I love road trips. Especially road trips with super fun people like my husband, Zack, and my awesome siblings. Several weeks ago I ventured with those people on a road trip to my 3rd favorite state, Colorado (Texas and Alaska ranking higher, respectively).
The entire trip was great until the last leg on the way back home. Zack brought up a topic that instantly sparked some heated discussion between the five of us.
As the conversation progressed, sides began to form, leaving it 3 against 2. I ended up agreeing and siding with one other person (and it wasn’t Zack) as we unashamedly voiced our opinions. The conversation wasn’t ugly or mean, we just couldn’t seem to agree with the other side. Of course, I thought my view was better and I went way overboard on voicing that opinion.
We agreed to disagree.
The conversation finally ended with a mutual “we agree to disagree” kind of acknowledgment. Thankfully, my marriage is still intact and no sibling relationships were damaged that day.
Several days later, once we were home from the trip, Zack and I had a good heart-to-heart about that same conversation. As he shared his thoughts with me, my eyes were slowly opened to a very large blind spot in my life. Me… a blind spot – no way!
I carefully thought back on the entire road trip and realized that Zack was right in what he was saying.
It was a humbling moment for me.
My “blind spot discovery” isn’t something unusual or out of the ordinary. In fact, it’s so common that most people don’t even realize they have the problem, but it can do great damage to any relationship.
What is it? Simply this: Speaking critical words and having too many opinions.
Up until that point I viewed myself as an encouraging and positive kind of person. And I am – to most people. Sadly, the one person I love the most takes the brunt of my opinions and critiques. I’m not talking about voicing an opinion here and there about something important.
That wouldn’t be a problem.
I’m talking about constantly voicing an opinion about teeny-tiny little things that don’t really matter in the grand scheme of life. That is a problem.
The Holy Spirit began convicting me about the quantity and quality of the words coming out of my mouth. After doing some serious praying and heart searching, I came to the shocking conclusion that 80% of my “opinions and critiques” are completely unnecessary to say. That meant that 8 out of the 10 times I gave an opinion, it would have been better to keep those words in.
The next day I was talking to my dad and decided to spring a random question on him. I asked him what he thought was one of the most harmful things a wife could do to her marriage? His answer astounded me. He said, “The worst thing a wife can do in a marriage is to have a critical and opinionated spirit towards her husband.”
Did he read my mind?!
He had no idea about my personal discovery. I couldn’t believe it! If God was trying to get my attention, He just did.
I‘m sharing this story with you because I have a feeling I’m not the only girl who struggles with this problem.
Whether you’re a girl who talks a lot or not, I’m guessing you let things fly out of your mouth that would have been better left in. Girls, let me tell you – if you don’t zero in on this problem now, it’ll rear its ugly head even more when you get married. Trust me, it doesn’t go away.
As a single girl, you have the opportunity to practice guarding your mouth now and avoid becoming a critical wife someday. Imagine what a blessing it will be to your future husband to be married to a girl who understands the value of this!
A message from your future husband.
I want to leave you with four practical tips on what you can do now to become the woman of your future husband’s dreams. If your future husband could send you a message today, these 4 tips would probably be high on his list:
1. Choose quality words over quantity words. Less talking is usually better. “When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, But he who restrains his lips is wise” (Proverbs 10:19).
2. Speak encouraging words. Practice now. Tell your parents, siblings, or friends something encouraging everyday.
3. Develop a grateful heart. A grateful person doesn’t have time to be critical. When you’re tempted to say something critical – stop – and choose to say a word of gratitude instead.
4. Memorize Scripture and pray. This verse is a great place to start, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29).
Becoming an encouraging girl won’t happen by default. You have to work at it everyday.
Trust me! As a married girl I’m telling you – this is huge for the happiness of your future marriage. Your future husband will be so blessed to have a wife who knows the power and impact of her words. Start practicing these valuable skills today.
Do you view yourself as a critical girl or an encouraging girl? What does your family view you as?
Other than the four tips from above, do you have any other ideas on how to develop a less critical and more encouraging spirit?
Photo credit: www.flickr.com | Vancity Allie