Before You Talk
Last week we talked about the importance of using
gentle words and speaking softly. This week I
want to talk again about being intelligent and
sensitive in choosing HOW you're going to say
something to your spouse.
Do you remember the biblical story of Joseph? Let
me remind you because I want to use it to
illustrate an important point.
Joseph is the son of Jacob. In fact, he's Jacob's
favorite son. But this favoritism doesn't go over
too well with Joseph's brothers, so they throw
him into a pit and eventually sell him to
merchants heading down to Egypt.
Rather than telling their father the truth,
Joseph's brothers lead Jacob to believe that
Joseph was killed by a wild animal. Jacob is
For 17 years Jacob believed that his favorite
son, Joseph, was dead. Then, through a series of
dramatic events, Joseph is reunited with his
brothers in Egypt and must return home to inform
their father than Joseph is not only alive but
that he's second in command in Egypt.
Think about the dilemma Joseph's brothers face.
How do you tell your father, an old fragile man,
that the son he lost 17 years ago is, in fact,
not dead? Seriously, how would you do it? Would
you just say, "Hey dad, Joseph's alive." I think
that would be insensitive. He'd be shocked. He
wouldn't know what you were talking about.
What about saying, "Dad. I have something to tell
you. We saw Joseph last week." That might work if
the brothers were trying to give their dad a
heart attack. But if they care
about his physical
and emotional well being, they better think of a
There's an ancient tradition (you won't find it
in the Bible itself) that teaches that Joseph's
brothers arranged for his niece to play the harp
and quietly sing a song while they were near
Jacob, a song he could barely hear. The song went
Joseph still lives, he's a king in Mitzrayim
(means Egypt in Hebrew),
He has 2 sons, Menasha and Ephriam.
The idea was that Jacob would think he heard
something, it would "hit him" lightly in song, he
would consider it, listen more closely, and then
slowly become sure of what he was hearing, all
the while hearing it with the gentleness of
music. He might think it's a just a song. Is it
true? And then Joseph's brothers told him the
What brilliant sensitivity!
And they never went to marriage family counseling.
And it's relevant to saving
whether you're in marriage family counseling
Because there's many times when we'll have to
break news to our spouse, or share with them
dramatic information. One day (God forbid) you
might lose your job, your arm, or your aunt. Your
child might get in a car accident. Or you may
learn of mother-in-law's death before your
spouse. How will you tell your spouse?
Marriage is for a long time. You can be sure that
one day you'll have to break some news to your
spouse. Be careful not to just say it. Think!
Plan! Be sensitive. Where's the best place to say
it? Should there be music in
When's the best time? Who should be around? What
time of day should the discussion take place?
What should be the tone in your voice? If you're in
marriage family counseling then you might consult
counselor to help you answer these questions.
Your assignment this week is to practice this
principle. I don't expect you to have anything
dramatic to share with your spouse this week.
Nonetheless, when you have something to share,
consider the best circumstances and choose your
words carefully. Instead of just blurting it out;
speak using all your EQ (emotional intelligence)
and do everything you can to set the right stage
and pick the right words.
If you're looking for an alternative to marriage
please consider the Marriage Fitness Tele-Boot
Camp. It's better,
cheaper, and quicker than marriage family
Have a good week.
Author & Founder of Marriage Fitness
An Alternative to Marriage Family Counseling