Proverbs 10:20 - The tongue of the righteous is choice silver, but the heart of the wicked is of little value.
At the core of a successful marriage is a couple who understands the value and power of words. Words can hurt or heal, they can encourage or discourage, and they can express love or hate. A wise husband or wife uses words that are valuable - like pure silver as Solomon says. In another proverb, he says, "A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver" (Proverbs 25:11). But if a mate uses words to hurt or control, those words are not only worthless, but also can damage the relationship.
Snapshots of Couples in the Bible
Proverbs 31 Women (Proverbs 31:10-31)
The unnamed woman in Proverbs 31 is a model for all women. Commontators believe that she wasn't actually one person, but a vision compiled by Solomon's mother for the kind of woman Solomon should seek. But God intended her as an example, rather than a source for comparison.
The Proverbs 31 woman is described as noble, hardworking, industrious, and energetic. She is a wife, mother, businesswoman, and community worker. She confidently goes about her tasks, yet doesn't neglect reaching out to the poor with help and encouragement. Her own clothing identifies her as someone who is self-assured and powerful in the community.
In biblical times, all fabrics had to be made from natural materials. Linen was woven from thread spun from the flax plant (see Illustration #^); wool, from sheep; silk, from worms, sackcloth, from goat hair, and cotton, from plants. The well-to-do wore clothing made from "fine" linens, whereas the poor wore fabric of a coarser quality.
In the description of this godly woman, her husband is the leader of the city. Solomon writes, "Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land" (Proverbs 31:23). Taking his place at the city gate indicates he had power and authority, for this is where governmental decisons were made (see Illustration #7). Because of his position she is also influential, and because she is highly respected in the community her husband in turn receives respect from others. Both husband and wife bring benefits to each other.
The Proverbs 31 Woman also possesses great emotional strength, which reflects her faith in God. Her husband praises her because "she brings him good, not harm, akll the days of her life" (Proverbs 31:12). Solomon writes of her, "She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue" (Proverbs 31:26).
Guidelines for Effective Communication
Proverbs 10:14 - Seek to understand rather than to be heard.
Proverbs 12:17 - Speak the truth.
Proverbs 12:18 - Guard what you say, being sensitive to others.
Proverbs 12:25 - Give encouragement through your words.
Proverbs 13:3 - Avoid saying the wrong thing.
Proverbs 13:14 - Encourage others to make wise choices.
Proverbs 15:23 - Speak that which is correct for the circumstances.
Proverbs 16:24 - Encourage and affirm to promote well-being.
Proverbs 28:5 - Pray first in order to listen for God's input.
When the guidelines in Proverbs are followed, wise husbands and wives will be aware of the power of their words and be sensitive to how their words are being received.
Kathy Collard Miller, D. Larry Miller & Larry Richards, PhD are the authors of the book I have reveiwed above.
Larry and Kathy, high school sweethearts, were married in 1970, expecting that with God at the center of their lives they would have that perfect marriage. Reality struck quickly, however, and over the next seven years little irritations grew into big issues. Then Kathy made a choice to love Larry whether or not he met her needs, and Larry noticed and was drawn back to her. They began sharing their story and writing about their experience. In the ensuing years, the Millers have written more than fifty books, spoken in thirty states, and brought their message to seven foreign countries.
About the General Editor - Dr. Larry Richards, is a native of Michigan who now lives in Raleigh, North Carolina. He was converted in the while in the Navy in the 1950s. Larry has taught and written Sunday school curriculum for every age group, from nursery through adult. He has published more than two hundred books, and his books have been translated into some twenty-six languages.