…Speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ…. —Ephesians 4:15 NLT
Speaking heaven’s language always means speaking the truth. But not every manner of speaking the truth is right. To speak God’s language means we speak the truth in love.
Many couples err by adopting one of two extreme approaches. Some spouses use God’s Word to attack or belittle their mates. They speak the truth, but they speak it out of frustration, anger, revenge, or offense.
Others don’t want to cause pain or create conflict, so they suppress the truth that needs to be spoken and operate in a superficial, counterfeit love. Over time this inevitably fosters deep feelings of disappointment and offense, which eventually lead to a blowup of some kind. Neither of these approaches achieves what God intends—that we become more and more like Christ.
As a husband or wife, you are aware of your spouse’s weaknesses in a way no one else is. You could easily take advantage of your unique knowledge to hurt, shame, or condemn your mate. But we’ve embraced a higher calling, haven’t we? We’ve committed to be our spouses’ greatest servants, to seek their best interests. Our words of truth can help our mates grow more into the likeness of Christ—but we will never speak words of eternal value if we use our tongues as weapons that wound.
Before you offer advice, check your motives. Ask yourself, Am I sharing this from a place of love, or am I seeking my own benefit or protection? Am I truly concerned for my mate’s wellbeing, or am I seeking revenge for the way I’ve been hurt?
Solomon said, “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend” (Proverbs 27:17 NLT). There is room for godly friction and even disagreement in our relationships. If handled correctly, these moments of friction will forge godliness in our lives.
Do you see yourself in either of the above descriptions of the two “extreme approaches”? Do you speak the truth but do so without love? Do you fall into the trap of being silent to avoid conflict or pain? Ask the Holy Spirit to change your perspective so that you can speak to your spouse in a way that enables them to become more like Christ.