It’s Saturday morning. You and your 7 year old daughter are on your way to her soccer game. But just as you pull into the parking lot, your wife calls to say she forgot to put your daughters cleats in the car and that you’ll have to come all the way back home to get them.
Your frustration gets the best of you as you hang up with a bad attitude. Then you turn to your daughter and say, “How is it that your mom always forgets to do things I ask her? It’s like she isn’t even listening to me.”
Unfortunately, these sorts of conversations occur more often than we’d like to admit. Although making a negative comment about your spouse in front of your kids seems like no big deal in the moment, it can lead to your children dishonoring and disrespecting your spouse. Here is the slippery slope toward dishonoring your spouse, and how to avoid it:
1. Annoyance. First, you get annoyed by your spouse. Something they said or did causes you to become frustrated with them.
How You Avoid It: Getting frustrated easily reveals that there may be an issue in you, not your spouse. So if your mindset regarding your spouse is unkind, it may be time to examine your own heart.
2. Decision Making. Next, we face a moment that requires us to choose whether we speak unkind words or bite our tongue.
How You Avoid It: Listen to How to Chain, Tame, and Train Your Tongue Podcast.
3. Unkind Words. Once unkind words are spoken, the power of the tongue becomes clear. Your children may very well repeat the same words to your spouse on another occasion.
How You Avoid It: If you struggle with your words, it may help to understand 5 Toxins of the Tongue that Can Poison Your Marriage and 5 Ways to Filter What You Say.
4. Negative Image. When you speak unkind words about your spouse, you are creating a negative image of your spouse to your kids—an image that is embedded in their minds.
How You Avoid It: As I mentioned in my blog, Are You and Your Spouse on the Same Team, you and your spouse were meant to complete each other, not compete with each other. So build them up with your words in front of your kids and create a positive image for your children.
5. Unkind Words Repeated. Once your kids have a negative image of one of their parents, they start repeating those unkind and disrespectful words also.
How You Avoid It: If you’ve gotten this far, stop sliding down the slippery slope towards dishonor by apologizing to your spouse in front of your kids and ask for forgiveness.
6. Dishonor. When those unkind and disrespectful words are spoken by children to their parent, conflict and dishonor occur.
How You Avoid It: Teach your kids these 4 Things to Do to Honor Your Parents.
Have you spoken negatively about your spouse to your kids? What are some kind words you can say about your spouse to your kids today? Please share your thoughts in a comment below.