“The wise in heart will be called discerning, and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness.” Proverbs 16:21
In the marriage relationship, both partners do not always agree on how to proceed in a given situation. When this happens, several negative things can happen:
* Nagging. Wear the other person down – eventually, they’ll give in.
* Dictating. Get on your power pedestal and decree “This is how it’s going to be!”
* Complaining. Even if you don’t get your way, you’ll get even – because everybody around you will know exactly how you’ve been wronged.
* Punishing. Use the silent treatment or hold some other equally deadly weapon over the other person’s head until they capitulate.
All of the above are foolish, ungodly, and ultimately unproductive. Instead, consider Solomon’s alternative in the art of persuasion: sweetness of speech.
Sweetness of speech. Not the saccharine sweetness that sours on the tongue, but real sweetness, such as:
* Using reason to present your point instead of volume.
* Seeking to understand your partner’s viewpoint.
* Respecting your partner at all times.
* Being willing to engage in positive give-and-take.
* Valuing the relationship and seeking your mutual good.
Will sweetness of speech always result in persuasion to your point of view? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. But it will always result in the strengthening of your marriage bond. And that should be the ultimate goal from anyone’s point of view!
* How do you approach differences of opinion or conflict? Why?
* Is your approach in line with Scripture – demonstrating love and respect for the other person in thought, word, attitude, and action?
* If your approach is not in line with Scripture, what steps will you take to effect positive change?