...You can't always control what's coming toward you. But you can, however, decide to respond instead of react. And the way you respond can make all the difference in the world. In the Proverbs 12:18 passage we saw earlier, "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing," the latter part of the verse gives us the key.
There's a wise way to respond to whatever words may come your way. When the conversation starts to escalate, rather than allowing yourself to react, be intentional and determine to respond wisely. Instead of impulsively reacting out of habit, resolve to respond purposefully. By doing so, you can stay in control no matter what may happen. How?
Scripture offers us some wise counsel here, James 1:19 tells us: "My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry..." In other words, think...pause...then speak. It's a wise person who can communicate in this way. But all too often, in the rush to be heard, we speak first and then think next...and unfortunately with poor results.
We must measure our words carefully. Words are important: they can hurt or heal. Words can uplift us or discourage us, and reckless words, spoken in haste, cannot be erased. Respond carefully. Speak wisely, not impulsively. Stay calm. Pray. Slow down. Use words seasoned with grace, not words of criticism or insult. Remember you can steer out of a tailspin and build your spouse and your marriage up, rather than tearing them down. Decide and determine now, with God's help to respond wisely, with healing and comfort rather than escalation and anger.
"...be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry..." James 1:19