Learning how to speak well of your spouse is vital to your relationship. Speaking well of others, especially your spouse also matters to the health of your small group.
When Tiffany and I were first married we regularly attended young married events that were similar to a small group environment. The events typically started off relaxed with everyone just hanging out. Later in the evening a teaching would be presented followed by group discussion.
I’ll never forget the time when a couple was sharing and the husband called his wife a bonehead. The conversation came to a brief halt and even worse the wife shut down. Who could blame her? I’m sure that if we would have been able to see what people were thinking it would have been, “Did he really just say that?!”
Everyone there witnessed firsthand that “Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.”
The health of your relationships will directly affect your influence as a leader. This will hold true and have power to impact positively or negatively depending on the condition of your relationships.
In order for members of small groups to be authentic, they must know that what they have discussed will not be shared as gossip. And, members of the group will display honor by not saying anything that will embarrass or put down their spouse or other members.
Below are ways to promote health within your relationships and to be a model to those you lead through the words that you share.
Here are three ways to always speak well of your spouse:
Always Choose Words That Honor Each Other
Esteem your wife. A husband should always hold his wife in high regard.
Husbands esteem your wife in word & action, even in public. This communicates honor to her & others. Tweet That
1 Peter 3:7 Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.
Husbands thrive on respect. Wives ask, “Am I communicating respect in word & action?” Tweet That
Ephesians 5:33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
Michael Hyatt puts it this way, It pays to be positive. Notice the good things and affirm them. Call them out. Acknowledging your spouse is huge in terms of reinforcing the behavior and getting more of what you like.
Do you want more honor, more respect? Decide to talk honorably about each other first.
Agree Beforehand What You Are Willing to Discuss
Again, this applies more specifically to marriage but it is also applicable to other relationships.
Trust takes time to build but can be broken in an instant. Even though small group environments are meant to inspire openness, there are times where some things are better kept reserved, at least for a time.
One way to safeguard against sharing to much is by first expressing to one another how much you want said, if anything at all. And, also asking if it is ok to share about details or circumstances.
Be Aware of Your Motives
At least consider two things when it comes to sharing information if you want to speak well of your spouse:
Is what I’m sharing meant to make me look like the better person?
Am I sharing this to tear another person down?
Even though something may be true or took place it is not always helpful to share with others about it.
Will what you share embarrass or shame the one you talking about?
Gossip should have no place in our conversations, only that which is helpful and edifying. The Bible in multiple places condemns practicing gossip.
As a small group leader, spouse, friend, co-worker, neighbor, member of the body of Christ, etc. use your words to draw one another closer to God. Seek to apply this scripture to your:
Ephesians 4:29: Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
QUESTION: How have you seen the positive effects when you speak well of your spouse?
Leading a small group is challenging. That’s why I wrote Intentional Small Groups. This ebook is provides down to earth guidance for offering powerful, life changing groups. I created it specifically for group leaders after leading groups and directing a small group ministry. The book is based upon the questions and conversations that arose from real small group experiences and ministry.
This article originally appeared here.