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Speaking Life to Our Spouses

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
June 3, 2021 2:00 am

Speaking Life to Our Spouses

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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June 3, 2021 2:00 am

Our tongues have so much power to build up or tear down. Dave and Ann Wilson remind us that one of the most important things in a marriage is choosing to speak life to our spouses.

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Core Christianity
Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
Clearview Today
Abidan Shah
The Charlie Kirk Show
Charlie Kirk
Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
Renewing Your Mind
R.C. Sproul

What do you wish you would have known before our wedding day?

About marriage? Yeah. That it would be, there'd be times I'd be so frustrated and marriage was so hard. And you didn't expect that?

No. I would say, I wish I'd have known my feelings come and go, that that's normal. And that's okay. Welcome to Family Life Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I'm Ann Wilson. And I'm Dave Wilson, and you can find us at or on our Family Life app. This is Family Life Today. Well, you know, the fun thing is today we get to talk about marriage. It's our passion. It is our passion.

To help married couples and talk about this, just a sort of a Wilson's from the heart. Because we've both been frustrated that we were never taught these things. We were never taught God's Word about why we get married. And we have all this schooling and training for years of how to have a vocation.

But how many years did you have learning how to be a husband? I went to a Weekend to Remember Conference. And that was great, though. It was awesome.

And I actually thought it can't be anything like what they said. And it was exactly what Family Life teaches. We now teach. So let's talk about marriage. We get to help people and say, okay, here's some things I wish I had known.

The first thing is this, you know, as you think about marriage, it's awesome. It's wonderful. It's incredible.

And it's really difficult. I mean, I remember going to New York City with you. We drove from Michigan for this vacation.

Never really had spending time in Manhattan, went to Broadway shows. I mean, I remember the food was great. Everything was amazing. And then we have moments in our marriage that were really, really hard.

Like the day we drove to see Cody play football at Northern Illinois. And on the way back to the airport, you called me a jerk. Well, and here's the thing. You were nervous.

You were kind of anxious about how he was going to play. You were mean and short with me all day. And we had to do a marriage message at church the next day.

The next morning. And I was so upset that I looked at you. And I know that we're never supposed to do this. You're supposed to say, I feel really frustrated.

But it didn't come out like that that day. I said, you have been the biggest jerk this entire day. Yeah, it was a great moment in our marriage. And then when we got up to speak the next morning, we were still in a fight.

Yes. I'll tell you what, here's what we want to talk about today. It sort of relates to that story. And it's this truth. Every couple has a power in their marriage. And this isn't just marriage.

This isn't any family or church, any relationship. There's a power in our hands for good or for evil. And it's extremely powerful. It's a weapon that we carry and no one seems to talk about it that often.

We had no idea how important this would be. I'm going to read you a verse in Proverbs 18 and you will see this power is powerful. Proverbs 18, Solomon wrote this, the tongue has the power of life and death. And those who love it will eat its fruit.

I mean, it's amazing. You break this verse down, you get our words, the tongue, our words have power. Power means the ability to change for good or bad whenever we speak. It has the power of life, which is the build up to encourage, to affirm. And it has the power of death, which is to tear down, to discourage, to critique.

And then it says, and those who love it will eat its fruit. In other words, those who understand the power that they have in their words, in their tongue will benefit. They'll be very, very careful about how they use their words.

It's interesting. I remember asking our kids, I think they were in high school and middle school when I asked them this question of what kind of words do we most often speak in our house? Are they words of life or are they words of death? By the way, that's a great question to ask your kids. And I'm telling you, all of our kids had a different answer and it was super convicting to me because they weren't all positive. They said my dad's words were life and mom's were death.

No, they didn't say that at all. I mean, it's a mixture. Yeah. And I really had to learn this over the years because growing up, we all grow up in different homes and we just throw out words. We can be flippant with our words. We can accuse one another.

We can call each other names. And I was not careful with my words when we got married. I feel like I really hurt you. I continually nagged you. I was continually critiquing you. I didn't call you names, but I still, I think my words were death to you so often.

We all do that at different times. I remember though, you learned, I mean, we both learned the power of life words. They encourage, they build up, they're a magnet. People want to be around people who speak life. People run away from people who speak death.

Right. And so I was on this mission, like I'm Lord Jesus. First of all, the power doesn't come from me just mustering up because that lasts for about an hour.

The power comes from the Holy Spirit living and abiding within us. And so I was praying, Father God, one of the fruit of the spirit that you talk about is self-control. So help me to control my words. And what I also realized was it was beginning in my head. My words weren't just coming out of nowhere. They were coming up with what I had already stored up in my head and my thoughts about you.

And so then they just flowed out. And so I was on this mission like, Lord, help me first of all, just to stop before I speak and think through what I'm about to say. That's a good practice.

