“A good time to keep your mouth shut is when you’re in deep water.” Keeping our mouth shut can sometimes be wise, but do we always apply that wisdom when we should? Are we insistent that we have to have the last word?
I’m reminded of a little dog we had a number of years ago named “Troubles.” She was a menacing little dog… cute, but often naughty and brought “troubles” into our lives at random times. She lived out her name very well.
One thing I remember well about her is that she could not allow anyone to have the last word if she was reprimanded. If she barked when she shouldn’t and we scolded her, she’d just have to give that last bark. No matter how many times we’d try to have the last word she’d follow through with that last yip. It seemed to be that she needed to let us know that she had the final say, not us.
Insisting on Having the Last Word
Sometimes spouses can be like that. I’ve certainly been there and have done that. It’s called, “right-fighting.” Sometimes we want so badly to have our spouses realize how “right” we are and how off base they are that we argue something into the ground. We just won’t let up. We have to make sure our partner knows how wrong he or she is in a situation. It’s as if we’re the Energizer Bunny (in the commercial). We go on and on and on and on. Even if it’s making the situation worse by doing this, there’s a compulsion to keep on going.
It goes along with the scripture that says, “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) You can’t do it —no matter how hard you try. Even though that scripture addresses wives, I’ve seen where husbands can be “drips,” as well.
The following are a few things God’s word says to both wives and husbands. It concerns being wise and knowing when to stop the barking, or the talking (and I’m not referring to giving the silent treatment —another type of manipulation which doesn’t show wisdom being applied).
Please Note —God Tells Us in His Word:
• If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. (James 1:26)
• A fool’s mouth is his undoing, and his lips are a snare to his soul. (Proverbs 18:7)
• A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions. (Proverbs 18:2)
• Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue. (Proverbs 17:28)
• Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him. (Proverbs 26:12)
• When words are many, sin is not absent. But he who holds his tongue is wise. (Proverbs 10:19)
• He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin. (Proverbs 13:3)
• He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity. (Proverbs 21:23)
• Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife. (Proverbs 17:1)
I’ll repeat my opening statement, “A good time to keep your mouth shut is when you’re in deep water.” It’s something that you and I need to apply when we’re tempted to flood our spouse with more words than we should.
“Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.” (Proverbs 17:14)
Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International wrote this blog.
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