There are wars going on, and they aren’t just happening out in the world. There are also wars that are going on in many, many marriages. We’re talking about the “war of words” that we know is being fought daily. And sadly, there are many innocent children and families who are truly being victimized because these “adult” spouses can’t (often times won’t) stop the fighting.
We confess that earlier in our marriage, we got caught up in the “war of words.” We would lob hurtful words back and forth at each other like hand grenades. We even unwisely used the “D” word (divorce) too many times to count. And it should never have been —especially after we asked Christ to be our Lord and Savior! It took us too long to wake up and let the Lord help us get out of such destructive behavior.
Since then we have learned, and are learning better. But we are determined not to allow this war to continue in our home. We pray that for you too. God CAN help us ALL to get to a better place if we ask, and then follow His leading. But we have to be willing and open to looking for the help that we need. And then we have to apply that, which we learn, None of those steps can be dismissed or we will be on the losing side of this war of words. We will give into temptation.
This War of Words
On this issue, please prayerfully consider the following important points made by Paul Tripp:
“Recognize the destructive power of words. Paul warns us, ‘watch out or you will be destroyed by each other‘ (Galatians 5:15). We will never win the war of words as long as we minimize how critical a battle it is. The most powerful way we influence each other is through words, which encourage, rebuke, explain, teach, define, condemn, love, question, divide, unite, sell, counsel, judge, reconcile, war, worship, slander, and edify. People have influence and words have power. It is the way God meant it to be.
“As I write this, it grieves me to think about the amount of talk in my family that does not recognize the seriousness Paul gives it here. No, we don’t have ‘knock-down-drag-out’ battles, but there is a lot of thoughtless, unkind, irritated, and complaining talk that slips by every day. I think we are like many Christian families —we minimize these ‘little’ sins of talk because our home is free of physical and verbal abuse and we really do love one another. But Paul’s words yank us back to reality. Words that ‘bite and devour’ are words that destroy. THEY ARE NOT OKAY.” (From the Family Life article “War of Words”)
Words that Cause Damage
Please recognize that our words can bite and devour each other. They can also cause damage to others who pick up the residual shrapnel that bursts forth from those toxic words. We may THINK that our words are directed at our spouse, but that can be deceiving. To understand this better, please read: Spouses Arguing in Front of Others and also, Spouses Fighting in Front of Children.
Our words can also be expressed louder than it is healthy sometimes.
“It’s a tragedy that we don’t stop doing what’s not working but instead keep doing it with more volume.” (Bill Farrel) Please know that “You can be right, but wrong at the top of your voice.” (Emerson Eggerichs)
Prayerfully consider that:
- “Most problems start with hurt. After the hurt mulls around in our mind for a while, it becomes infected. (You can end up being angry at ‘the insensitive louse’ that only cares about what they do.)” … “A mistake that causes hurt to turn to anger is accumulating grievances. One hurt is manageable. You can keep it under control, express it constructively, and work through it. Two hurts are a little harder to deal with. Accumulate more than that and it’s almost impossible to keep them from comparing notes and deciding that they deserve to turn into anger.” (Bill Hybels)
- “Please deal with grievances as they arise. Don’t stack them on top of one another or let them fester inside until they turn to hostility. Anger is always a secondary emotion. If spouses back up to what preceded it, they’ll often find hurt. If they reveal the hurt, they’ll weaken the walls that separate them.” (Bill Hybels, from his book, “Marriage”) [To read more on this issue, please read: Short Accounts.]
Keep in mind, if you are fighting the War of Words with your spouse, please “make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14)
Glean and Apply
To help you in this mission, you will find below web site links that will lead you to articles you can glean through and use. The first is a link to our index on the subject of “Communication Tools.” You will find a number of articles listed that you can choose from to read and use what will work for you:
Also, please look around the web site to see what else you can find to help you. We have a list of topics at the bottom of this web site, and a drop down box at the top of the web site. One of the topics listed is “Abuse in Marriage.” With all that is being presented here, we want you to know that if you are dealing with abuse issues, it is important to address them. Verbal and/or physical abuse is NOT acceptable, nor healthy behavior. Don’t keep allowing this to go on. Do what you can to “live in peace” and encourage peace.
Lastly, here is a video, featuring Paul Tripp, where he explains more on this War of Words:
You may want to read more of what David Tripp says about this issue by reading, War of Words. Check it out. We highly recommend it.
Keep in mind:
“Conflict is not a contest or a game to be won by the more clever or ruthless partner. Even if you are right or your way is best, what good is it if you win the conflict and jeopardize the marriage? (Dr Steve Stephens) “If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.” (Galatians 5:15)
We pray this Insight is a helpful start for you in fighting this war. Fight FOR your marriage, rather than against it. Don’t tear apart your marriage partnership. This is our prayer for 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 and Steve Wright
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Filed under: Communication and Conflict