Innocent Comments Are Not Always Innocent

“Let me check with the boss,” said Cary to the TV salesman as he walked off to find his wife and return to the conversation with the salesman. He and Sherrie had been talking about getting a new TV. She was admiring the new set that her sister recently purchased. “The mountains are so beautiful and the people seem like they are right there in her living rooms” she explained as they were driving to their son’s football game. He looked at the 4K model that she mentioned. The salesman explained the difference between the 2K and the 4K but the only real difference to him was the price.

When he and Sherrie reengaged with the salesman she was greeted with “Ok, now the boss is here so we can get down to business.” Well, he just lost that sale. Sherrie turned to Cary and said, “Let’s get out of here” as she stomped off. As they walked to the car Sherrie screamed, “So, now I’m the boss! You just have say things that put me down. Well I’m not having any more of it. I’m out of here. When we get home I’m loading up and heading to the beach. And, do not follow me!”

Many of us, including me, have made similar remarks. If I am asked for money to pay for a ticket or some other matter, it would not be uncommon for me to say, “Ask my accountant,” she has the purse strings” in reference to my wife. There is no intent to be derogatory or demeaning. My wife handles the checkbook, pays the bills and takes care of bookkeeping in our family. However, I have seen situations in which the wife took offense with this very sentiment because she heard, “Yea, he resents the fact that I hold a tight rein on his spending habits.”

Such responses, and sometimes, such off-hand comments provide an insight into deep hurts that your partner has rooted in their heart. The Bible says that “out of the heart the mouth speaks” or in another place “out of the heart flow the issues of life”. When a mate feels slighted, undervalued, or bullied those issues will be revealed through the mouth.

So what does Cary do now that he has alienated Sherrie? How do couples recover from layers of hurt? Good question! The first thing Cary must do is ask, “What is the log in my eye”. Cary (and most of us) is going to be offended that Sherrie has responded vehemently to such an innocent statement. The reality is Cary (and we are) is very aware that there was nothing innocent about his comment. In fact the comment was the out flowing of a heart issue and this is why Sherrie reacted to it. So, Cary must ask himself what is going on in our relationship that I have this attitude towards my wife. To put the question in Biblical language, “What is the source of the corrupt communication?” ( Ephesians 4:29). As he digs down he will likely fine that he has a standing resentment or bitterness towards her. He will need to seek the work of the Holy Spirit in his life to enable him to put this resentment/bitterness away. He will need to even dig further to discover the desires of his wife that have been frustrated (James 4:1-5).

Once he is able to get alone with God to examine his heart, repent and seek the forgiveness from God, he will need to approach Sherrie. He will need to humble himself, take full responsibility for his hurtful comments and his betrayal in front of the salesman, and seek her forgiveness. Along with seeking forgiveness he will need to offer an apology for hurting her with his cutting remarks. Along with seeking forgiveness it is appropriate to express sorrow and regret for hurting Sherrie.

There is a difference between good natured teasing and intentional cutting remarks. Unfortunately, sometimes even good natured teasing is hurtful. The remarks may not grow out of a heated problem of bitterness, unforgiveness or some other issue, but the comment may be hurtful to the mate because of some other matter that has nothing to do with the partner but rather something from another experience. The sensitive mate will pick up on this and pursue resolving the hurt recognizing that the comment triggered a hurt out of the past. This is the time to be sensitive and express regret along with the assurance that there was no intent to hurt along with an apology.

Proverbs 21:23 gives us a word of wisdom. The writer tells, “Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity. According to James 3:2, we all need this wisdom. The Psalmist teaches us an important prayer. “Set a guard over my mouth, LORD, keep watch over the door of my lips” (Psalm 141:3)






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