But even that takes self-control. And so you'll remember this and we've shared this before in our book, Vertical Marriage. But I had said, you came home from a long day of preaching and you had been with the lions on the sideline, you were exhausted and you were complaining that you'd been getting critique about your message and preaching. And so you're like, man, I'm getting all these critiques and people seem to not like my preaching right now. And you were kind of going on and I almost said this. It was right on the tip of my tongue and I almost said, well, if you would just spend more time in the word, your messages would probably be way better. But I didn't.

I never heard that. I didn't say that, which think about this, you guys, what would that have been like? If I would have said that to you, you would have been devastated. This was at 11 o'clock at night, by the way. Yeah.

Yeah. And I pray, as soon as you say that, I'm like, Lord, should I say that? And the answer is no, you should not say that. And so then my next question is, Lord, should I say anything?

Because even sometimes it's better to say nothing than something bad. So Lord, should I say anything? And this thought popped into my head and I said to you, man, I can't imagine what it's like for you. You have the weight of thousands of people's spiritual lives in your hand and you feel responsible for so many of us.

That's a heavy burden to carry. Yeah. I remember you saying that and I remember I just pulled you close and said, you are my life.

Yeah. And again, in that moment, I didn't realize you were speaking words of life, but I do remember feeling like you're my partner. You understand, you believe in me, you trust me.

Again, I'm looking back at what Solomon said. You spoke powerful words of life that the only feeling I had in that moment was, you're my life. I can't go through life without you. When you pulled me to yourself and you just whispered that in my ear, you are my life. I mean, I was teary that night because I thought, what if I would have said the other thing? That would have devastated you and it would have created a chasm between us. And so I thought, oh, it made me realize I have so much power.

I need to be careful and wield it carefully. And here's the amazing thing. What was the result? The next day and the next week, I'm in the word studying to preach better and you never said that. But because you spoke life, it was motivating to me to say, I want to step up and be better. That's what life words do.

They motivate, they encourage, they lift up. And so here's a truth for every couple. Write this down. Seriously, write this down. If you're in your car. Yeah, wherever.

Put it in your phone. I don't care where you put it, but this is just a simple truth based on the power of our tongue in our relationships and in our marriage. And it's just this simple truth. Happy or healthy couples choose to speak life to their spouse.

Okay. Healthy or happy couples choose to speak life to their spouse. Now I got to tell you something, this idea of a healthy or happy couple comes from a book by Shanti Feldhahn called The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages. We love Shanti.

Oh yeah. She's great. And she and her husband, Jeff, and they studied marriages and they said, we want to find the best of the best marriages and find out what habits they have. And by the way, you can get this book at

The Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages, just go get it right now. It's fascinating. One of them is about the power of the tongue and how couples that are really happy and healthy choose to speak life, not death, speak life to their spouse. Again, I'm not saying every second of every day is a life word, but man, like Ann said, you got to stop often and sort of zip your lip and say, I'm not going to speak this death word. I'm going to speak life. And I really believe it comes out of Ephesians 4 29 where Paul wrote this very interesting verse. He says, do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth. Okay, just that right there. Like if we live that out, it would change our homes. Yeah.

It's really interesting. The word unwholesome means rotting or spoiled fish. So he's basically don't let any rotting or spoiled fish talk come out of your mouth. But then he says this, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs that it may benefit those who listen, which is crazy. It's like, don't let foul, profane, worthless, vulgar words ever come out of your mouth.

And again, it's a choice. I can remember being in the Lions locker room and in 33 seasons I went through a lot of coaches because we would lose and lose and they'd fire coach and bring in a new one. And I heard some foul, profane, vulgar words every day in that locker room from players and coaches. And I remember one coach could barely get through a sentence without dropping profanity. And the funny thing is he would look over at me every time because he felt so bad.

Like the chaplains right there is like, Jesus is in the locker room and he just felt so bad. And then you had some time with his wife. I happened to be with his wife one day and she was awesome. And so was this coach was awesome.

We loved both of them. But she was saying, you know, I just feel so bad that some of these coaches, their language is so foul and they're just using in front of all these players all the time. I'm so glad that my husband doesn't talk like that. Now you had just come home and told me that he does.

And I didn't say anything, but I thought, oh, that's so interesting that he talks like that at work, but at home he isn't. He chose. So he's choosing. Making a choice. Yeah. And it shows we can choose how we speak, whether it's profanity or slander or gossip or speaking life or death in our home.

And again, happy or healthy couples, they make a choice. I'm going to speak life. Now here's the question, because everybody's, you know, this would cause a person to say, okay, so I never speak hard words or truth words. Yeah.

That would bother me right now. As a listener, I'm thinking, oh, okay. So I'm like, Pollyanna, you're awesome, and you're just saying that all the time.

