Dr. Emerson Eggerichs on Telling the Truth With Love and Respect


“So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body.”
Ephesians 4:25 (NLT)

Can practicing love and respect in your marriage lead to acting “too nice” even when you feel hurt or irritated by something your spouse does? Husbands and wives seem equally affected by the idea that living the Love & Respect way (as explained in my books) means you must keep the peace by remaining silent to avoid conflict.

Avoidance isn’t healthy

My wife, Sarah, and I often talk to people who decide that somehow it is best to remain quiet when feeling unloved or disrespected. They reason that if they were “really spiritual,” they would not have negative feelings, so when irritations happen they suppress those feelings. We tell them that while they mean well with this approach, it is not healthy to be too accommodating on matters that matter. In fact, avoiding the real issue — feeling unloved or disrespected — can actually be unloving or disrespectful in the long run.

It may be tempting to avoid potential conflict by saying nothing, but Scripture does not advise this approach. While there is “a time to be silent,” there is also “a time to speak” (Ecclesiastes 3:7, NIV). And as difficult as it may be, during those “times to speak,” we should be truthful. Your spouse deserves the truth from you, even if you are prone to “put yourself in neutral” and let others push you around. Take small but steady steps to learn to decode your negative feelings, and then be honest with your mate. The key, of course, is to tell the truth honestly and gently.

A gentle answer

Unfortunately, it is all too easy to “be honest” in a way that triggers an argument. Then it’s natural enough to conclude that your spouse did not want to hear what you had to say. Not so. The way in which we speak incites the conflict, not the content.

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Source: Family.org | Dr. Emerson Eggerichs is the author of Love & Respect. This article was adapted from his book The Love & Respect Experience: A husband-friendly devotional that wives truly love.