Summary: Using our words carefully while dealing with conflict in marriage.

Becoming One Flesh

Part 3, How to Fight Effectively.

Proverbs, various.


There were three guys talking in the pub. Two of them are talking about the amount of control they have over their wives, while the third remains quiet.

After a while one of the first two turns to the third and says, "Well, what about you, what sort of control do you have over your wife?"

The third fellow says "I’ll tell you. Just the other night my wife came to me on her hands and knees."

The first two guys were amazed. "What happened then?" they asked.

"She said, ’get out from under the bed and fight like a man’."

Every married couple has disagreements. You cannot be married to someone

and not disagree. You cannot be married to someone and not hurt their feelings with

your words at one point or another. It simply can’t be done.

Words have power in them. It is amazing the power words have. They have

the power to lift people out of anxiety, to make them feel guilty because of their sin,

to destroy trust and to build resentment.

Words in marriage are even more powerful. When we use words in a harmful

manner a wall of resentment and anger is built between us and our mates. That wall

inhibits us from expressing our feelings for our mate and it ruins the sense of closeness

and trust we have in that person.

The Bible has much to say about words and how they are used.

James, Jesus brother, wrote: "The tongue is an uncontrolable evil set on fire

by hell."

Pretty graphic words.

God commands that we control our tongues in our relationships with people.

I want to talk about the use of our tongues within mariage but these principles apply

to all of our relationships. The scriptures I am going to use are from Proverbs, turn

there if you will, and they were not necessarily written for marriage but for all of our


I am going to apply them to marriage today but these principles apply to

every relationship we have.


A godly tongue: overlooks an insult, give a gentle answer, and seeks to build

up and not destroy.

I. Proverbs 12:16, "A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an


A. Insults are deadly to a marriage or any other relationship.



Backhanded compliments.

B. We shouldn’t use them.

1. It’s tempting, it’s so tempting to use insults to get back at our mate

when they make us angry.

2. When we get angry one of our first impulses is to strike out and defend


a. We don’t want to be hurt.

b. We don’t want someone to have one up on us in an argument.

3. We cannot live with our mates if we are consistently wounding them

with what we say.

a. Every time we direct an insult toward someone, especially our

mate, we sever a part of the emotional cord which binds

us together.

b. Using insults within marriage destroys trust, alienates, and

ruins our ability to communicate effectively.

C. We should ignore insults or respond to them without being vicious.

1. Ignore the insult.

b. It has no power to hurt if you don’t let it.

c. When we choose to respond to an insult with an insult it makes

us equal with the person doing the insulting.

d. We are called by God to be more mature than that.

2. Respond gently if a response is needed.

a. Say, "I’m really less inclined to listen to you when you use

those kind of insults."

b. We can express our displeasure without resorting to retaliation.

3. Understand why the insult was made.

a. What they say is designed to hurt you because they have

been hurt.

b. Why have they resorted to using an insult?

i. Did you insult him first?

ii. Did you hurt her feelings?

iii. Weren’t you really listening to her when she was trying

to explain something?

iv. Did you refuse to understand his point of view?

c. Sometimes insults are used because we have wounded our

mate in some way. A wise husband or wife ignores the

insult and tries to understand the underlying issue.

TRANSITION: The second guidline God gives us regarding our tongues is related to

the first. It is found in Proverbs 15:1. Not only are we to ignore an insult, we are to

respond to anger with gentleness.

II. Proverbs 15:1, "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."

A. Our mates are not enemies to be defended against.

1. We can be very defensive with our mates.

2. We have to be careful with our words when they are angry or we

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