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Think 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

better approach.


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

like this:


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 your marriage

whether you're in marriage family counseling or not.

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 the background?

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 your

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 family counseling 

please consider the Marriage Fitness Tele-Boot Camp. It's better,

cheaper, and quicker than marriage family counseling.


Have a good week.


Warm regards,


Mort Fertel

Author & Founder of Marriage Fitness

An Alternative to Marriage Family Counseling




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