Mike and I often spend time with couples who banter back and forth with one another. It seems good-natured and humorous, until a critical comment stings. It’s evident when watching facial expressions and body language. It’s confirmed by a change in tone and a shift in mood.
Those are the moments when I think, “I’ve been there.” Words can wound, and I’ve certainly inflicted my share of injuries with a sharp tongue.
Years ago, while socializing with other couples, I’d jab and criticize my husband with jesting and sarcasm. But there was truth to my complaints. I knew it. Mike knew it too. Criticizing our spouses in social settings is a habit that many of us fall into.
The Lord began to show me how I was tearing my husband down with my words. I started to notice the look in his eyes when I’d jab. Or his defensive posture when I’d deliver a sarcastic remark. I suppose that’s why I’m so sensitive all these years later when I see it in others.
Build Others Up
The Bible teaches that we should not let “any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29, NIV).
I used to believe that meant that I shouldn’t swear or use foul language. But unwholesome talk also includes sharp words, coarse jesting, sarcasm, and critical remarks. I realized that by poking “fun” of my husband and tearing him down, I was behaving in opposition to this Biblical instruction.
I had a hard time breaking the habit at first, but as I began to conquer my tongue, we started to have a better experience in our social settings. They were more relaxed, with laughter and fun flowing freely. Our friends even seemed to sense a difference and soon I noticed that they weren’t jabbing each other as often, either. Our alone-time connection saw improvement, too. This one change in my behavior had an impact far beyond what I would have imagined.
That leads us to the second urgent reason to pray for our husband: Our prayers build him up. (Click here to read the first urgent reason).
Support Your Husband Through Prayer
Why is this urgent? Because the world tears us all down. We’re constantly comparing ourselves to others, measuring our abilities with unrealistic expectations. As wives, we are given the role and responsibility to show honor and respect to our husband. Building up at home is a noble calling we’re wise to not forsake.
When I pray for Mike, I thank the Lord for the countless blessings he brings to our family. I can share my heart—just between God and me—and express all the ways I see him reflecting Jesus in his life.
There has never been a time when I’ve mentioned to Mike that I prayed for him that he wasn’t genuinely grateful. And when I pray for him aloud while we’re together, he can see my respect for him in a new light. I would never say things to the Lord that I don’t mean with my whole heart. As I earnestly share with the Lord, my words do as Ephesians 4:29 instruct – they build him up according to his needs and benefit him as he listens.
Consider praying 1 Corinthians 1:4-9 which says, “ I always thank my God for you because of God’s grace given to you in Christ Jesus, that by Him you were enriched in everything—in all speech and all knowledge. In this way, the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you, so that you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you will be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful; you were called by Him into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord (HCSB).
Pray it like this:
Lord, I thank you for _____ (your husband’s name) and the grace he has in Christ. Enrich him, Father, in all he does so that he does not lack in any spiritual gift. Strengthen him in all things so that his way will be blameless. Help him see the fellowship he has with you and the calling you’ve placed on His life.
As you pray, watch with expectation at what the Lord will accomplish in your marriage.
If you have enjoyed this article, please consider sharing it on social media. You’re sure to encourage others—sharing is caring!
May God’s Word strengthen you today,