Words of Life or Death
Melanie Chitwood

"The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences." Proverbs 18:21 (NLT)

I often hear my husband Scott say something to my sons that brings a smile to my face. "Have you told your mom you love her today? Don't ever forget you have the best mom in the world." When I hear him praise me to our sons, I feel encouraged and appreciated. From my husband's example, I've learned to be careful about the words I say not only to my husband but also about my husband.

Today's verse tells us our words can bring "death or life." In our marriages, this means our words can either tear down our spouses or build them up. I've been noticing lately if I'm more likely to say words such as, "I'm married to the greatest man." Or do my words tend to be critical, such as, "I told you so," or "You don't even try to understand me"? What about you and your words to your husband? When you speak to your husband, do you fill him up with praise or make him feel like he's not measuring up?

Now let's consider the words we say about our husbands to others. What kind of things do you say about your husband to your children, best friend, sister, or mother? I tend to be a venter when I am angry or frustrated with my husband. Sometimes I turn to others because I'm seeking validation for my angry feelings. Often I vent when I haven't taken the time first to deal with the situation with God. I'm learning that if I go to the Lord first in prayer, pouring out my heart to Him, He changes my heart and brings me to a place of repentance and calmness. Then I'm able to let go of my anger and move on or talk to my husband in a loving manner.

Scripture gives plenty of evidence that God's words have the power of life. In Genesis we're told God created every inch of the world with His spoken words. John 1:1 tells us that Jesus is the Word. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus heals countless people with the power of His words. In a similar manner, God wants our words to bring life to our marriages. We can choose what we will sow—words of life or words of death—and we will reap the consequences many times over.

So will you take some time today to consider the words you use to and about your spouse? Use today's application steps to fill up your husband with words of life.

Dear Lord, let my words to my spouse and about my spouse draw us closer to one another. Teach me to communicate in ways that build my husband up. Help me hold my tongue when I'm about to say something that will tear him down. If pride, stubbornness, selfishness, or any other sin is preventing me from speaking words of life in our marriage, Lord, I confess that right now. Make me aware of any words of death I've spoken in our marriage, and as the Holy Spirit brings those to my mind, help me confess and turn from them, especially any words of divorce. Break any curse on our marriage from hurtful, angry, or destructive words. Guided by Your wisdom and love, may our words to and about one another build a protective wall around our marriage. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
What a Husband Needs from His Wife by Melanie Chitwood

Today’s devotion is adapted from Melanie’s new book What a Wife Needs from Her Husband

For more marriage encouragement visit Melanie’s blog – What Matters Most

30 Days to Taming Your Tongue and accompanying Workbook by Deborah Smith Pegues

Application Steps:
Considering the list below, which words do you speak most frequently to your husband, "words of life" or "words of death"? Plan on blessing your husband with at least one phrase from the "words of life" suggestions.

Words of Life
I appreciate how hard you work.
You are an incredible husband.
You have great insight.
I'm really looking forward to going out with you.
I'm sorry.
I was wrong.
Will you forgive me?
Thank you.
I understand.

Words of Death
You never listen to me.
You just don't get it.
I told you so.
You should have…
I wish you could just try to understand me for once.
How could you think that?
Why did I ever marry you?
We'd be better off divorced.

What situations tend to cause you to speak "words of death" to your husband? What's a different way to handle these situations?

Are there certain words you need to make off-limits in your marriage?

In what other relationships do you need to practice speaking "words of life"?

Power Verses:
Ephesians 4:29, "Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift." (MSG)

Psalm 19:14, "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer." (NLT)

© 2010 by Melanie Chitwood. All rights reserved.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,


Blogger Arewa said...

Thanks for this. Really helpful

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for this wonderful devotion today. It came to me as an answer to a prayer from a few day days ago. This speaks volumes to me right now in my life and my marriage. I have a husband that is dealing with alot of depression and lack of coping with just the simple daily things. It is hard at times when you feel the weight of life on your shoulders. I feel compassion for my husand at times, understanding and patient. Then on the other hand I just want to take a boot up the backside, My words mean alot right now. I am so careful of the words I say. They could make all the difference in how he copes.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This devotion was exactly what I needed to read this morning. My 2 1/2 year old has been waking up several times per night crying and has recently had bronchitis so it sleeping even worse. She had woken every hour last night and I had gotten out of my nice, warm bed and gone to her to settle her back down so she'd go back to sleep and not wake the rest of the household. At one point last night I'd had enough and had every intention of letting her cry and deal with it herself. I told my husband, "I'm sorry" since I knew he had to get up and go to work this morning to which he replied, "I think you should go to her". Reluctantly I did, and several other times afterward I did the same. I got up this morning feeling exhausted and completely frustrated, almost to the point of being angry with my husband. How dare he tell me I should go when he hasn't gotten up or even offered to get up even one time. However, he is our breadwinner and I am a stay at home mom, so I can rest at different times during the day. I also know if he gets up at night, it takes him HOURS to go back to sleep where it takes me usually minutes. I was angry when I sat down to read this today and it has shown me that even though I'm angry I should take my issue to God instead of taking it out on my husband. As he left for work this morning I wished him a good day as usual and I'll be over my "tiff" by the time he comes home this afternoon as a result of reading this. Thank you so much for this devotion!

