Words you can’t take back

Sometimes Ray makes me so mad.

It’s in those moments of anger that a green tint comes into my skin, I grow to be 10x my size, I can destroy an entire room, and unlike the Hulk who was tragically mute, the vilest words come flying out of my mouth. Spit is probably the best way to describe the way these words shoot off of my tongue, because what I do conjures up images of snakes spitting poison on a target. You don’t want to be in the way when the poison finds its mark.

Greater insight for good or evil

Being married to someone means you have the privilege of knowing them inside and out. I know what moves Ray’s heart, what makes him smile, and what grieves him. Unfortunately, it also means that I know the best ways to hurt him.

As a teacher, I used to give my students the love language quiz for kids  the first day of class to help me connect with each of them better.

  • If their love language was gifts, I would give them candy or let them have extra “recess” time. These kids were the ones that would wear the hair clips I made for them for Christmas or the bracelets I brought back from my first visit to Kenya until they disintegrated.
  • If their love language was physical touch, I would give them a hug when they came into the classroom or sometimes they just liked for me to put my hand on their shoulder while I talked to them. It was funny when the 7th grade took the quiz though, because some of the boys scored high in physical touch, but once they realized what the quiz was for, they erased their answers so touch became their lowest love language.
  • If their love language was words of affirmation, I would write special notes on their papers and praise them in front of their peers.
  • If their love language was quality time, I would have them come to my classroom for lunch or take them out on the weekends or just sit and talk with them a bit when there was free time in the classroom.
  • If their love language was acts of service, I would make a special effort to help them with work before, during, and after class. I don’t recall many students having this love language though. Most were gifts, affirmation, and quality time.

Whenever I used the students’ love language to express admiration or satisfaction, their behavior and work ethic would improve dramatically, but if I used their love language to express disappointment, the impact could ruin an entire day of instruction. Say I have a student that needs words of affirmation. If I tell her that she didn’t quite make the mark on a piece she wrote, or I have lots of corrections on her paper with limited words of encouragement, her entire countenance will drop, and she’ll sit at her computer and stare at the screen until I dismiss the class.

Likewise, words of affirmation is one of my husband’s love languages; therefore, when I talk on and on about how much I think he sucks, it literally stings. This basic need that he has to be affirmed can be used for good or evil, and all too often I choose the latter over the former.

Taking it to the net

I’ve had my fair share of Facebook vomited statuses and still find myself posting things only to take them down two minutes or two hours later. I really wish someone would explain to me what the draw is to broadcast personal issues via Facebook status. Why is it that when I’m mulling over something that upsets me, I form fifteen different statuses in my head, each one more vicious than the last, to post on Facebook? It doesn’t make any sense to me.

Now I’ve been on the receiving end of some positively nasty Facebook posts. You wonder how people could speak so illy of you, put you on blast like that, and still be a Christian. It’s very easy to cry foul in those situations. But I try to be sneaky about it. I opt for the more vague approach. I try to write my rants figuratively so that most people will believe I’m talking about topic x instead of my dear husband. It’s all the same though. I am still disrespecting my husband publicly, adding insult to the private injuries I had already given him.

One piece of advice that my good friend Dana gave me before marriage was to ensure that I fought fair. Now that I’m ankle-deep in the throes of marriage, I can totally vouch for her sage advice. It’s so important to take time to calm yourself before engaging in an altercation with a spouse or even before logging on to Facebook, because it’s so easy to say the wrong thing, the most hurtful thing and cause damage in a your relationship that may take a very long time to bounce back from. Erasing the status, especially after the person has already seen it, and saying “I’m sorry” don’t have the power to cure these wounds either.

Before we got married I did a 30 day challenge with Revive Our Hearts to speak encouraging words to and about Ray. I think it’s about time I started that again. I want to get into the habit of using his love language to build him up, not tear him down. You in? If you take the challenge, be sure to leave comments of how it works out for you along the way. I’d love to hear your stories.

P.s. Now that I’ve written this post, you all have permission to call me out if you see me writing any negative statuses on Facebook. That is, if my conscience doesn’t get me first.

