“Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.” Proverbs 12:25 (ESV)
One day, when Everett came home after a long, tiresome day at work, he was surprised to see candles lit throughout the house. The kitchen table was set for two and danced with candlelight in their modest home. In his gregarious, teasing fashion, Everett turned to his wife and said, “What meanest thou this?”
“Well, we’ve been married exactly six months today,” Jane explained, “and I thought we would eat by candlelight tonight.”
That sounded like a welcomed romantic idea to Everett, so he went to the bathroom to wash up for dinner. Jane hadn’t put a candle in the bathroom, so Everett turned to flip the switch. No light came on. Then he walked across the hall to the dark bedroom and flipped the switch. No light came on.
Everett went back out to the kitchen, looked Jane in the eyes and said, “Baby, did they cut the lights off?” And she began to cry.
“You work so hard,” she said, “and we’re trying so hard. I didn’t have quite enough money to pay the light bill, and I didn’t want you to know about it. So I thought we would just eat by candlelight tonight.”
When I listened to E.V. Hill tell this story at his wife’s funeral, I cried like a baby. I want to be that kind of woman — that kind of wife.
And so many times I’m not.
I want to be a wife who uses her words to build up her husband rather than tear him down, who encourages him to reach for his dreams rather than throws cold water on his enthusiasm, who lets him know he is loved rather than leaving him questioning his worth.
Proverbs 12:25 reminds us, “Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.” All through the day, our husbands have words thrown at them that could cause anxiety to rise and self-esteem to fall. But as wives, we have the ability to make them glad with a word … especially glad they are married to us.
And here’s more good news: Notice Proverbs 12:25 says, “a good word.” We don’t have to have a lot of words. Just one. Just one little word can make all the difference. I’m not all that great at one word, but I can certainly do less than 10.
“I’m so proud of you.”
“I missed you today.”
“I love you so much.”
“Thank you for working so hard.”
“I’m so glad I married you.”
The Bible tells us, “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones” (Proverbs 16:24, NIV), but “the words of the reckless pierce like swords” (Proverbs 12:18a, NIV). It also tells us “the tongue has the power of life and death” (Proverbs 18:21a, NIV). The tongue has the power of life and death in a marriage as well.
Pastor Hill went on to tell his friends and family about the night the lights went out:
“She could have broken my spirit. She could have ruined me. She could have demoralized me. But she said, ‘Let’s eat by candles. We’ll turn the lights on one day. Somehow, we’ll get these lights on. But tonight, let’s eat by candlelight.’”
E.V.’s wife knew something I want to always remember. A wife has the power to bolster her husband’s confidence or break his spirit with but a word. Jane chose to be his encourager. I want to be that kind of wife. I bet you do, too.
Heavenly Father, help me keep watch over the door of my lips today. Help me to know what to say and when to say it. And if the words I’m about to speak would do harm, help me to keep them to myself. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY
Proverbs 15:1 “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (NIV)
Proverbs 15:4 “The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.” (NIV)
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Sharon Jaynes has several great marriage resources available, including Praying for Your Husband from Head to Toe and her latest book, Lovestruck: Discovering God’s Design for Romance, Marriage, and Sexual Intimacy from the Song of Solomon, will help you see your marriage from a fresh perspective and reignite the passion that was there in the beginning. Purchase your copy today!
When you visit Sharon’s website and subscribe to her emails, you can download any of her free resources, including “25 Things Your Husband Longs to Hear” and “25 Things Never to Say to Your Husband.”
REFLECT AND RESPOND
Would you say your husband considers you his chief cheerleader or chief critic?
What is one way you’ve encouraged your husband (or another person you love) when that wasn’t your initial reaction? Or, what is one way you can do that today? Share your stories and ideas in the comments!
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