Men, how do you talk about your wife? Do you praise her? If so, in what ways? Do you criticize or belittle her? When the opportunity arises to say something (publicly) about your wife, what comes out of your mouth: words that oppress or applaud her? What adjectives roll off your tongue concerning the one with whom you are in covenant?
This should go without saying, but I won’t take anything for granted. Never, ever belittle your wife with your words, either to her face, to your friends, or in public! If you have an honest, loving critique that needs to be addressed in private, that is different. But never use your words to cut down God’s daughter whom He has entrusted to your care–to nurture and love as Christ loves His Bride–His Church.
Physical attraction matters in marriage, but there is something that matters infinitely more. Don’t just praise your wife’s outer beauty: “My smoking hot wife” “My super-sexy wife” etc. That’s great, to an extent, although most women would rather be “beautiful” than “hot”. What in your wife are you wanting to encourage and nurture? Outer beauty that will fade (just as yours will or already has)? Or a soul that is growing in Christ-likeness? Yes, she needs to hear from you that you think she is beautiful, but do your compliments only focus on the physical?
Praise her godly character (and her beauty) to her face, to your friends when she is not around, and in public when she is with you. So long as you both have a proper understanding of God’s grace in her life that empowers these qualities, your praise will edify her and not make her prideful. It helps her know you love her and care about more than just her body. In the Bible women are praised for their godly character. Their appearance may be recognized, but their integrity is what is praised.
My wife and I have an agreement. We never really sat down and made the deal, it has just happened and we share it with each other. She never criticizes me in a group setting when she is with other women, no matter how much of a jerk I might have been that day or how angry she may be with me. Same goes for me in my groups. We each have a very small, trusted group of people with whom we share our frustrations from time to time. We know they will not gossip and trust that they will pray for both of us. In our culture this for sure takes Spirit-empowered self control…and a good deal of practice!
Sir, your words matter! No more so than to the person who loves you most on this earth. Use them well. Life and death are in the power of the tongue.