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The Heart Behind Our Words

February 14, 2015 by

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We all know that using our words with care is a very important aspect of communication in our relationships.

I talked about that in this post: 9 Ways to Speak (or not) Love Into Your Marriage.

In fact, Scripture teaches us that they have the power of life and death.

We must use them with great care.

In my marriage, I have learned that we must also perceive the words of others cautiously.

Allow me to explain…

Often, when my husband and I are working through a disagreement or a misunderstanding, I will say, “you said”. He will challenge me in that he did not say that at all. If I’m honest, I think sometimes I chose to hear what I want to hear as a result of my emotions.

You see, we all come to a misunderstanding, or even an everyday conversation for that matter, with preconceived notions, thoughts, feelings, ideas, opinions, and expectations. Those things color our perceptions and often cloud our judgment.

My husband is right to point it out to me when I twist his words to conform them to my emotions. And I am quick to do the same to him when he reacts this way to the words I have spoken.

We must take great care to hear the words that have been spoken and not to interject our own ideas of the intent and heart behind them. If my husband tells me that he did not mean to use his words to intend the hurt they caused me, I need to believe him.

I must be careful to give him the benefit of the doubt rather than automatically assuming the worst. I owe him that. In fact, I owe this to any person I am having a conversation with whether it be a stranger, friend, or loved one.

We can share the Gospel with another soul. We can encourage someone by sharing a common struggle. We can build the faith of another by sharing the reason for the hope that is in us.

The bad news is that we can use our words for incredible harm. My heart breaks when I know I have used my words in a way that has hurt another person. I know that I can hurt the feelings of my family members when I am tired or stressed. I tend to be impatient and a little less than kind with my words when I am not at my best. While I do apologize and they understand that it wasn’t intended to cause them harm, it still hurts me to know that I don’t always have a soft answer.

Most of the time, when our words hurt others, it truly is unintentional. The second side of this word coin is that we are not only responsible for the words that flow from our mouths, but we are also responsible for how we perceive the words of others.

Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.

Only God truly knows our hearts.

We can communicate and convey them to the best of our abilities, but only God knows what truly lives there. It is my feeling that we should tread gently. If my husband (or anyone else) tells me that their words were not intended for harm, I must believe them.

It is my responsibility for facilitating loving and healthy relationships.

Words.

Such simple, yet complicated, little things.

Let us use them, and hear them, with care.

Let us be quick to listen but slow to speak.

May we resolve to really listen. Let us strive to trust in the words we are hearing without interjecting our own interpretations of what they mean.

For the sake of love, for the sake of our marriages and our relationships, let us do it for the glory of God.

Only God knows the true heart behind the words, but maybe we should give the speaker the benefit of the doubt.

What do you think? Has this been an issue in your marriage? How have you learned to overcome it?

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Shared at Faith Along the Way,  Ladies Collective Linkup, Lisha EppersonStill SaturdayCornerstone ConfessionWomen With IntentionTuesday Talk, The SHINE Blog HopGrace & Truth, Tell It To Me Tuesdays, A Look at the Book, & Teaching What Is Good.

Also at Welcome To My CircusFaith Filled Friday, & Thursday Theology.

26 Responses to The Heart Behind Our Words

  1. Rick

    Very powerful words you put together in this post! So very true. I love the way you choose to talk through those things in your marriage to bring things back to a loving center. I personally struggle sometimes with not always drilling down to uncover the place the comment was really coming from and just chalk it up to “our differences”. This sometimes leaves some scar tissue that was unintended or unresolved. I find that if it really had merit, it will surface again and beg to be dealt with. May I always be mindful to know that my spouse loves me (or others in my life) and if it seemed hurtful, talk it through now and may that overflowing cup continue to pour In all my relationships, and yours!

    • Heather

      Beautifully said, Daddy! It is so true about the scars that result because of unresolved issues. It’s not always easy, but our relationships are better when we take the time to loving deal with the things that cause us hurt. Blessings to you and yours. xo

  2. Nanette

    I love this! It is so true and is a very helpful reminder! Even after 34 Valentines Days with my husband, I still have to remind myself to choose my words carefully and interpret his words giving him the benefit of the doubt. In those times of disagreement, I have to slow down and ask God to help me choose my words carefully, then I have to listen to Him!! Thank you for this important Valentine’s Day reminder!

    • Heather

      Thank you so much for sharing your heart with us. One of the best things I have done for my marriage is slowing down and asking “God to help me choose my words carefully”. Thank you for the reminder that doing that is the first half. The second half is to listen and obey. Much love to you and my uncle on this Valentine’s Day. I hope your day is blessed. Thank you, also, for the loving example of a beautiful, God-honoring marriage. You have greatly blessed those who know you by the way you live your lives. xo

  3. IFEOMA SAMUEL

    Hello Heather, Words can be powerful as you rightly mentioned. I am also very wary and choosy of my words. I am also quick to explain what I mean especially in cases of mis-communication.
    Otherwise my hubby understands my tone and choice of words. But I remain careful.

