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When it Hurts to Speak the Truth in Love

By Dr. Don Dunlap
Pastoral Counselor
God commands us to speak the truth in love to one another, but there are limitations on speech.

Family Counseling Ministries -

Wives often mistakenly believe that they have a God-given right to express any thought or feeling they may have to their husbands. Many women seem to pride themselves on “speaking their minds” to their mates. There are, however, limitations on speech within the marriage relationship. Love draws the boundaries. God commands us to speak the truth in love to one another. When a wife speaks to her husband, she should season her speech with graciousness and kindness.

A wife must remember that she is not her husband’s mother. God does not call wives to admonish their husbands every time they stumble.

The fifth way in which a wife harms her marriage is to verbally correct her husband every time she thinks he is wrong. Some women believe it is their responsibility to rebuke their husbands every time they make a mistake. A woman who has been guilty of complaining or nagging should repent in genuine humility before her husband and before the Lord.

She should also consider the warning found in Matthew 7:3-5,

Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

A wife should regularly examine her attitudes toward her husband. These questions may be a good starting point.

Women, who desire to learn to speak truth to their husbands in a godly, encouraging way, may find the following checklist helpful.

1.      Am I willing to have my husband address the weaknesses in my life? ______

2.      Do I regularly invite my husband to tell me the things that I do to frustrate or irritate him? _____

3.      Am I readily willing to admit my own weaknesses? _____

4.      Do I consistently try to identify my “blind spots” and am I committed to working on them? _____

5.      Do I have a genuine love for my husband? _____

6.      Do I have an independent spirit, always wanting my own way? _____

7.      Do I have a condemning spirit? _____

8.      Do I have an ungrateful spirit for what he has done for the children and me? _____

9.      Do I have a bitter spirit because of unforgiveness? _____

10.  Do I have a frustrated spirit because of impatience? _____

11.  Do I have a servant’s heart? Am I willing to lay my life down for my husband? _____

If a wife wants to earn the right to speak truth to her husband, she must be willing to hear his input regarding her life, and humbly act on it.


A wife who has been guilty of nagging and criticizing her husband should make a forty-day commitment to completely refrain from critiquing her husband in any way. This will help her significantly to break the bad habit of nagging. During this period, she should regularly ask her husband to share with her anything that he would change about her life if he had the power to do so.


The most important thing that she can do during this time is to memorize the biblical principles of appeal and the related scripture verses. A wife’s input in her husband’s life is vitally important, but her goal must be to learn to speak the truth in love to him.


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