scant!
Question: Which communication approach do you need to practice most with your husband?
I love music, orchestras, and concerts. Perhaps that’s because I played the violin in my junior high school orchestra. I like to think that I did my part and made a positive contribution to the group and those in our audiences.
But what do you think would have happened if, on Day One of my violin undertaking, I grabbed my new school-issued violin, ran onto the concert stage, plopped down in a chair, and began playing with the other members of the group? What a racket you would have heard! What squeaks, screeches, squawks, and scratches you would have been forced to endure!
Both you and I know what it requires to play in harmony in any setting, whether in an orchestra, in a choir, in a drama troupe, on a sports team…or in a marriage. It requires learning the proper techniques. And it demands time as you practice, practice, and practice!
If I could say one thing to you about the vital skill of communicating with your husband, I would say this: Don’t just run in to talk to your husband, plop down, grab at anything your sometimes-empty brain ﬁnds handy, and blurt out thoughtless or insensitive words. Instead take the time to prepare your heart and your words. Pray about timing, tone, and topics. Ask God for help with godly discipline over the thoughts of your heart and the words of your mouth as in Psalm 19:14:
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.
Make it your aim to convey information, to bless your precious husband, and to create harmony. Seek to do an excellent job of verbalizing your heart to your husband in a godly way and with godly wisdom. By all means, make an effort and take the time to learn—and apply—God’s rules for communication. You’ll be glad you did. And I guarantee your husband will, too!
Question: Is there a specific topic with your husband that could benefit from this type of purposeful communication?
One morning while I was reading my Bible, I came to a passage that really challenged me in my own spiritual growth:
In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commandments and regulations blamelessly.” (Luke 1:5-6, emphasis added)
These two people — Zechariah and Elizabeth — were about to become the parents of John the Baptist, the herald of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. God desired a special set of parents for a special child who would have a special mission. As I read this passage, I noticed an immediate application for me: God is asking that both my wife and I be growing spiritually. To have the greatest spiritual impact not only in our family but also in ministry, we both need to be growing.
Once you and I as husbands grasp this reality and start growing, we can then begin to assist our wives in their growth. Our assistance may be as simple as having a daily Bible reading schedule that we follow individually and then coming together at the end of the day to compare notes. It may mean we study through a book of the Bible together. Fortunately, there are many study tools that couples can use together. So a lack of resources is no excuse. We as men just need to take the initiative to have a more active role in leading our family spiritually.
Encouraging my wife’s spiritual growth doesn’t always mean that I have to personally be a part of the growth process. Sometimes I only need to be a “spiritual cheerleader.” My role is cheering her on in her growth as she studies the Bible on her own or as she participates in a woman’s Bible study. I am still fulfilling my role as the spiritual leader, even though I don’t personally teach my wife. I’m there to give her encouragement and direction.
Again, remember your wedding day? You made a vow to nurture your wife. Nurturing her involves both the physical and spiritual areas of life. Therefore you must see that your wife is growing spiritually! And the first step, of course, is asking God to give you a fresh commitment to grow yourself. Then ask your wife how you can best help her grow.
Question: How about it, men? What are some of the ways you’ve helped nurture your wife’s spiritual growth? (Ladies, feel free to share examples of what your husband has done, too.)