‘Shut it’ or ‘shut up’ are phrases that are used to get someone to stop talking, but they’re often considered rude. It’s an abrupt way to interrupt, and so many people think it’s disrespectful. I’m not advocating that we start using the phrase, but perhaps if it’s been used we might need to examine what we’ve been saying and how we’ve been saying it. Sometimes it’s important to take notice and realise that we do need to be quiet whenever words start to become damaging.

Psalm 141:3 Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.

This psalm was written by someone who knew his mouth could get him into a lot of trouble. In Psalm 39:1 David also uses the imagery of appointing a guard or watchmen to keep his tongue in check but also writes about guarding his mouth with a muzzle.

Have you ever walked past an aggressive dog? They can be pretty scary and intimidating! As horrible as they look, muzzles have been designed to keep a hostile animal from hurting others, the muzzle stops them from resorting to their usual mode of operation. Even if they snarl a bit, they can’t do as much damage as they would want to. Often we don’t even realise the damage our tongues can do. As children we used to sing ‘sticks and stones will break our bones, but words will never harm us’. What a lie! Words can cause a lot of damage. That’s why David writes about holding back from saying what he really wants to say.

We probably are less guarded about the words we use when we are at home. The wrong thing can easily pour out of our mouths when we are with our spouse or our family. We might have had a rough day at work and when we come home the irritability that we managed to hold back all day spills out from unguarded lips. Wouldn’t we be a lot more careful about what we say if there was someone on patrol listening to everything that came out of our mouths? We would think before we speak. Often we say things without engaging our brains, our mouths working all on their own! Unguarded, unchecked and unmuzzled.

Think about it for a moment, what do you think the Lord would stop you from saying?  Can you imagine the difference this alone would make in your daily communication with your spouse?

If I think about the past week, there are words that I’ve regretted saying. Things I wish I hadn’t said. Even when we are conscious of the power of our words some words slip past the guard. We need to be proactive to stop that, we need to learn how to get control of our tongues. While we can focus on the ‘guards’ we can put on our tongue, maybe like David, we can adopt another approach too. We need to think about the right things. If we do, then what comes out of our mouths won’t be as ugly or dangerous.

Psalm 19:14
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.

What strategies have you used to guard your mouth?
Is this an area you need to improve on?

Bringing Worlds Together Book

Many couples struggle to get on the same page in marriage. Whether you are newlyweds or have been married for years Bringing Worlds Together will help you blend together. Expect to learn more about your spouse, gain insight and be challenged.

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Adjusting Expectations Book

No-one enters marriage expectation free. Adjusting Expectations helps identify how expectations were formed and whether or not they were realistic. Most expectations need some adjustment; they are often too high but can also be set too low. The good news is expectations can be reset!

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Improving Communication Book

Most couples would willingly admit that their communication could do with some improvement; although many people also point the finger of blame squarely at their spouse for communication failures. Whether you believe it’s your fault, their fault or that you’re both to blame, this book is for you! There is always room for improvement.

Available in print and ebook formats.