There are all kinds of 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, and 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) says “There 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