A man’s belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled. Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD. -Proverbs 18:20-22
I love me some Proverbs 18. It means, “speak kindly to your wife and you will be fed lots of good things to eat and be….ministered to in other fun and exciting ways.”
I jest a bit here, that is only part of the tale, just one layer we can unwrap in Proverbs 18. I love the entire chapter because it is speaking of the condition of one’s heart, about pride, foolishness, a wounded spirit…and the tremendous power behind the words we speak, the way we hold life or death in our tongues. Suddenly out of the blue we have, “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD.”
It cracks me up every time, because at first glance it is so easy to miss the significance as that sentence just sits there disembodied from the rest of the text and we tend to just think, “well sure, a wife is a good thing, but what does that have to do with anything?”
Everything! In fact the whole chapter could be read as a beautiful instruction for men in marriage, about the wisdom behind understanding the power of our words, the power to create life, love, romance…or to tear it all apart. We are made in the image of our Creator and as such we are creators ourselves on a less grand scale of course, but we have the power and the ability to create small worlds, tiny castles and kingdoms of our own. We have the power to write our own fairy tales, our own narratives.
“He who separates himself seeks his own desire, He quarrels against all sound wisdom.”
Of course this is no easy task, the world intrudes on our efforts, and people fail to cooperate, and many men have simply forgotten the tremendous power of their words. Our modern world seems to be a culture so filled with verbal vulgarity, with hatred and harshness, that these things seem almost normal to us. Then there is the totally false adage, “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” Words do indeed hurt people, or they can heal people, or they can serve as a powerful force to help you write and create a beautiful narrative.
While women’s words can certainly be as sour as vinegar, critical, negative, many men have a tendency to speak too harshly or to disengage entirely. Disengaged is what I call the, “I just live here for the free food” syndrome. The, “of course I love you, I go to work don’t I” syndrome. Much preferable to the “harsh, impatient, and negative all the time” syndrome, but still, living way beneath our potential.
So, read Proverbs 18, and learn how to pour kind and affectionate words all over your spouse, how to speak life into them, how to become an authentic sweet talker, and you just might cultivate a beautiful romance, a fairy tale.
The words of a man’s mouth are as deep waters….