I’m married. I love my husband very much. He’s my best friend, and we do almost everything together. We have the same tastes in food, coffee, and movies. We love traveling the world together. Sometimes I know exactly what he’s going to say just from the look on his face, and vice versa. I love how he loves Christ, serves the church, and cares for me as his wife.
I love my husband, but my words sometimes don’t reflect that. I’m not talking about when we are out in public or gathered with friends and family. I’m talking about when it’s just the two of us, holed up in the comfort and privacy of our own home, where the only real witnesses to our conversations are God and our cocker spaniel. When it’s just the two us, I often struggle to bridle my tongue.
I know I am not alone in this struggle. There’s a reason why Scripture is so consistent and laser-focused in its handling of the tongue. The Bible is packed with wisdom on what comes out of our mouths, and this is because the tongue is such a powerful part of our makeup that literally has the power of “death and life” (Prov 18:21). The tongue builds up (Eph 4:29) and the tongue crushes the spirit (Prov 15:4). The tongue brings both blessings and curses (James 3:10). The tongue speaks wisdom (Prov 31:26) and the tongue spouts foolishness (Prov 15:2). The tongue has the power to heal and break relationships (Prov 17:9); it can rescue (Prov 12:6) and utterly defile (Matt 15:11).
God knows that we will always struggle with our speech during this life on earth, and he has not left us to battle this temptation on our own. He has graciously provided us with an abundance of wisdom on this subject in his Word.
But that’s not all. As a believing married woman, I’ve talked to a lot of other believing married women who can relate to my struggle of taming my tongue—specifically when I’m talking to my husband. Why is it so hard to control my tongue with the person I love most in this earthly life? Why am I so prone to speaking before thinking with the one to whom I am supposed to be joined as one flesh?
Well, once again, God knows that many wives in particular struggle with this sin issue, and he has graciously provided us with wisdom on this specific subject, too. There are many characteristics that make up a godly wife, but it does seem that controlling the tongue is one of the most difficult to overcome, yet rewarding in its mastery. A godly wife is one who controls her tongue.
Here are some directives from Scripture that can guide us as wives who seek to honor Christ by loving our husbands with our words.
The Godly Wife Shows Restraint in Her Words
Proverbs 27:15-16 is searingly pictorial in its description of the wife who has not bridled her tongue:
A continual dripping on a rainy day and a quarrelsome wife are alike; to restrain her is to restrain the wind or to grasp oil in one’s right hand.
Ouch. In other words, it is impossible to restrain a quarrelsome, nagging wife. This may sound harsh, but it serves as an important warning for both men and women. Earlier in Proverbs, we are given a similar warning: “A foolish son is destruction to his father, and the contentions of a wife are a constant dripping” (Prov 19:13). A contentious wife who shows no restraint with her words is just as destructive as a foolish, ungodly son.
Our words matter. How we respond to difficult circumstances, even when we have been wronged, will either help or hurt our marriage. Communication, accountability, and biblical exhortation are vital in a marriage, but we need to be careful not to mistake these important verbal exercises for pestering, ranting, or “mommy-ing” (i.e., treating our husbands like children). Our speech should be a source of edification for our husbands, not a source of devastation.
The Godly Wife Shows Wisdom and Kindness in Her Words
So, we know we don’t want to be like an incessantly dripping faucet with our words. What should we model our speech after? Thankfully, we can look directly to the Proverbs 31 woman as an example of someone who mastered her tongue:
She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.Prov 31:26
The godly woman knows what not to say, but she also knows what to say. She shows both discernment and kindness in her speech, and she models and teaches these God-honoring qualities to others. So excellent is this type of woman with her words that her children actively bless her and her husband cannot help but sing her praises, declaring, “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all” (Prov 31:29).
The Godly Wife Shows Graciousness in Her Words
We don’t often think of our words as having any real medicinal value, but Scripture tells us that a gracious word has the power to heal in ways that man-made physical remedies will never obtain:
Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.Prov 16:24
When our words are gracious, they are literally a healing balm to the troubled soul and the hurting heart. Gracious words have the power to calm anxiety, turn sadness to joy, and diffuse bitter conflicts. Gracious words are productive, particularly in a marriage relationship made up of two sinful—and very different—people. Gracious words are absolutely necessary for the godly wife.
The Godly Wife Confesses Her Sins
It’s easy to call out your spouse’s sins when you’re married. You witness their sin all the time—probably more than anyone else, other than God himself. It’s a lot harder to be introspective about your own sins, and harder still to go to your spouse with a heart of humility and confession. But that’s exactly what Scripture tells us to do:
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.James 5:16
Confessing our sins to God should be a regular habit for every believer. But it is also necessary for us to confess our sins to others so that we can be held accountable and so that other believers can pray for us as we struggle with particular sins. If you are a believing woman who is married to a believing man, thank God that you have a built-in prayer warrior and accountability partner! It’s not always easy, but being honest and humble with our spouse about our sins should be an ongoing practice in every godly marriage, and our speech should regularly reflect that.
There’s a lot more that could be said about the words of a godly wife, but the best way to learn and grow in this area is to go straight to the source: God’s Word. The Bible—especially the book of Proverbs—has an endless supply of rich, tangible wisdom on how to tame the tongue and what that looks like in the life of a married woman. I know that I am convicted and edified every time I read these verses, and I pray that I will have a heart of humility and softness as I strive to love and minister to my husband with my words. If you are a wife who is finding it difficult to tame your tongue, meditate on what God’s Word has to say on this issue and know that there is hope to grow in this area, as Christ is “faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).