Today is a super-short section. It's super short for two reasons: one, because I'm in the middle of a marathon of "Call the Midwives" on Netflix. Two, because I'm dying of shock. Michael makes a good point, and let's it be. He doesn't surround it with toxic nonsense. He doesn't blame the woman. He doesn't name call. He doesn't even boast. Just straight-forward, good advice-albeit centered in scripture. Read on!
Text is in purple.
Speaking Healing Words
This can be the first day of your renewed marriage. You may not see fruit right away, but you must begin by cultivating the fallow ground with healing words. "A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it! (Proverbs 15:23)" Wives are always in season for "good words." They are hurt by our words. You have been hurt by her words, have you not? Where does it stop? It stops when one party (that's you) starts speaking comfortable words, gracious words, words that are spirit and life. The tongue can be a world of iniquity or it can be a tree of life. The power is in our words.
See what I mean? By encouraging one party to be the bigger person to stop hurting each other, Michael is giving his best advice yet. I'm sure this is something almost every couple can use at one time or another. Especially me. I'm pretty good with words, and I am very, very good at using my words to hurt others. Specifically my husband; he always seems to feel the brunt of my ire. It's a good thing that he doesn't retaliate or escalate.
But that's the point! It's ever so much harder to be cruel to someone that doesn't fight back. And I think it's really interesting that Michael is putting the responsibility on the men. I would have thought that his advice would be something like "Let her know who is boss-don't back down!" But instead, he encourages men to speak basically nicely to their wives, even if they have been or are being hurt by her.
I also like how the section starts with "This can be the first day of your renewed marriage." I like that he allows the choice. This CAN be the first day. Or it cannot be. Your choice. I like that he admits that it will take time to heal and see the results. Overall, I can't stop pinching myself, because this is MICHAEL PEARL writing. And I'm agreeing. It's sad/funny how wrong it feels.
James 3:6-And the tongue is fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.
Proverbs 15:4-A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.
Not going to lie-I've had these verses quoted at me (or given to me on homemade bookmarks) a few times when I was growing up. My sharp tongue and quick wit were my only defenses in an unhappy childhood, and I was indiscriminate who I hurt, as long as I got them before they hurt me. But looking at them now, I can see the wisdom in them. It is far too easy to hurt others, especially those we care about, with words. The child's rhyme "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." is a lie. Words can sting more than a belt, long after the welt is gone and the scar has faded.
Put your fiery tongue away like a man puts away his weapon. End the conflict by absorbing some blows without returning fire. Stop trying to win the argument and start trying to win your wife. Stop getting in the last word, and start getting in some pleasant words.
I feel like this whole section has been written just for me (minus the parts about being a man). Honestly, I feel taken down a peg or two, and it infuriates me that it is Michael that did it. Does that make me an awful person? And not just applying it to dealing with my husband, but with my foster kids, too. I have a 10 year old girl that LOVES to argue. About everything. She had a 15 minute tantrum because we wouldn't let her walk to the barn through 18" of snow in her slippers. So often, when she mouths off, I have an almost physical need to "win" the argument. I want to show her who is boss, and feel like I bested her.
She's going back with her mom tomorrow, but hopefully I will take this message more to heart with the next bunch of kids we get. Sigh.