Boy, did I need the super power of biting my tongue last night. I was extremely tired. I was extremely frustrated. I was on the verge of unleashing a torrent of choice words on my husband–the innocent party in the midst of my storm of craziness. Super power to the rescue, please! I bit my tongue. I know it’s not as exciting as flying over buildings, smashing things with a giant anvil, or invisibility, but let me tell you, it can be just as powerful.
You see, when we bite our tongue, or hold our tongue, and refrain from saying hurtful, in the moment things to our husband, we are protecting our marriage. So the next time you feel your anger mounting, bite your tongue! Then, make sure you’re not wasting your breath or your words on things not worth fighting about in your marriage.
1. Consider the things that perhaps he hasn’t said.
Because women are more verbal, we often interpret our husband’s silence as ambivalence or contentment. Not so, say some men. You may simply be suffering from Superior Wife Syndrome, or the assumption that you’ve got it all together on your end. Often, our husbands have purposefully left unsaid that we really haven’t cooked that much lately, or that we’ve overspent this month’s budget out of graciousness, or a desire to keep the peace. So if he can do it from time to time with the things that bug him, why can’t you?
2. Consider the time and place.
Even if your frustration is one that must be dealt with eventually, here and now isn’t always appropriate. Sit on your feelings long enough to get clarity on what you really want to say to make things better, rather than blurting out how you feel in a sloppy, self-indulgent way. Then choose a moment when you can talk privately about what’s on your mind.
3. Ask, “Is this a hill to die on?”
In parenting, we often ignore less significant problems with our children so that their energy—and ours—can be invested first in the most critical issues. In your marriage, you only have so much relationship “capital” to spend before you max out your husband’s ability to take you seriously and respond. Choose wisely how you spend it.
4. Remember that other ears are listening.
If we’re trying to teach our children to live with a gracious and forgiving spirit, we must model it. Your marriage is the main relationship to which they have a front-row seat. Show them that it is possible to control your own emotions and choose kinder words.
5. Consider that you may not have all the facts.
The Greek philosopher Diogenes famously noted that, “We have two ears and one tongue so that we would listen more and talk less.” Have you really listened? If your husband failed to do something you asked, do you know why? Have you asked? When we fail to listen, we begin to assume, and you know how well that works out…
6. Complaining or Constructing?
If the words that are dying to come out of your mouth are purely complaining or condemning—stop now. However, if you have a constructive suggestion or a request that might make your relationship better, that’s the kind of talk that might produce a good end. Even with your constructive talk, remember that this is your husband and not your child and choose your words and tone accordingly.
7. If it brings you pleasure to criticize, you’re always wrong.
If addressing a problem or shortcoming in your marriage pains you because you love your husband and want things to be good between you, you’re probably in the right “heart place” to deal with it correctly. If it brings you any kind of joy or pleasure to put a spotlight on his faults, deal with your own bad attitude before even thinking of talking it out with him.