That’s What He Said.

There are few hungrier, predatory lies today than those that prey upon marriages and families. To that end, I recently wrote an article at StartMarriageRight, called, How to Get a Man to Talk.

That article got quite a bit of attention, rousing virtual dialogue among men and women, both those couples starting their marriages and those who have been practicing marriage for many years.

As I have been formulating and praying about a response, I stumbled upon (well, I stumbled upon, God was intentional) an article by Rev. Dan White. White wrote a piece called, What a Man Wants – Help! — Nagging, for HavenJournal, a highly relevant Christian ministry to women.

Rev. White takes a no-nonsense approach that might tempt women to balk. You know you’ve done it ladies, hands on hips, “How dare he,” “You don’t know my husband,” “I’ve tried that.” The trouble with that line of thinking is that this author is a man, so he likely knows the inside of your man better than you do, from experience. Also, he dares because Scripture backs him up. And, you may think you’ve tried what he’s suggesting, but what’s the harm in trying again?

In my article, I confessed that for many years, one of the reasons my husband didn’t talk to me much was because I filled all the extra airspace. Many of those words were perceived as nagging.

Remember Thumper? “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.” Try it. Either shut up, or change up your words and your tone of voice.

And go read Rev. White’s article.

To Write or Not to Speak

I know I said I was taking a hiatus, but my heart keeps breathing thoughts that I have to write somewhere. I can no less write than sleep, eat, be. And I might as well finish out this week, right?

I have decided to step away from my keyboard simply because I believe I’ve gotten too casual with words. “Living” out loud here, publicly on a blog, it’s easy to forget the vastness of my audience. I take thoughts from my journal and burdens from the bottom of my heart and without even the mid-step of airing these dangerous words to a close friend, I publish them for the world to see.

The most shocking thing to me about my mistreatment of words, is that I just studied James – James, the quintessential herald of the tongue’s flaming potential. I have been told, “You don’t need to express every thought you have.”

My husband once told me that he would talk more if I let him get a word in edgewise.

My mother warned me that I confide too broadly, that I don’t need to share my secrets with every new or passing friend.

But I want to live raw and out there. I want to talk through my sloppy mess-ups. I want to share my pain and salve other’s scars by assuring them of empathy. Where do I find this balance? Where is the line between living vulnerably and being too guarded? What is the proper use of words?

One organ that does not require a regular workout, and will not improve your health in any way, is your mouth. Proverbs repeats the warning numerous times, “A wise man keeps his mouth shut.”

On the other hand, God spoke the world into existence and Jesus is called the Word. The entire cannon of Scripture is God’s written, love letter to us. And often he wrote words we don’t want to hear. And He did bear the very essence of His heart on those pages.

I think the caution must be taken like medicine. There will be different doses for varying illnesses. Someone who struggles to share their heart and closets their secrets, will one day discover that those secrets decay and leave a mass of rotten bitterness.

However, I fall in the other category. One who is quick to speak is often slow to listen. Where there is an abundance of words, folly abounds. I think a prudent woman (I’m reading about this character trait) measures, weighs and considers her words before she speaks (or writes) them.

I like being impetuous. I like being colorful with my language and unhindered in sharing. But I have a heavy responsibility to use those qualities wisely – especially in the context of my words.