Anonymous Girl...Hush! said...

Going to God first is SO KEY! Thanks for this message...it's exactly what I am trying to work on in my life right now!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This could not more spot on where I am with my husband! Thank you for this reminder for me today. We are going to have a better day today because I choose & speak it so!! This was such a blessing that I found this.

Blogger horseprariechatter said...

Thank you for this devotion. I appreciate the reminder that our words, which should be God's words, are life or death producing. Thanks to "Girl...Hush, Yes, going to God first is the KEY for all our success as Christians.

Blogger KNCouture said...

I am honestly amazed on the timing of this devotion! Just this morning I was fustrated with the lack of sleep I received last night and unfortunately took it out on my significant other. After he left the room I spoke to God and said please help me here, please come to me and help me deal. And sure enough I come into work and this devotion is awaiting me. He works is magical ways! Thank you to all the Proverbs31 devotion authors, you have all enriched my life in more ways than you will ever know.

Thank you!

Blogger T-Reese said...

Awesome word indeed. I will be celebrating our 9th Anniversary on March 11th and God has gotten us through so much. I may not say words of death to my husband but I surly have said them behind his back. Out of frustration I have spoken death and then wondered why he "still" does certain things. This is a great reminder that although he may not hear me, the enemy does and carries it out. So I must be careful what I say, when I say it. Thank you once again.

Blogger julia said...

Thank you for this devotion today. My husband often asks me"dont you have anything to say". I find myself preying for words to give him that will bring only goodness. Its hard for me because I'm a talker....but if you give God time ..the words will come.
Thank you again.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guilty of being a 'venter'. Awesome devotion will print and post in the house to read faithfully and work diligently at improving myself because God Can & God Is!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is very timely for me, as well. I have not spoken "words of death" but I have certainly thought them. On the other hand, I rarely speak "words of life". Thank you for your devotion as it is an answer to my prayer, "Help me to love my husband". God bless you.

Blogger Robin said...

Great advice that can also apply to our children.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really needed this, did I want to hear it no. But thank God He always has our best interest at heart. My husband and I got into a heated argument last night, which wound up him getting very very angry, and with me sleeping on the couch. I know I provocked him, but he had to hold back from wanting to hit me. He has never hit me before, but what should I do? I know I should've listened and let him be, but I just kept talking. Well he started yelling I got upset, and that was that. I feel it's my fault but I don't know what to do.

Blogger Melanie said...

Hi Ladies, Thank you for being a follower of our Proverbs 31 devotions. We learn from you, too! As I read your comments, I am praying for words of life to flood each of our marriages.- melanie

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great and very timely devotional. I'd like to comment to annonymous (whose husband slept on the couch). Our wonderful pastor addressed this situation in his sermon last Sun. night. His answer is to love him (or her) anyway!! My husband and I had a very rough weekend also. Yesterday when I got home from work, I asked him to sit by me on the sofa. I took his hand and told him I felt we should both just "Get over it", both say I'm sorry, and love each other anyway. Praise God, he said he'd been thinking the same thing. He started to mention something about what had happened, and I told him we couldn't go there, we just have to get over it, say "I'm sorry" and love each other any way. God is so awesome and this brought both of us peace.
Ironically, my grown daughter called me yesterday and told me she wanted me to stop at a bookstore on my home from work and buy the book The Love Dare by Steven and Alex Kendrick. She and some others in her accountability group are reading this and taking the dare, but not telling their husbands. She asked me to join them. I am so excited because I know God has a better plan for our marriage. This is the book referred to in the movie Fire Proof. I will pray for you and your husband. God is good, all the time.

Anonymous Stephanie said...

God's timing is SO cool. I just wrote a blogpost this morning dealing with my words to my husband. My husband and I have been married a little over eleven years and it is so obvious in our marriage when we are both walking with the Lord and seeking to be close to Him, or when we are going it on our own. It comes out particularly in or words, either positively or negatively. So thankful for your encouragement and challenge.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good fill someone in on and this post helped me alot in my college assignement. Thank you as your information.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is so important within the family unit, where EACH needs to feel safe, and cherished. I raised 3 boys, and I`d continually tell them, "You have NO further to look, than your own dad, for a Godly Role model". "Look at your dad, if you want to know, how to conduct business!" "Wach your dad, with his clients, see how much they love and respect him; because he treats them with respect!" How will you be a good Husband.. whatch how your daddy treats me!"
We have been married 33 HAPPY Years! What you reap inj words, you will sow.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very nice and intrestingss story.

Post a Comment


Site Search
Recent Devotions
Articles About...
Grab our button!