But He’s Bothering Me

October 5, 2018
“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21 (NIV)
Pinterest Image

Just a few days before my birthday my husband, James, started saying little comments that were getting under my skin. They weren’t even about getting older, but they still bothered me. We both felt under the weather, and some of his comments (even said jokingly) started to drive me crazy.

I could feel the tension mounting and teased him back. When I was by myself, I simply prayed, “God, change me. My husband is bugging me. Help me not to overreact. Help me communicate to him the things that bother me, and then help me forget about it.”

God answered my prayer that day — I was less touchy and able to calmly talk with James. I realized afterward that if I kept a soft heart toward God, it would result in me having a soft heart toward my husband. The reverse is also true: When I harden my heart toward my husband, I also harden my heart toward God. There is a correlation between my relationship with God and my relationship with others.

Our heart-health and our word-health are connected.

Today’s key verse, Proverbs 18:21, says, “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” What we say often returns back to us, either adding to our lives or subtracting from it. Our speech has consequences in marriage and in all our relationships.

The previous verse sheds more light on the power of words, “From the fruit of their mouth a person’s stomach is filled; with the harvest of their lips they are satisfied” (Proverbs 18:20, NIV). When our words are truthful and gracious, we’re nourished by them. When they are hurtful and untrue, we starve our souls.

You and I can’t control the words of our spouses (or others close to us), but we can control the words that come out of our mouths. During casual, daily conversations, do we use a tone that’s kind? Will we use our words as weapons against others to retaliate when they step on our toes? Or will we use our words to heal and restore?

Thankfully, it’s possible to change the tongue’s bad habits by the power of the Holy Spirit.

If you have a history of snapping at your husband, family members, or friends in anger, you don’t have to live enslaved to outbursts. You don’t want to stuff your feelings, but you do want to learn how to communicate in a constructive — not destructive — way.

How can you tell the difference? Let’s say I want to tell my husband I was upset by the way he brushed off my last comment about his latest big purchase.

Constructive words: Honey, I am trying to be more responsible with money. But it didn’t feel like you were listening to my concerns. Is there a better time for us to talk? Can we come to an agreement about saving money?

Destructive words: I don’t know why I bother trying to reason with you. When I have an opinion, you just shut me down. You don’t care about how I view our finances. You make decisions all the time without considering my feelings.

Can you see how the words I choose set the stage for my husband’s response? Constructive words look for a solution. They seek to improve situations and promote growth. Keep in mind that constructive words can sometimes be negative. Many times you have to diagnose and talk about a problem honestly before you can fix it.

Destructive words act just the opposite. They seek to damage, discredit and destroy. They are always unfavorable and negative. There’s nothing redemptive about destructive words.

Our words matter in all our relationships, especially in marriage. May we speak respectfully and enjoy the choice fruits of a peaceful home.

Lord Jesus, forgive me for being quarrelsome at times. Help me seek peace and use my words in a constructive, affirming way with those closest to me. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit so I can exercise control with my words. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Proverbs 18:22, “He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD.” (NIV)

Psalm 19:14, “May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.” (NIV)


Your husband isn’t going to meet all of your expectations, and neither will you meet all of his. Being a wife who speaks with kindness has more to do with choice than circumstance. Learn how to build up your man with your words in Arlene Pellicane’s book, 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Wife.

Don’t miss out on what God has for you in this very moment. Our newest devotional, Encouragement for Right Now, will help you get started in the right direction. Wherever you are on your journey, ask Him, the giver of all good gifts, for what your heart desires. It’s free with a donation of your choice. Click here to learn more!



Visit Arlene’s website where you can read further about turning your bothers into blessings in marriage.


How do you normally respond when someone (perhaps your spouse) says something that bothers you?

How can you respond in a more constructive way the next time that happens? Share your thoughts with all of us in our comments section.

{Editor’s Note: Today’s devotion is meant to encourage anyone facing typical frustrations within a healthy marriage. However, October happens to be National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. And we’re mindful that 1 in 4 women report facing domestic violence or abuse. To get confidential, anonymous help or practical next steps to help a friend, call 1-800-799-7233 (-SAFE) or visit this website.}

© 2018 by Arlene Pellicane. All rights reserved.

Join the Conversation

Study Products

Be Still and Know Cuff

Proverbs 31 Ministries is honored to partner with Karama Collection, a nonprofit social enterprise that is alleviating poverty in Africa. They work with artisans and focus on restoring dignity by providing creative, meaningful work. The beautifully designed cuff is made of hand-hammered brass which naturally patinas over time. Each piece…

31 Verses From Proverbs 31

When God feels far away or seemingly silent, we must remember that His written Word is always true. In fact, Hebrews 4:12 tells us the Bible is "alive and active." These cards will give you the opportunity to place your name in a verse to make it feel more personalized…

Your Sacred Yes

Are you worn out from life's ought-to's and should-do's? It's so easy to give away our time to things un-appointed by God. We commit to something because it's a good cause or there's a great need. Or maybe because no one else will help out. The result? The days blur…

Anxious for Nothing

When you purchase Anxious for Nothing from the Proverbs 31 bookstore, you'll receive an exclusive iPhone wallpaper download and three designed postcards from the author sent directly to your inbox upon purchase. "It is not God's will that you lead a life of perpetual anxiety. It is not his will…


Don’t miss out!

We’re studying Ezra and Nehemiah!

Join us for free on the First 5 app March 4 as we begin our next study, Opposition and Opportunity. Go even deeper by purchasing the Experience Guide.


About Proverbs 31

Proverbs 31 Ministries is a non-denominational, non-profit Christian ministry that seeks to lead women into a personal relationship with Christ, with Proverbs 31:10-31 as a guide.
Learn More

Support Proverbs 31 Ministries

In a day and time when the world is trying to quiet biblical truth, Proverbs 31 Ministries is determined to help women engage with God’s truth like never before through the resources we offer each day.
Give Now