Various parts and organs of the human body function in the right manner when the body is generally healthy. However, one particular part often fails to perform one of its functions rightly despite the status of its physical health. The Bible says a lot about this particular opening which can be described as mouth, lips or tongue. I shall use some of these terms interchangeably in this post.
I would like to concentrate on communication between man and wife. Since the Bible declares marriage a permanent relationship, it is important that the tongue is used in ways that usually benefit the couple. For marriage can be a terrible situation when spouses speak whatever comes to their mind without weighing their words.
Some couples exchange bitter words most of the time in their marriage. They end up in the divorce courts or they live in a miserable relationship. Being in a horrible marriage can affect the physical, emotional and spiritual health of one or both spouses. Sometimes one partner is admitted to a mental health institution or a medical health facility because of the terrible communication style in the home! The most horrible thing that can happen to either of them is death from an emotional or physical ailment that has been remotely caused by harmful use of words!!
A book by Derek Prince, Does Your Tongue Need Healing? points out biblical references to the good and bad effects this opening in the face can have on people.The author declares that words proceed from the heart, character or personality of the speaker and come out of the mouth. Then their effect, good or bad, on the listener or audience takes place.
One of them is “ Your lips, my bride, drip honey; Honey and milk are under your tongue, And the fragrance of your garments is like the fragrance of Lebanon” (Song of Solomon 4:11 NAS). In this Bible passage, the bridegroom describes his bride in affectionate terms. And which woman hearing this wonderful but powerful message would not glow with joy and pride!
Two other biblical quotes from Derek Prince’s book show the adverse effect of harmful words on the listener who is the spouse in my context. One is, “A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit” (Proverbs 15:4 King James Version).
Another one is , “ Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit” ( Proverbs 18:21 NAS).
Jesus also explained the situation in these strong terms, “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree produce good fruit” (Matthew 7:18 NAS).
In Derek Prince’s words , all these quotes point to the fact that the mind, character or personality must be right with God before a person can communicate in acceptable ways with another. He insists, and I agree with him that human beings need healing from God to enable them communicate with others without hurting them.
Secular writers like Oscar Wilde have also noted, “ Ultimately the bond of all companionship, whether in friendship or marriage is a conversation ….”. A wonderful quote from another person, Paul Tillich, says, “The first duty of love is to listen”.
I dare add that it is important to listen attentively when one spouse is speaking with the other so the effect is appropriate and not upsetting or hurtful. It would be a wonderful situation in marriage if all spouses are gentle and considerate in the manner they speak to and with each other.