I remember years ago when Tom and I were looking to move from our first home to one that would accommodate our growing family, we found a neighborhood near a lake that we really liked. The homes were brand new and the idea of being able to pick carpet color, tile and paint was a real draw for me. However, hidden nearby was something that would be a deal breaker for us; Just around the corner from this home was a large mound of green earth that to the passerby looked like a hill, but to those who were unfortunate to live there they knew it was made up of buried garbage.
If you drove by on a cloudy day the stench hung in the air like a bad dream. Even though the area looked nice what was hidden beneath the surface made the living conditions unbearable.
Marriage can be like this hill; everything looks great on the outside, but underneath where no one sees you’ve been dumped on over and over. Living with your spouse in this way really stinks (pun intended). This is not what God intended for marriage.
Our tongues get us in a lot of trouble when we don’t keep proper boundaries on what’s good and profitable speech. Some would argue that they’re just being “totally honest” with their spouse about something regarding them, their marriage or other relationships. But know this–just because you’re married you don’t have permission to dump on them everything you’re thinking. Especially when your thoughts are critical in nature.
“How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness.” – James 3:5-6
A few nights ago I could tell that something was bothering Tom, so I asked him what he was thinking. He was reluctant to share, but at my persistence he dumped. I found out there was a lot hidden under his silence, like that buried garbage. It helped me to know how to pray for him, and it helped him to get his thoughts out in the open. It was the right time to dump because I wanted to help and I was ready to listen.
I can think of another time when I was really upset about something. Without being asked I poured out my garbage on Tom. He had no way of knowing what was buried in my heart–kind of like driving by and noticing a stench. This was the wrong time to dump.
“There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” – Proverbs 12:18 ESV
Dumping in marriage is inevitable, how it’s done is crucial to the health and living conditions of the marriage. Seek the right time and place to share openly about your troublesome thoughts and then allow the Lord to deal with your heart.
Sadly, the people who lived in that neighborhood got used to the stench. May we be committed to deal with issues in our marriage before the garbage piles up. Your family and neighbors will thank you and most importantly–so will your spouse!