No, we do speak words of truth, but the key is the way we package them is really important because we can deliver the same message in a way that can be received or rejected. Because I've done all of that, I've come at you with like, you need to do this and you're failing at this. But if I come to you and say, hey, I've really been praying through this, I want to talk about an important thing that's on my heart. The way I usually say it is if I package it, I'm praying like, Lord, how should I say this? What should I say? When should I say it? How should I say it? Like those are all really important things and you don't have to do it all at once.

I'm one of those people. I want to say it right now, right here. And to use self-control is no, no, I'm going to wait a little bit. I'm going to pray. I'm not going to bombard you when you walk in the door.

So all those things are really important. And if the only thing that your spouse is hearing is death words or critique or demeaning. Well, here's the thing, if that's all they're hearing and then you try to speak the truth in love, Ephesians 4, 15 says, speak the truth in love, they're probably not going to respond because that's all they hear. But if you are depositing life words, positive words, encouraging words, lifting up words a lot more than negative, I mean, many studies say it takes five positive words to counteract one negative. Right. So here's the thing. If you're depositing positive life words and then you have to speak the truth in love, a hard truth, are they going to receive it better? Yes.

Yeah. Cause they're feeling like you're bringing life most of the time and then you speak a hard truth. Well, I like to what we said, we're getting rid of words that one demean that really when you say a demeaning word would be words that are saying you don't really matter. And then words that are degrading and what you're saying by degrading words is you don't really measure up. And then disrespectful words, that's communicating you aren't worthy of my respect. And all of us are worthy because we're image bearers of God.

Yeah. When you go back to that verse, you speak words that are helpful, Paul said, for building others up according to their needs that it may benefit those who listen. And I love the construction site words. It's like a building and you build, you construct to build things up. So when you're done with a conversation or you walk out of the family room, what are they feeling? Are they feeling torn down or are they feeling build up?

Oh, see, this is good. Like to think that our words are construction site. So I'm thinking about that first, like with our kids, are my words building something great in them?

I think about you, have my words been tearing things down or are they building up that construction site? And all I got to say is, I don't know what year it was, but you went from speaking death words to me quite often to speaking life. And it wasn't like I all of a sudden was an amazing, better husband. You just stopped critiquing. You stopped being my mom. You stopped complaining. And again, it wasn't like I was so good that you didn't need to do it anymore, but you started believing in me.

I don't know what happened. You started speaking life and it motivated me to become the man you said I was, that I wasn't yet, but I wanted to be because you kept saying I was, I mean, you were saying you're a good man. You are, you are a good father. You are a good spiritual leader.

And I remember thinking, no, I'm not, you've never said that before. You've always said sort of the opposite, but, and again, there it was, you know, Proverbs 18, 21 speak life and you started speaking life and it motivated me. I think it motivates everybody, not just me or just men.

It motivates anybody when you believe in them and you speak life to them, they rise up to become the man or woman you're saying they are with those words. Well, it's funny that you say that because I've had so many women come up to me and say, I really don't see anything good in them to talk about. And they're really serious. Like there's nothing good.

I can't find anything good. And I say, but you married them. So you must have seen something that was great in them.

So go back to that. And the thing that I did was, first of all, I went before God in repentance, like, Lord, you've given me Dave as this incredible gift and all I've done with this gift is critique it and tear it down and tear you down. And so my prayer was, Lord, I repent of that. Give me new eyes. Like give me eyes to see the greatness that you put in Dave. And so I started even journaling and writing down things that were great that I saw in you. And there's so many.

Oh, there's so many. But for some reason, we point out the negative things to share instead of the great things that we see. And you were thinking by pointing that out, what?

What do you mean? You were thinking by pointing out the negative. Oh, that I'm going to change you. I thought you're going to be so motivated. I'm going to motivate you with all these negative things and you'll think, I don't want to be like that.

I want to be like this. Did that help? No, it didn't work.

I mean, it really didn't work. I mean, I remember, and again, this was 20 some years ago, but I remember I didn't want to come home. And it wasn't always a conscious thought, but it was like, man, I'm at work. I'm at the office and people are speaking life.

They're saying I'm good at what I do. And I didn't even realize it, but you want to be there. You want to be around people that are patting you on the back and believing in you. That's so depressing.

I mean, it wasn't that I literally was in the car like, oh no, I got to go home and she's going to yell at me. But you know, your spirit is lifted up in one place and torn down in another. And guess where you're going to spend time?

You're going to go to where people believe in you and build you up. And you weren't as bad with your words toward me as much as your non-verbals. Oh, great. Here now, let's talk about me. But it was the rolling of the eyes.

It was the tone of voice, the harshness. I remember saying to you one time, you know, I'm not dumb. I'm not stupid.

You don't have to talk to me like I know nothing. Do you remember that conversation? Well, lots. That happened a lot, actually.