    Thanks for sharing this. It is a timely reminder

    • Heather

      Hi, Ifeoma. I think that this is an important topic in our walks and in our marriages because we all know it intellectually, but it can be challenging to live out. Thank you for taking the time to read and to leave such encouraging comments for me. I really appreciate both. Blessings to you and yours.

  4. Sarah Ann (@faithalongway)

    Oh I wish I would have read this before I opened my big mouth tonight. I turned a minor disagreement into a much bigger battle than it needed to be. I WAY overreacted and ruined a nice dinner because of my sharp tongue. {Insert guilty head hang!} Thank God my husband is understanding and gave grace even when I didn’t deserve it! Thanks for the wisdom, my friend!

    • Heather

      I’m sorry to hear about your evening, Sarah Ann, but I am so grateful that you were willing to share your experience with us and that your husband is such a wonderful example of God’s incredible grace. Know that you are certainly not alone. While we are all striving to do better, we all fall short in this area. Otherwise, I wouldn’t even be writing on the subject. May we all continue to grow in grace and in God. Blessings to you and yours, my friend.

  5. scdoring

    Yes, words are a powerful thing in our marriage! I have learned that the more I hold my tongue the better our marriage is 🙂 I do pray to be quick to listen and slow to speak! Visiting from Women with Intention 🙂 May we be intentional about encouraging with our words.

  6. Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom

    Oh wow… what an insightful and powerful post. I am constantly thinking of my words and their impact. They are powerful in all aspects of our lives but in our marriages they are critical!

    Thanks for sharing and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop.

    Wishing you a lovely day.
    xoxo

    • Heather

      I think that we all struggle with this one, Kaylene. It’s why Scripture is full of so many verses about the importance of how we use our words. Thanks for hosting.

  7. Mary B

    The importance of choosing your words wisely. Excellent read.
    Thank you for tossing your hat into the ring at the Party Under The Big Top! I hope to see you again next week!
    #BigTopBlogParty

  8. Lysa @ Welcome to My Circus

    This was an incredibly powerful message and a well written post I might add. I do the same things that you described above. I tend to twist my husband’s words from what he actually said into what I perceived he said. The one thing that we have always had are wonderful communication skills between the two of us. So when one of us hears different words than those that were spoken we are able to discuss the reasons behind doing that and it only makes us stronger and that much more in love with one another!

    Thank you for linking up with us at Party Under the Big Top! I’m glad you were able to make it over to the #BigTopBlogParty this week! Hope to see you again at the next Party Under the Big Top too!

    Don’t forget we go LIVE every Monday night/Tuesday morning at midnight EST!

    Wishing you a fabulous week!

    Much love,
    Lysa xx
    Welcome to My Circus
    #BigTopBlogParty

    • Heather

      Thanks for hosting and for your encouragement, Lysa! I’m so pleased to hear that you and your husband are able to communicate so well. It sure makes for a blessed marriage. xo

  9. Carrie Ann Tripp

    Great thoughts on words! I wrote a post a while back on think twice speak speak once. Sometimes we need to think a long time about the words about to come out of our mouth before we say them.

    Our impulsive nature tends to get the best of us sometimes, and we speak things we truly don’t mean.

    Thank you so much for linking up with us on #ThursdayTheologyBlogs! Can’t wait to read what you bring to the table next week! 😀

    • Heather

      Thanks for hosting, for reading, and for sharing your thoughts, Carrie Ann! I like that” “think twice, speak once.” There is a lot of wisdom packed into those 4 words. Blessings to you and yours.

  10. Joanna Sormunen

    I have had great deal of trouble in my marriage because of words. Words that I have said and words that my husband has said. Words that I have remembered or interpreted my way and words that he has guarded and chose to understand in a way that is different from my meaning.
    It has been especially hard since we speak two different languages. Or I speak two different languages, my mother tongue, Finnish, and his language, Spanish.
    It has been tough for both of us to discern the true meaning of what we are trying to communicate to each other. And if I have learnt something, is that words are powerful, and they do have the power of life and death in them.

    • Heather

      Wow, Joanna, I think communication in marriage is a challenge without language differences! Please know that I will keep your marriage in prayer. May God help you both to discern the words that are spoken and the words that are heard. May you exhibit patience, love, and grace as you continue to grow in one another and in Him. Blessings to you both. Thanks so much for reading.

  11. Christina

    Great post for me to read today. Was just thinking about the ten out of twelve spies that came back with a negative report. Not only did they lose out on a huge blessing, but they caused others to do the same and then they lost their lives to a plague. The power of our words and how we use them is crucial to understand and to teach our children. Thanks for sharing!

    • Heather

      You bring up a very good point, Christia, about what and how we teach our children. We teach them volumes by the way we use our words, don’t we? Thanks so much for that reminder. Blessings to you and yours.

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