Holding the Tongue

His irritation was evident even from the other room. The cable guy had come without calling first, and since we were in the middle of cleaning the house, and most of us still in our pajamas, Scott had counted on the “heads up” call to give us ample time to become presentable. That didn’t happen, and I could tell he was not a happy customer. He greeted the cable guy at the door, mentioned that we had not received the promised phone call, and invited him in so he could do his job. For Scott, that was that. For me, the dominoes had begun to fall, and there was no stopping them. I did have the presence of mind to pay attention to what was happening within me so that I could maintain control of my tongue and not enter into a conflict unnecessarily.

“Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.” – James 1:26

I teach on this regularly, mostly because it is a reminder that I need regularly. Often I can quickly jump on the bandwagon of my assessment of someone else’s motives. Today, my assessment was that my husband was being unreasonable in his irritation, and that it might make the other person uncomfortable. After all, no one likes being reprimanded before the job has even started. From there, I went to embarrassment, and then I went to the worst feeling in the domino effect, the urge to rebuke my husband and to console the cable guy. Now, before anyone burns me at the stake for being disrespectful to my husband, understand that I didn’t act on any of the emotions I was experiencing. I was aware of where they were going, but I remained a spectator.

While paying close attention to my own feelings, I was watching Scott’s demeanor. He was cracking jokes, playing around with the kids, asking how he could help me with the cleaning, and overall in a chipper mood. To be honest, that irritated me more since I was still firmly experiencing the fallout of his momentary flash of irritation. But still, I stayed silent.

“The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” – Proverbs 14:1

This whole time; while struggling to not blurt out an accusation; I was having a conversation with God. I was asking Him to show me truth, to help me see what my own assumptions were blinding me from. I kept getting the thought “the two become one flesh”. To be perfectly honest, that confounded me and I felt fairly inept. How does that make any sense in this situation? Something I have learned is to follow where God leads me, even if it doesn’t make sense. So, I approached Scott to talk about what had happened, asking for the opportunity to see the sequence of events through each others eyes. From his point of view, he gave a correction to someone for not being professional, and left the irritation at the door when he made the statement. End of story. There was absolutely nothing else of that event that lingered for him, with the exception of having to endure my viewpoint that would keep that moment in time memorialized for a least another 30 minutes. As I shared what I experienced, he was shocked. He patiently listened to what I said, but really couldn’t relate to how his simple correction of the cable guy led me down the road it did.

We talked about the possibility of that being the residual affects of past events. It could have been, but I don’t think so. I believe that it really came down to having vastly different viewpoints, different motivating factors, and different chromosomes. Basically, what we see, how we react and why are different. Yes, that’s pretty common in marriages. What is also common is the desire (mostly from women) to make their spouse change and become a clone of themselves. But that is not what God intended. We are not with the person who is like us, we’re with the person who is supposed to complete us … to make us whole … to make us one.

The correction offered this morning wasn’t offensive to the cable guy, he had many conversations with Scott during the time he was at our home, and none of them seemed tense. They were actually the opposite. They spoke a similar language, and didn’t hold onto animosity. That’s not a part of Scott to rebuke or try to work on so that he can grow. My role as his wife is not to change him, it’s to support the changes that he is being led to by the Holy Spirit. I don’t pick those, God does. And He’s done a really good job so far, so there really is no need for me to be an arm chair quarterback. I respect that we don’t respond to situations exactly the same. I appreciate the opportunities I am given to yield to his lead. I am honored that God has chosen me to be the piece of the puzzle that completes him. We’re not meant to be the same, we’re meant to balance and compliment one another. We are meant to become one.

“But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” – Mark 10:6-9

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