I sat stunned, trying to grasp the meaning of his gentle answer with powerful impact.
Early in our marriage, my husband stopped an argument in its tracks. “We can discuss this, but only if you stop yelling.”
Angry people yelled, didn’t they? How else could I express it? At least I had grown up thinking so. In my house, we yelled to resolve conflict. No one ever said our unwritten rule aloud, but we lived by it: “Loudest person wins.” My husband’s boundary startled me into a completely different paradigm.
After a few deep breaths, we continued our conversation. My husband gently explained that yelling hurt our relationship. As a divorced person, you’d think I would have already figured that out. But it took him explaining it to me in the most basic terms to help me understand.
I loved my husband deeply. We had both committed to making our second marriage work. We didn’t want to become another divorce statistic. And so far, so good after a couple of decades. Gradually, I learned to speak respectfully so he could hear my feelings without feeling attacked.
Did my husband have to remind me occasionally? Absolutely, especially during my daughters’ teen years. Did I always appreciate those reminders? Goodness, no. My flesh demanded the ability to yell.
My husband’s gentle answer set a life-changing boundary that changed the course of generations of harsh words. I didn’t always like it, but I realize what a marvelous mercy God showed me through it.
God slowly, sometimes painfully, teaches us freedom comes with self-control. His Spirit brings some sweet relationships, especially with those closest to us. When we allow God to work in us, we’re more likely to clamp our lips shut and wait until we season our words with grace. God can use our kind, compassionate words to influence others and enrich our relationships, possibly even for generations.
Is there a person in your life prone to harsh words? What gentle answers can you give that would point them to Jesus?
(Photo courtesy of pixabay and Ashish_Choudhary.)
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