Yeah. And honestly, posture, looks, rolling of eyes are death words. You're maybe not using any actual words, but you're communicating death. And the opposite is true, too.

When you believe and look and speak words of life, again, it builds up. So we were both doing it. We were using more words than I was, but we were both sort of communicating death.

And again, 20-some years ago, that flipped. And again, it wasn't because we're an amazing husband and wife now. It was like, no, we're going to choose to see the best and speak the best out. And it changed our marriage. I think it changed the aroma or environment of our home because we were going to do that not just with each other, but then to the boys as well.

Oh, yeah. And when we changed that with our sons, they had the same response, like, I want to be home because my parents are going to see the greatness in me. And it's not that we weren't critiquing. It's not that we weren't speaking truth to one another or to our kids. I really want you to hear us on this, that we really did have some really hard talks, but they really were more bathed in prayer. And I think the reason it started to shift mainly is because we both came before God. We got on our knees. We prayed like, Lord, I can't change this in and of myself. It was a repentance that I've been doing this wrong. And you can see the result.

And our hope was always to build a home that's a magnet that our spouse would want to run home to, that our kids would want to run home to, that they'd want to bring their friends to. And a lot of that is in the power of the tongue. It's that powerful. And then I had to, I was not only asking God to help me, but I had to come and apologize to you so often. And I'm terrible at apologizing.

That's a pride thing for me. Like to remember the beginning, I'd never apologize. Like now, like I have to apologize.

I was wrong and I hurt you and I'm sorry. We need to speak those words more often to our spouse. I love Proverbs 15 for it says, a gentle tongue is a tree of life.

Think about that. They're like those life and death words, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit. Like that's kind of interesting right there that it breaks the spirit. Also Proverbs 13, three, whoever guards his mouth preserves his life. He who opens wide his lips comes to ruin. And then we've used this verse so many times in Proverbs 15, one, a soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Those are some good ones.

Yeah, and I would just say the application is simple. Guard your tongue. Realize how powerful your words are in your family and your marriage. And I'm telling you, if you're listening today and you're like, man, I've been, I've been speaking death. I would say, get on your knees and repent and say, God, you've got to help me.

Cause here's, here's the final thought. Your words are an overflow of your heart. Jesus said, your words are connected to your heart. And so you can't change your words by saying, I'm just going to change my words or my tongue. You have to say, God, you got to change my heart. If you don't transform my heart, it won't have any effect. But if you do, yes, I will begin to speak out of my heart life words, see her, see him the way God sees them and begin to speak life to your spouse, to your kids.

I'm telling you, it will change the entire climate of your marriage and of your home. And that power is in your hands. So I challenge you today, get on your knees and ask God to change your heart. And as he changes your heart, he will change your words. Well, that's a great reminder today from Dave and Ann Wilson that we are to let no corrupting talk come out of our mouths. That's what Ephesians four says, only such as is good for building up as fits the occasion. And that gives grace to all who hear. There is power in your speech, power in the tongue, destructive power or constructive power.

And as Dave just said, it's up to us to decide how that power is going to be used. This is one of the themes that Dave and Ann address in their book, Vertical Marriage and the companion video series. Both the book and the video series are available in our Family Life Today Resource Center. You can go to our website, to order a copy of either the book or the video series.

The video series is great for small group interaction. Again, the website is You can also request these resources by calling us at 1-800-FL-TODAY. That's 1-800-358-6329, 1-800-F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today. Let me say a quick word today on behalf of all of us to those of you who have made today's program possible. Most of you know, Family Life Today is listener supported and for those of you who are regular listeners but have never supported this ministry, we need to take a minute and just say thanks to your friends who have made this program possible for us today. Those of you who donate to support the ongoing work of Family Life Today. If you are a long time listener but you've never given to support the ministry, you can make Family Life Today possible for others in your community and all around the world. Your investment in this ministry helps take the kind of practical, biblical help and hope you've received and spreads it to others every day, all around the world. So let me challenge you as a long time listener. Consider making a donation today to support the ongoing ministry of Family Life Today.

It's easy to do. You can donate online at or donate by calling 1-800-FL-TODAY. We look forward to hearing from you and we appreciate your investment in the lives of other people as you support the work of Family Life Today. And we hope you can join us again tomorrow when Dave and Anne will continue talking about how important our words are and how negative things we hear and negative things we say can leave wounds, leave scars on our soul.

It's so important that we guard our tongues. We'll hear more about that tomorrow. We want to thank our entire broadcast production team today. On behalf of our hosts, Dave and Anne Wilson, I'm Bob Lapeen. Join us back tomorrow for another edition of Family Life Today. Family Life Today is a production of Family Life, a crew ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-09 23:14:13 / 2023-11-09 23:25:36 / 11

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