To Say Something Or Not: THAT Is The Question

Say Something - AdobeStock_86803523Are you wondering if you should say something to your spouse about a particular issue? That can be quite the dilemma! There are many different reasons why we should and why we should not say something to our spouse when they’re not doing things the way we think they should. Sometimes we should say something; but other times we shouldn’t.

It’s also important to consider the timing of when we say what we believe we should. What we have to talk about might be better received if they’re approached at another time.

Should You Say Something?

“Have you ever walked around your home or office, trying to get a clear signal on your cell phone. You keep saying, ‘Can you hear me now?’ In the same way, to keep relational communication lines clear, change your position. Set your perspective aside and put yourself in your mate’s shoes.

“Before you download your trials and traumas onto your spouse, check in to see how his or her day has been. You might wait until a better time to bring up a tough subject if his boss is unhappy with him, if she has interpersonal issues at work, or if he is working on an important project or case. A little empathy goes a long way.” (Bill and Pam Farrell)

The Bible (in Ecclesiastes 3) saysThere is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven… a time to be silent and a time to speak.

The problem is in knowing what season we’re in. Would it be best to speak or to be silent?

For years I thought that if my husband, Steve, was going to “listen to reason” I was the appointed one to tell it to him. I was sure I had the wisdom he needed to listen to. After all, I didn’t see anyone else around who was volunteering for the job! Obviously it was my “job” or he just wouldn’t know what he needed to know.

But then I had a friend who told me about the “Duck Principle.”

The Duck Principle

No, I’m not talking about the principle of a “quack, quack” kind of animal. I’m talking about ducking out of the way so God has the opportunity to talk instead of me. There are times when I’m NOT all knowing. God knows when it is best for Him (or someone else) to talk to Steve instead of me. Other times I may be the “appointed” one. Or maybe it’s just best to leave the whole matter alone.

So when an important situation comes to the forefront, I’ve since learned to pray about it to discern who should do the talking (and when). I need to discern if I’m standing in front of God, rather than behind Him, or alongside Him.

I could be standing in the way of what God can do or say to change Steve’s heart over the matter. With me out of the way, God has full access to him. It’s amazing how liberating and how wise this is! I’m no longer responsible; God is. I’m not standing in God’s way. Plus, I have God’s blessing.

But sometimes I need to DUCK and get out of God’s way! I’m to pray, not say what I want to at different times. It’s a matter of releasing my grip over the situation.

Something that Renny Gehman wrote about this issue is so true:

“In the book, The Power of a Praying Wife, Stormie Omartian writes, ‘When you pray for your husband, the love of God will grow in your heart for him. Not only that, you’ll find love growing in his heart for you, without him even knowing you’re praying. That’s because prayer is the ultimate love language. It communicates in ways we can’t.’

“When I nagged, Bob’s ears had an auto-off switch that activated instantly. I knew I wasn’t getting through! When I stopped trying to make Bob work on my timetable, he was free to respond to the Lord’s leading and discipline. Giving my expectations to God let me rest. But I had to trust that God would get through to Bob. And if he didn’t, then there was certainly no way I’d be able to.” (From the Today’s Christian Woman article, “A Piercing Silence”)

Too Much Horizontal Talking

I’ve found that to be true in my marriage too. We often do too much horizontal talking to each other and not enough vertical talking to God about situations that concern us. After all, the Bible DOES tell us that God cares about all that burdens our hearts. Why not ask for wisdom as to whether to say something or not?

But whatever you do, please don’t fall into the habit of nagging. A little here or there is one thing… it may be necessary. But if it becomes a habit, something is amiss that needs to be changed. Here is a great linked article that I recommend you read on this habit. This applies whether you are the nagger or the naggee. You’ll find some helpful tips to help you concerning this type of “communication” problem:


Please know that if you need confront your spouse, we have lots of Communication Tools on this web site to help you. Plus, here’s another article that just may help you:


May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! (Romans 15:5-6)

Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International wrote this article.

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Filed under: Communication and Conflict

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6 responses to “To Say Something Or Not: THAT Is The Question

  1. (RSA)  Please help me to resolve this problem I am facing. My husband and this other lady are friends and initially I did not have a problem with their friendship until recently. Now my husband is very distant and he was helping this friend too much,then I felt very uncomfortable about their friendship. I raised this issue with my husband that I am no longer comfortable about them so can they stop their friendship.

    So it was like I asked my husband to do a very difficult thing because he is so resistant even if I try to engage him in our conversation wanting to explain to him why I am not happy. He doesn’t want to talk about it; he just says he will stop the friendship and that’s it. Now I want him to tell me that how is he going to do it and how will I know that he has stopped the relationship. Now it is very tense at our house because of this issue. I need serious help on this.

  2. (S.AFRICA)  Dear Anonymous,
    I can sense your worry and concern because I have been where you are. One has a natural instinct when something feels wrong. I wish I would have addressed the same problem with my husband in a kind, respectful but meaningful way. Do not let it slide but find the right moment to approach him on this issue. Tell him how it is hurting you. Tell him you are worried. Tell him how you feel. Maybe there is nothing to worry about. His response to your concern should give you a good indication of what could be going on. If he really cares his response will be one of reassurance and love.He will make every effort to stay away from this other woman knowing that it is hurting you. Pray sincerely about your concerns to God and as the page above says “step aside and let God take control” Who better to handle the situation than God himself.

  3. (ZIMBABWE)  I am in the same situation. My husband always gets female friends he hangs out with and does not want to hang out with me. Each time I find out through text msgs and when I ask he says they are just friends. Twice I have asked the female friends and they ended up being offensive to me and said I should learn to deal with my marriage problems.

    This had me thinking my husband had been telling them that we have issues but he isn’t forthcoming with me. Recently we moved to a new town and my husband has a new female friend from work. Surprisingly she is the only one from work who texts him regularly. One day this girl sent my husband a text inviting him for drinks after work. He had left his phone home so I replied that if she was with my husband to tell him I was waiting for him. She then said she didn’t know my husband yet.

    I had texted with his phone so I tried calling her and she wouldn’t pick up. I then sent a txt and she said we needed a marriage counselor and didn’t want anything to do with both of us which I found rather weird as she initiates most texts. I have a strong gut feeling something is not right but just can’t prove it. So in short, you still might not have the answer you need until your partner wants to talk or this so called friend wants to talk too. As for me, am seriously considering getting a divorce because I am convinced my partner is cheating on me.

  4. (USA)  I am in the same situation. But we have already had a couple of bad arguments about it, in which I totally blew up at him. I’m learning that explosions don’t keep anything together, they blow us apart. But it hurts so bad to think of him caring for someone else that I just reacted from my gut.

    I know there must be something lacking in our relationship –some need that he found another way to fill. I’m trying to learn what is lacking, and so far I think it deals with respect. I have not shown him respect in the way I need to, and so his heart is not with me. Men need respect like women need love. I’m still struggling with exactly how to show respect, but I’m working on it.

  5. I tried this with mine; but all he does is lash out at me, gets very very mad and starts calling me all kinds of names and it gets really ugly. I’m to the point where all I do is cry and ask God to help him. I’ve made some mistakes, which I have no problem humbling myself to apologize, but he flat out refuses to give any apology for how he has hurt me. I recently told someone about the way he treats me, which I know was wrong to do, but what I told was the truth. God knows what I do thru behind closed doors and it’s like he blanks out or something because when I tell him or show him what he has done, nothing. I don’t know how long I can do this.

    1. I am wearing those shoes ? a lot and have already tried your solution time and time again. Do you have another solution for the spouse who just doesn’t get it?