As I was praying this morning, I was taken back to a conversation my husband and I had last evening. It was not a good, productive conversation, mainly because my communication skills are lacking in some areas. Of course, I didn’t realize this until I was praying and the Lord showed me how I handled the conversation in a not so submissive manner. The word that popped into my head was “reacted”. I “reacted” to what he was saying instead of listening to what he was saying. The reason I reacted was because I had already figured out what I was going to do, and failed to communicate that to him. Once again, another lesson in letting my husband be the head and learning not to make plans without communicating them to him first.
I looked up the words react, reaction, reacted, in an online bible concordance. I was pretty sure I was not going to find these words, but thought I would give it a go anyway. Well, I was correct, these words are not written anywhere in the Bible. “Why?” I asked the Lord. His reply, “I don’t react to anything.” Our God does not react towards anything we say or do because He already knows what is going to take place. He is not taken aback by our words, our deeds, our thoughts, or anything else that might fly out of our mouths, because He has already seen and taken care of the situation. So how does this apply to our marriages?
The word react means to act in response to something, it also means to act in a reverse direction or manner, especially so as to return to a prior condition. When we react to anything in regards to our husbands, we are no longer walking in the spirit, but we have returned to the old man who once ruled our lives. For me, sometimes I speak without thinking and what started out as a good conversation with my husband has now turned into a baking soda meets vinegar explosion.
All I had to do was listen, and then wait for the Lord to show me what to say. But, I am the vinegar of our marriage; I have a tendency to react to his emotions instead of his words. He being the baking soda of our marriage, and me being the vinegar can make for some messy conversations. So how then do we learn to not react to our husbands, and to wait for the Lord to speak through us?
“Do not be rash with your mouth, and let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven and you on earth; therefore let your words be few.” Ecclesiastes 5:2
First, I think is it important to understand the concept of where you are on this earth. Solomon tells us that we should not be rash with our mouths. (Solomon is writing about how we approach worship, but I believe it applies to our marriages as well) When my husband speaks to me about a subject I have already planned and plotted out, or taken care of, I tend to become rash towards him. I let my mouth engage before my brain. When we react to anyone, or any situation, we have forgotten to engage the brain. We are on earth and God is in heaven. He has a bird’s eye view of all that is happening right in front of us. We are ever in His presence. When we speak hastily, without thinking, God sees this, and He desires that we do the opposite. Sometimes the best answer is to not speak at all.
“Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” Colossians 4:6
Secondly, the Lord speaks to us and tells us that when we are speaking and communicating with our husbands (or anyone else for that matter) we are to let our speech always be with grace. The word grace here is defined as “joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, and mercy”. How much better would our spouses be apt to communicate with us if our words to them were always with grace? How much better would our marriages be, period? When we react- that is when we speak hastily, harshly, or in a manner that our old man would have, we have poured our vinegar on their baking soda.
Paul also goes on to tell us that our speech should be seasoned with salt. The word seasoned means to make ready, easy to digest. When you are preparing dinner for your family, you use various seasonings to make it more palatable, more desirable for them to digest. You wouldn’t set a plate of raw meat that had begun to spoil in front of them and expect them to eat it. Our words and our speech to our husbands are no different. Salt is used as a symbol of lasting concord between fellow brothers and sisters. Our husbands are our brothers in the Lord. The way we speak to them is the same way we would speak to our brothers and sisters in the Lord. But too many times I react and use the vinegar to what is happening instead of applying the salt.
When you pour salt on baking soda nothing happens, there is no reaction. But when you mix the two together, you can use them for cleaning up tough stains, as a scouring agent, and as a working unit together they become useful for many things. When we react to what our husbands are saying or doing, we are pouring vinegar upon them and the situation will explode. But when we use the salt, our communication will flow, we will begin to become a cohesive unit that can cleanse one another, can work together to get the tough stains of life worked out. Salt and baking soda, when put together can tackle some pretty hard stuff. Isn’t that what we want for our marriages? Don’t we want to be a force for God together?
When we speak before thinking, we are reverting back to the old man who was full of vinegar. But when we listen, and do not speak hastily, the communication between each of us will be sweet and palatable to one another. I am tired of being vinegar; I just want to be salt. In Jesus Name, Amen and Amen.