Does your spouse love how you speak to them?
“Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” Colossians 4:6
In an age of willful lies in politics and media, cancel culture, and the in-your-face belligerence of so much of social media, speaking without grace has become a given in society.
. . . and then, there’s your marriage. With the doors shut and shades drawn, when no one else can see or hear, is speaking with grace the culture you are cultivating at home? Do you speak with grace – always, as Paul instructs – or are you becoming like so much of the culture you are immersed in? If you were required to come up with examples of when you spoke with a lack of grace to someone, would you have to scour your memory for a rare incident, or would your mind race to a recent encounter? For many, memory serves up several not-too-distant examples, and often in their marriage communication. Is this you, or are you a husband who always speaks to your wife with grace?
A lack of grace in speaking is a function of many things: personality (some are naturally more confrontational or contrary than others), upbringing (some are poorly trained in good manners), and being led by one’s flesh in a moment of intense communication, rather than being led by the Spirit.
We have our reasons and it’s common to appeal to those reasons for being ungracious as we justify how we communicated. Somehow, in our minds, those justifications absolve us of guilt, and we carry on, ignoring the carnage left in the wake of our conversation. But God doesn’t care about our reasons, however normal and justifiable we convince ourselves they are. In fact, the Bible ignores altogether the reasons we may have for being ungracious in our speech. It’s not important why you spoke that way. It is important that you grow and mature and become obedient to the Holy Spirit’s instruction of how to speak to others – always with grace – starting with your wife.
The shocking reality of the New Testament is that everywhere behavior is called upon for change—from what the Bible calls “walking in the flesh” to walking in the Spirit—the responsibility for living out that change is given to the individual. It’s on you. God empowers you through the Holy Spirit, equips you through His armor, and makes provisions for each encounter, not allowing you to be tempted beyond what you can withstand. But, in the end, the Scriptures instruct you to take action.
The soft-sounding “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt” (Colossians 4:6, emphasis added) isn’t some benign option you can take or leave. The word “let” establishes this instruction as an imperative statement, almost as if Paul is saying ‘make this happen’. He’s exhorting us to act, to ensure, to discipline ourselves that we always speak with grace. As a believing, biblical husband, you are to actively cultivate this quality in all your communication.
Why is this important? So you will know how to “answer every man” Paul continues to explain (Colossians 4:6), which obviously means men and women everywhere, and by right of priority, necessarily starts with your wife, the person you have more opportunity to answer to than anyone else.
We naturally tend to take the most liberty with our closest relationships, giving more grace to total strangers at some store than to those we say we love. But, if gracious speech isn’t happening at home, where you’ve been given the instruction to love your wife as Christ loves the Church, it’s hypocrisy everywhere else. As men and husbands, we need to remember a powerful truth: you are representing God with your mouth at all times.
There may be moments when you tell yourself she doesn’t deserve to be spoken to with grace. Maybe she’s spoken sharply to you and your flesh wants to answer in kind. We need a check in our spirits, here.
The Scripture is absolute, we are to speak with grace regardless of the other person’s choices. We’re prone to think the reason we can’t be holy is because of how the other person is treating us – a great twisting of the Truth by the Enemy of your soul. God’s call to speak to your wife with grace is given without regard to how she may be speaking to you.
Truth: I can choose to speak with grace, regardless of the other person.
The husband who walks with God purposes to cultivate speaking with grace so that whenever his wife encounters him, her experience will be that she is being spoken to with grace—all the time. Does this describe you and your communication with your wife? What is her experience? Is she living in the blessing of your obedience to this biblical injunction to speak with grace?
The beautiful truth of obedience to God is that it can start immediately, right now. If you haven’t been speaking with grace to your wife – the most important relationship you will ever have this side of heaven – let this be the week she begins to enjoy the fruit of your obedience to God’s Word. “Let your speech be always with grace . . .”
Oh God, my Father,
It’s easy to remember times when I’ve not spoken with grace to my wife – when I’ve used harshness, sharpness, sarcasm, or impatience. Please forgive me. I want to change and desire to grow – to walk in the Spirit with her and before You.
I pray she will receive my sincere apology and my request for forgiveness. May I go forward in the power of the Spirit to always speak to my wife with grace, representing You and Your kingdom well to her and to others.
In Jesus’s name, amen.
Matt Jacobson is teaching elder/pastor of Cline Falls Bible Fellowship and founder of FaithfulMan.com, an online social media community focusing on marriage, parenting, and biblical teaching. He is the creator of Freedom Course, teaching men the powerful, biblical path to getting completely free from porn and sexual sin (Freedom-Course.com). Matt is the author of the bestselling Loving Your Wife Well and 100 Words of Affirmation Your Wife Needs to Hear. He lives with his wife, Lisa, in the Pacific Northwest, where they have raised their eight children. Together Matt and Lisa are co hosts of the popular Faithful Life podcast.
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