Have you ever said something to your spouse and the reaction they gave was unexpected? You realize that they didn’t hear what you said in the way you meant them too. A miscommunication is hanging in the air and you have a choice to make. EITHER snap back and let the conflict escalate, OR take a deep breath and ask them what they heard you say. We call this “Twisted Words”.
Some conflicts can’t be avoided and must be discussed at length in order to discover what caused the rift in your relationship. What I’ve described above, however, can be avoided. But how?
First of all, it takes a resolve to not follow your instincts.
Instinct means an innate, typically fixed pattern of behavior. If this happens regularly in your home, are you willing to commit to change your pattern of behavior? Maybe you’re thinking your spouse does this all the time and won’t change. But doesn’t someone have to go first? Why not be the mature one and take the steps needed for change? Purpose to pay attention the next time this happens and not follow your instincts. Instead, pray for God to help you with step two.
Secondly, it takes patience.
I heard someone recently say, “God doesn’t give you patience, He teaches it.” People often joke that they’ll never ask God to give them patience because of what usually follows — an opportunity to practice it. But don’t we want to grow in our interactions with our spouse? What if we were to stay the same year after year? Sadly, we don’t stay the same. We are either moving forward or drifting backward. The choice lies at our disposal. We need patience in order to help each other stop doing an old, sinful practice and begin doing it with kindness and love.
Finally, it takes humility.
Humility is the opposite of pride, and pride is what keeps us from admitting wrongs. If your spouse reacts to something you’ve said, humble yourself and apologize when needed. Or patiently ask what they heard you say. It helps to talk about doing this before your next “Twisted Word” opportunity arises. This way you can help each other grow and change.
A good way to see how you’re doing in the area of humility is to consider when was the last time you sincerely apologized to your spouse for something you said or did that hurt them? Asking forgiveness is an often neglected key in letting go of an offense. Don’t skip the opportunity to humble yourself in this way. Why? Because God promises to give grace to the humble…
“Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for…
“God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” – 1 Peter 5:5
We must remember that marriages are being attacked from all sides. We have an enemy that wants nothing more than to see our marriage fail. He devises schemes in order to cause conflicts between us, and can even twist the words we say as they come out of our mouth. Your spouse isn’t your enemy. You are on the same team. Make an effort to get past the instinct of miscommunication for the good of your marriage and the glory of God. He will help you. All we must do is humbly ask.
Date Night Prompt: To help you use words to draw closer together, play a game of Romantic Scrabble. These words will help you focus on the good you’ve built together in your years as husband and wife. Instead of focusing on the words that would twist and pull you apart.
Thank you for the way you lead us into deeper understanding in our marriage. Would You help us change our behavior? We need your help to patiently practice understanding and believing the best of our spouse. We don’t want to let twisted words have an influence in our relationship.
We know You hear us when we pray and that You desire us to grow closer together and to You. We trust that You will do this for Your great glory.
In Jesus’ name,