We all know that our words carry tremendous power. Power to breathe life into the discouraged, power to maim with gossip and slander… power to splinter the intimacy of our marriages. We women seem particularly notorious for damaging our men and our marriages with our words, and the book of Proverbs has admonitions aimed right at us, ladies.
A foolish son is destruction to his father,
And the contentions of a wife are a constant dripping.
Proverbs 19:13 (NASB)
A quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping on a rainy day;
restraining her is like restraining the wind or grasping oil with the hand.
Proverbs 27:15-16 (NIV)
Drip. Drip. Drip.
The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines “contentious” as “exhibiting an often perverse and wearisome tendency to quarrels and disputes.” “Quarrelsome” is defined as “apt or disposed to quarrel in an often petty manner.”
Those words are so vivid. Perverse. Wearisome. Disposed to quarrel. Petty.
This past Saturday NP and I woke up to hearing an interesting dispute from 5yo AG and 3yo LB’s room. LB has a truly aggravating habit of taking things from his sister and hiding them, and then forgetting where he put them. We listened with eyes still half closed as the argument unfolded dramatically.
“LB, where did you put my sillyband? Why do you always do this, LB?!”
“AG, I don’t know where it is! I’m sorry, AG! I’ll help you look for it.”
“LB, you’re lying! You do know where it is and you won’t tell me! Why would you do that, LB??”
“AG, I DON’T know where it is!”
[Incomprehensible whining and crying from AG...]
“AG, I don’t understand what you are saying! What are you saying?”
[More whining and mumbling from AG]
And then we hear LB calmly and resolutely say, “I’m going to hit you.”
And… then suddenly Mom and Dad were awake. ;)
The ridiculous thing about this whole quarrel is that my kids both couldn’t really care less about sillybands. They don’t ever wear them. AG didn’t really want it – LB didn’t really want it… selfishness turned something menial and insignificant into a ridiculous argument.
Being consumed with selfish pride makes us do such petty things – it makes us argue over ridiculous nonsense just like children. It’s often not because the matter at hand is really that important… but because we want to manipulate our spouse and give ourselves the advantage, the position of power. We are convinced that our desires are more important than theirs, we are consumed with thinking of ourselves and refuse to think of the other person – and it will ultimately destroy us both.
In Judges 16 we find one of the master female manipulators in the Bible – Delilah.
Then she said to him, “ How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when your heart is not with me? You have deceived me these three times and have not told me where your great strength is.”
It came about when she pressed him daily with her words and urged him, that his soul was annoyed to death.”
This whole scene is unbelievable to me. Delilah is whining because Samson won’t tell her how to destroy him. She keeps on pressing him to the point that his soul is annoyed to death. Indeed, his own foolish choices and her destructive manipulation (in the name of “love,” no less) ultimately killed him.
Drip. Drip. Drip.
If I am showing my husband the love of Jesus:
- Will I choose to pick petty fights over things that simply do not matter?
- Will I nag and quarrel and whine, pushing him to do what I want when I want it, refusing to recognize his desires as valid?
- Will I push my husband to do things that will ultimately harm him because I see some temporary advantage for myself?
- Would a transcript of my words read like a preschool argument?
We can build our husbands up and encourage them, speaking truth and love into their lives, or we can pick, nag, argue, and annoy their souls to death.
“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”
Time to turn off that drippy faucet, girls! Let’s breathe life, not death, into our husbands and our marriages today.
Since this week of One Small Spark is all about marriage, I linked today’s post up for “Marriage Mondays” at my friend Julie’s blog, Come Have a Peace! She always has wonderful insight and encouragement there each Monday – click on over and enjoy! Want to follow this series and make sure you don’t miss a post? You can follow along easily by subscribing to this blog by email or in an RSS reader! All the posts in this series will be indexed here for future reference, as well.