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A good New Year resolution

Thursday, January 7, 2015: It is a gift of God’s grace that life goes in cycles. A new year is always an important time to reflect on how we have faired in keeping marriage, life’s most blessed relationship, in a healthy and God-glorifying condition.
There is no doubt that how you have faired in your marriage in the last one year will, to a large extent, depend on how you used your words. The words that escape our lips are potent weapons for construction or destruction. They can make or wreck a marriage.
It does not take a lot of trouble to produce words, but it can take the rest of your life to mop up the mess that your words would have produced. It is important, therefore, to make a New Year resolution that we will use our words to build our marriage.
When you go into courtship, you use words of love. You say something like, “I love you. I want to marry you. I want you to be my wife.” And you give a response in words like, “I love you, too. I also want to get married to you and to live with you for the rest of my life.”
Similarly, on your wedding day it is words of total life-long commitment that you use. You say, “I take you to be my lawful wedded wife/husband; to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer…, till death shall part us.”
Sadly after that, married people can be guilty of speaking very reckless words to each other, especially in moments of anger or depression. You hear words like, “I never even loved you in the first place. I just agreed to get married to you because of pressure.”
Or words like, “Leave my house. You can go wherever you want, I don’t care.” Or words like, “I am leaving you with your useless life. I am better off without you.” Such words hurt deeply. Long after the argument is finished they linger in the memory like a festering wound.
They cause a dangerous crack in the wall of marriage. The Bible says, “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing” (Proverbs 12:18-19). Ask yourself, are your words piercing like a sword or bringing healing to your marriage?
Many marriages have been reduced to a mere peaceful but tense co-existence because words spoken in haste have dealt a mortal wound to the love relationship. The tap of romance has dried up because of words that should have never escaped a spouse’s lips.
That is why the Bible says, “Do you see a man who speaks in haste? There is more hope for a fool than for him” (Proverbs 29:20). On the other hand, it says, “ A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered” (Proverbs 17:27).
Perhaps you know that you have spoken words that have sunk like a dagger into your spouse’s heart. Why don’t you use the start of this year to admit to God and to your spouse that you have sinned against him and against your spouse? Yes, you have sinned.
The Bible says, “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise” (Proverbs 10:19). Healing only begins once wrong is admitted. As long as you still justify yourself your marriage will continue on the downward spiral, killed by your own reckless words.
At the start of this year, resolve and pray to God that he will help you to use the words that made up the start of your courtship and marriage—words of love and life-long commitment. Determine never to utter words in your marriage that will hurt your spouse.
This will not be easy because we often use terrible words to each other in marriage when we are provoked and are angry. That is why we need the grace of God. So, do not only make a New Year resolution. Include prayer. Ask God, through Christ, to give you wisdom and grace.
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