Building Up Or Tearing Down?

Do 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

While sitting at Panera, waiting for a meeting to begin, I overheard the conversation between two middle-aged women at the table beside me. One of the women started ranting about her husband and how he wasn’t doing a chore around the house. “He doesn’t do this, he doesn’t do that. He realizes when I get to this point of frustration he better get those dishes done.”

The woman sitting across the table agreed with her friend, inevitably encouraging her to continue speaking poorly about her husband.

Oh, my heart hurt for that poor husband. I don’t know the husband. I don’t even know the women, but I could only imagine a marriage filled with tension and strife, irritation with each other building year after year.

That’s not how I want to live. That’s not what I want people to notice about me.

Does my husband do things that annoy me? You bet. How about those socks strewn all across the house?

But my husband is a wonderful man. He’s intentional. He’s determined. He’s a great example to our daughters. He’s exactly who God designed him to be. He’s exactly who I need.

Have I been disrespectful to my husband? Absolutely. More than I would like to admit, and maybe that’s why the conversation between these friends hit me so deeply. I’ve been that way in the past.

When I’m out with my friends, I do not want people around us to think, “Wow, that poor husband.” No, I want other people to hear me telling my friends how he took the kids for the afternoon so I could have a break or how he did the dishes even though I know that’s his least favorite job. I want people to hear me say how I value his leadership in our relationship and household. I want to lift my husband up, not tear him down.

My challenge for myself is to watch how I speak about my husband when he’s not around and how I talk to my kids about their dad. Am I strengthening our marriage or causing it damage? Can other people see the value I have placed on my marriage, or do they wonder why we said “I do” in the first place?

He’s my best friend. He’s the father of my children. He’s God’s son. I will be an encouragement to him.

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