Saturday, November 17, 2007

Louder than Words

We are all familiar with the true old adage, "Actions speak louder than words." There's no place that this is truer than in our homes. I can say that I'm going to clean the house, but alas, the action of inactivity will far outweigh that promise and the dust will speak for itself. I can say "I forgive you," but still slam doors and avoid direct eye contact, unless I'm rolling my eyes which clearly makes a point regarding the actual state of my forgiveness.

Speaking of making a point, Proverbs 27:15-16 reminds me what all of my reminders might sound like to my husband.

A quarrelsome wife is like
a constant dripping on a rainy day;

restraining her is like restraining the wind
or grasping oil with the hand.

A good friend and I regularly take the time to evaluate our lives in light of Christ's teaching, specifically our roles as wives, as mothers, as His children. Sometimes in addition to sharing about our dissatisfaction with a certain area of our lives, we vent a few complaints as well. I can feel free to share my dissatisfaction with my husband's actions, knowing that I have wise counsel and that she is unlikely to spur on my feelings of resentment or rebellion. I have always appreciated Proverbs 27:17, "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another," but it wasn't until today that I noticed that verse immediately followed those about the quarrelsome wife.

Sometimes I am not able to fix the situation, certainly not by talking about it. What I can do is look at myself and my attitude to see if it might be somehow be contributing to the issue. Using my friend as a sharpening rod generally causes me to look inward, or even better--upward. I can let my actions speak louder than words by getting rid of those clutter piles that drive my husband crazy or greeting him with a smile at the end of a long day instead of a sigh or a rant. If I talk to God about my concerns after examining my own motives and am sure that it is an area that needs to be corrected, I can be assured that prayer speaks louder than words. In fact, my friend and I have seen this very strategy "work" so many times that we coined a phrase for it:

Shut up and pray.

The words themselves don't bring to mind a godly wife brimming with a gentle spirit, but the practice behind it certainly does. Where nagging creates tension (both in my husband and in the self-righteous attitude it creates in me), selfless acts and prayer change me while I'm waiting to see the change in my husband.


Katrina said...

Many good thoughts here -- not the least of which is "Shut up and pray." :)

Though I'm familiar with both of the passages you mentioned, I don't remember them coming right after the other. Interesting.

Love your phrase "prayer speaks louder than words," too. So true. I wish I could say that prayer is always my first response to problems, conflict, etc. But I'm working on that.

Susanne said...

This was very good, Jennifer and exactly what I needed to hear.

Heather said...

Good reminder. Sometimes I get stuck in my own world and forget that perhaps my husband's had a hard day as well.

At A Hen's Pace said...

Great reminder. The author of my favorite secular book on marriage--The Surrendered Wife--is a strong advocate of "the healing power of duct tape" across the lips! How much better if we can also pray or muster up a smile.


Casey said...

So convicting for me right now.

Thanks for the reminder.