“You have to speak his language, honey,” I told my daughter. She perched tall, calm but confused, atop the gentle horse.
A dear friend and riding partner of mine has horses. Unfortunately, she also suffers greatly from rheumatoid arthritis, and is recovering from a recent surgery. I am so blessed to be able to ride. Right now, I’m starting lessons with my daughter, keeping the horse on the lead, running next to her as she learns the language of horses.
“Horses are prey animals,” I continued. “They really have no defense but to run, and if he doesn’t trust you, he’ll not listen to you, maybe even be afraid of you, so you have to communicate in his language, speak so he can easily hear you, communicating confidence and being a safe place for him, and then you’ll both enjoy each other’s time.”
As I listened to the words come out of my mouth, I realized they fit so very well with God’s advice to men and women who are married.
Not that men or women are animals to be trained, but rather, we are so different, we need to learn to speak each other’s languages.
Because God created women with relationship bonding hormones significantly greater than those He gave to men, I feel called to task women with taking those first steps – being the first to learn to speak a language her husband can understand.
In other words, why not speak so we can be more easily understood?
I believe we are uniquely gifted to do so…research oxytocin. J
So today’s dare ties in nicely with Proverbs 11:17 (check the whole chapter here), which says, “The merciful man does good for his own soul, but he who is cruel troubles his own flesh.”
Here it is: Dare you today to learn to speak the language of your husband (or wife, for you guys out there). Be merciful, doing good for your own soul, and don’t cruelly expect your spouse to figure out what you are saying. Yes, “cruel” is a strong word, but why would I speak French to a girlfriend who only spoke English? Wouldn’t that be cruel? Wouldn’t we both be frustrated when we couldn’t communicate? Human interactions are wrought with miscommunication…so expect difficulty especially since men and women are so different in how they communicate! Ideally, wives should learn the man’s language of respect, and husbands should learn a woman’s language of love.
One of the problems that is common to marriages in trouble is one spouse will communicate blame to the other for all or most of the problems. When this occurs, there’s often so much sin and blindness on that spouse’s part (the one doing the blaming), that it can literally doom any restorative actions taking place.
Know this: The choice to blame someone else is the sin of judgment.
We forget that conflict without judgment is actually an opportunity for intimacy.
Even if that other spouse IS seriously wrong, there needs to be encouragement towards them, otherwise they will give up. Judgment of someone’s efforts, no matter how small and imperfect destroy intimacy. We should all know very clearly by now that God says we will be judged by the measure we judge others by…pretty scary if you ask me…choose grace, choose mercy, and encourage your spouse if she or he is trying, even if it is a tiny bit, even if it falls desperately short…
Few opportunities give us the opportunity to model Christ than these…
Build trust in the smaller things, so that the bigger issues can eventually be addressed. Become a safe place for your spouse to TRY improving, even if she or he is lousy at it at first.
Doing otherwise is a recipe for divorce.
I wish that were not true, but these observations are based on God’s Truth, and what we’ve seen in real lives around the world.
If you haven’t read Emerson Eggerich’s Love & Respect yet, we highly recommend it. It’s a required book for Daughters of Sarah®, but it’s also a great read for a couple, as it is not gender specific. We also encourage husbands to take the Love Dare and wives to take the Respect Dare.
Ladies, I’m also double-dog daring you to sign up for Daughters of Sarah® at Faith Church in Milford, Ohio – we get started promptly at 9:15am and run to 10:30am on Sunday mornings, beginning January 29th. We don’t want to steal you from your home church, either, so please do your service before or after – but also know if you don’t have a church you call home, you are welcome at Faith. Right now, there are about 45-50 ladies signed up, all different ages and stages of life, including newlyweds and engageds, all the way up to empty nesters! We also have a few ladies who are separated from their husbands. If you are interested, we need to get the participant materials ordered for you, and you’ll need to grab some books at your local bookstore or the library, so please send an inquiry email to us at information(at)GreaterImpact.org. The class will run through April 29th. We are taping the class, because other churches want it, but none of your “stuff” gets video-ed. J
Thank you so much for being on the journey with us!
We can’t wait to see what God will do!
Love to you,