“Next Time…”

I came home one evening tired from work, hungry, and ready to unwind. Seeing the dining table set for dinner, I sat down as my wife served a plate-full of chicken cordon bleu on the table. It was delicious!

Already quite full and finishing up, my wife suddenly brought out another full plate of chicken.

Surprised, I asked “Are we expecting company?” She replied with a simple “nope”.

In all of my wisdom about food, I said “Honey, next time don’t cook so much… Left over fried food is not so good reheated.” She graciously took note and agreed.

A little while later, I was in the bedroom, sitting upright, relaxing, doing I forget what, while my wife gave our newborn, Sophia a bath. Then, she quickly turned her back from Sophia peeking outside of the bathroom door and said something to me very briefly. When she came out holding our baby wrapped in a towel, I welcomed her with a – “Honey, next time don’t take your eyes off the baby. It’s not safe.

She nodded and agreed.

Later that evening, while our baby was asleep in the middle of our bed, my wife stood up and went to the bathroom to pee.  She came out and was headed back to bed. However, not hearing a flush, I quickly dispensed more household wisdom, “Honey, next time please don’t forget to flush.

In the silhouette of the dark room, I saw her frown. I asked, “Is everything okay?” (Duh!) Upset but respectfully, she said, “I can’t seem to do anything right.

There may be truth in all that I said and my points may have been valid, but regretfully, I chose to highlight those which were wrong.

I could have said, “Honey, thank you for preparing food for us every day, and making sure we don’t get hungry.

I could have said, “Honey, thank you for giving Sophia a bath, even if I know you’re so tired, sleepless most nights, taking good care of her the whole day.

I could have said, “Honey, thank you for thinking of our baby, and not wanting her to wake up from the sound of the toilet flush.

I could’ve chosen to focus on what is good, and pleasing, and commendable, but sadly I did not.

Many times in our relationships, it seems more automatic and natural for us to focus on the bad rather than the good. We see the glass half empty rather than half full. We can be quick to judge or criticize, but skimp on compliments or appreciating others.

In our marriages and in any relationship, it would be best for us to heed the words of James, the brother of Jesus, and realize how our words have so much weight.

When carelessly uttered, it can cause much hurt and damage in our lives and of others. But when chosen carefully, “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” (Proverbs 16:24,)

The Apostle Paul, says in Ephesians 4:29, “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”

Imagine our marriages and families full of encouragement, full of appreciation, full of kind words, wouldn’t that be something? Let us ask God to help us always choose to be kind with our words.

Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips! (Psalm 141:3)

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