Addendum: Be sure to read Erin Jone’s comment below. She gives some really good perspective.

13 Replies to “Words you can’t take back”

  1. kdcooper2013

    My wise husband has taught me that we need to be “students” of each other. He is always trying to learn more about me and I about him–even after 18 years. There is always something more to learn and we find that when we are looking to learn more, we have less time to dwell on each others faults. It’s a win-win. We also know each others love language and it took me a while to “get” that when I try to love him through “my language”, it doesn’t work as well as when I put forth effort to love him through “his language”.

    • S'ambrosia

      I like the idea of being “students” of each other. You’re right on about making the mistake of trying to love each other through our own love languages. It definitely takes effort and commitment to approach the demonstration of love through an avenue that doesn’t come natural to you. I’m looking forward to the years of discovering how to do it though. 🙂

  2. kdcooper2013

    By the way, since Ray’s love language is words of affirmation, a 30-day challenge is not enough for you–it will be a lifetime challenge to love him in his language–a choice you can and should make to embolden and shore up your marriage. Love and prayers to you both!

    • S'ambrosia

      Lol, this is true. I’m just doing the challenge because I know it will be a great kick start for me. They say it takes 21 days for something to become a habit, so if I can start with this, I hope it will become more natural. Thanks for your prayers. We love you too! Tell the girls I said hello!

  3. Rhianna Sanford

    I understand completely! And trust me when I say I’ve been spanked a time or two by the Holy Spirit before clicking “Post”. I’ve learned that if I am tempted to “vaguely rant” about someone in particular on the sly, it’s really now worth posting it. Better to just rant to myself aloud than to sneakily give someone a piece of my mind. I love your transparency and humility! Keep it coming…

    • S'ambrosia

      Ah, I’m very familiar with those spankings. They hurt so good. Having Ray around has been nice for the sake of venting purposes. I get the chance to say what I want to post, but get convicted when he makes faces of absolute shock and horror, lol.

  4. Erin Jones

    Just putting in my 2 cents as an observer of many public rants from many people. I have always believed that when someone publicly says something negative about someone else, the intent goes much deeper, as the rant is visible to hundreds of people who may or may not know the person. It’s almost as if that person wanted to go straight for the jugular and destroy this person by humiliating them in front of those who love and respect them by making known their short comings. The unfortunate part is that one rush of emotion can destroy ministry opportunities and respect in both their personal and professional lives. We are privileged to know the short comings of others as it signifies the depth of trust in our relationship. When we compromise that trust, we compromise the relationship. When I post something or even share something, I try to filter it through the lens of what the short and long term consequences would be for the other person. I think another good guideline for what I share of others is Philippians 4:8:

    Philippians 4:8 (ESV)
    8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

    Is what I am sharing true about the other person when I remove my emotion from the situation?

    Does what I am sharing portray this person as honorable? Am I honoring our relationship by sharing or posting?

    Is it just or fair to share this – meaning do I have the right or permission to share?

    Does what I am sharing promote the other person’s purity and loveliness in Christ? Will others look to this person and commend them for their excellence based on what I post?

    Is what I am sharing with others about this person, a word of praise?

    I am nowhere near perfect in this and am working to be conscious of this filter in my daily conversations. I just wanted to share these thoughts in case they can be of any help. Thank you for your blog! I really enjoy reading about how God is working in your life!

    • S'ambrosia

      I totally feel like your two cents should be an addendum to this post, Erin.

      You’re totally right about humiliation and an attitude of being hell bent on destroying the image or reputation of someone lies beneath those facebook posts. When I first read what you wrote, I thought about the people that have done that to me and thought, “That’s so wicked.” Then I realized that I’ve done the same thing not only on Facebook, but like you said, I do it in my everyday speech too. Thanks for that reality check.

      Phillipians 4:8 is a Scripture I’ve used many times in my life in regards to keeping a pure thought life, but it’s totally applicable in this context as well. I will do well to remember it.

      Thank you so much for sharing. This is so good I’m going to add a little tag to the end of your blog and share it on Facebook. Love you!

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