I have a dual personality. Just call me “Two Face.” I am one person to my children and someone different with my spouse.
When my sweet children wake, I meet them with hugs and back rubs. I ask them how they slept and if they had good dreams. I sometimes offer to fix them breakfast. I pour sugar all over our interactions. It doesn’t matter how many times I told them to get in the bathtub or turn out their light the night before, I am a nice mommy in the morning. With my kids, my mercies are new every morning.
My early morning interactions are a little different with my husband. If he hits the snooze button too many times when I want to sleep in, I’m grouchy. If I am upset about something from the day before (or maybe even the week before), I’m grouchy. Being the introvert that I am, I seek quiet and solitude in the morning. If he bumps into my quiet, I am grouchy. I rarely offer to fix him breakfast. I most certainly don’t rub his back. If my interactions with my children are dusted with sugar, I would say my interactions with my husband are soaked in brine.
I wish I could say my two-faced tendencies are limited to the morning hours. I’m afraid this duality is my baseline. I tend to give my kids more grace. I try to be fun mom, loving mom, understanding mom. And when my husband gets home, I meet him with unreasonable expectations and lay the weight of my disappointments on his shoulders.
My kids get the best of me and my husband gets the worst.
The Dead Zone
“Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh and salt water flow from the same spring?” (Jas. 3:10-11, NIV)
I’m like the water at the end of the Mississippi River—fresh water flowing into the salty sea. Because of the nitrates in the Mississippi, the algae content at the base of the river is high. As the algae die and sink to the bottom of the sea, the resulting bacteria soak up all the oxygen in the water making it inhospitable for ocean life. Scientists call this phenomenon the dead zone.
I create a dead zone in my home when I speak sweet to my kids and sour to my husband. While they benefit from my kind words, I harm them by modeling negative marital interactions. If they follow my patterns, I will have happy grandchildren and miserable sons-in-law. A generational curse of dead zones.
Season Your Conversation with Salt
“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” (Col. 4:6, NIV, emphasis added)
When adding salt to a dish, the goal is continuity. We want everyone at the table to have equal amounts of seasoning. The same is true for conversation in our homes. Instead of saving all my sweetness for my kids, the better way is to be kind to everyone in my home. If I can meet my kids with grace and mercy each morning, I can do the same for my husband. The hand that gently rubs the back of my sweet baby boy can also gently rub the back of my faithful husband.
I am issuing a challenge to myself and invite you to join. Let’s make every effort to season every conversation with salt. If, like me, you struggle with a duality between your husband and children, try to speak to your spouse graciously and lovingly. Maybe your disparity is between friends and children; you treat friends warmly and your children with a little contempt. Let’s be intentional about treating our family like guests in our home. As we begin to watch our words, we can transform the dead zones into rivers of life.
“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” (Prov. 18:21, NIV)
I am linking up with Suzie Eller for #livefreeThursday.