James tells us that the tongue can be a fire. He says it can corrupt our whole person. The tongue can praise or it can curse. But there is something else it can do – it can be silent. There are times in marriage when silence is as wrong as speaking curse-filled words. It is evil when we are avoiding speaking good toward another or we are avoiding communication altogether, causing our spouse to suffer through the awkwardness of silence. You know in your heart if your silence is meant to be malicious. It is one thing to retreat and not speak so that healing can take place, but it is another when we selfishly refuse to speak.
I discovered during my pre-engagement years with Mary that she was a communicator; she loved to talk and relate to people. I, on the other hand, would rather let others do the talking. After marriage in my immaturity and my selfishness, I discovered that I could use silence to hurt her if I felt wronged. I knew Mary needed me to talk and if I didn’t respond it would frustrate her. To grow up and change I had to study her and enter into her world of communication. I had to discover her frame of reference. I had to receive the revelation that my silence was selfish manipulation and not godly leadership. Today we have found that balance of talking and listening and honoring one another in our differences. And today, at times, I might use as many words as she does.