Controlling the Tongue - the Key to Communication

Communication is a very intricate part of the marriage relationship, the core of every kind of relationship. Not limited to the words we speak, we express ourselves in our body language, our facial expressions, and our actions.

Every facet of a marital relationship involves communication of our feelings and thoughts in one way or another. Communication is the key factor to a successful marriage. When used improperly, a relationship is likely to fail.


James 3:3-6 “When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.”

Controlling your tongue is the most serious investment you can make in your marriage and your life. It determines your destiny and the success of your marriage. It causes amazing changes in all your relationships. If your marriage is failing, controlling your tongue can save it.

Your words control every aspect of your existence. What you say sets the course for your life. Using your tongue wisely and positively reaps blessings and benefits in your life, and most importantly, in your marriage.

Proverbs 12:18 says, “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” This verse gives a lot of power to something as simple as a word and as small as the tongue. Most of us, unfortunately, are oblivious to that power.

After all, weren’t we told as children “sticks and stones may break your bones but words (names) will never hurt you”? We live in a society that encourages us to say whatever we want. No wonder we throw our words carelessly about, unaware of the havoc that can be wreaked on other individuals with one thoughtless slip of the tongue.

We learn the basics of communication from our parents. Many of us come from a background of dysfunctional communication. Words were intentionally used as weapons. Constant criticism and belittling will debilitate a person’s ego. Screaming and thrashing around obscenities can cause even the strongest person to wilt into a corner.

Often times, the lack of words pierces as deeply as the harsh ones spoken. Never hearing those three precious words, “I love you” causes profound emotional scarring. Limited interaction or meaningful conversation with a parent can cause serious esteem problems. When discouraged from voicing ones opinions or concerns, the problems build up inside, later causing health and emotional issues.

Proverbs 15:1 says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” How quickly a friendly conversation can turn into a fight.

Have you ever found yourself at the end of hurtful words wondering how it happened? Especially if you are the one who started those words. Many of us do not think about the words we verbalize. Conversation can easily turn into conflict if the tongue is not controlled. Once the harsh words are out, there is no taking them back. The damage is done. Damage that can last a lifetime.

Your tone of voice can also turn innocent words into objects of offense. When my son was young, we would often “butt heads” with one another because we are very much alike. I would try to choose my words carefully, but my tone of voice relayed a different message. He reacted to my tone of voice as I would his. I had to learn to not only control my words but the tone in my voice, too.

Luke 6:45 - “Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.”

If you struggle with controlling your tongue, you may want to do a ‘heart check.’ What is in your heart? The first part of this verse says, “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart.” Many times, hurt from your past stirs up dissention in your heart if you have never dealt with it or given it over to God.


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