“The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” Proverbs 14:1
I always get a jolt when I read these lines from the Bible, and for a good reason. It always makes me ponder how I have conducted myself lately. Have I been a builder or a home wrecker?
No sane woman would want to do damage to her own house, much less to the people who make up that household. Yet, it happens. It happens all the time.
You don’t need to run off with a married man to be a home wrecker. You can tear your family apart without much effort. How? Often it is through our words: How I answer my mate when he asks another “stupid” question. How I put down my child during a conversation with a friend because I don’t want to sound too proud. Or how I correct my husband’s faulty memory as he is animatedly telling a story at a family gathering. Our words can cut, demoralize, and destroy.
How do I respond when my child makes yet another mess and ruins my perfectly planned day? How do I react when I almost fall into the bowl in the middle of the night because my mate forgets to put down the toilet seat yet again? Or when he conveniently forgets another errand and I am left hanging? Do I shout, nag, berate, or pout? Do I take matters into my own hands and give them a rundown of their faults? Do I become hysterical and historically enumerate the many times they have failed me?
Words spoken in anger and haste can erode a happy marriage and a stable home over time. And as I have learned from my husband, it is not just my words that can do damage. The tone of my voice and my facial expression can also add to the fire.
A wise man once told me that it takes 16 loving words to ease the emotional pain caused by one harsh comment. And I believe him. It is harder to repair than to build, you see. The same is true with people and houses. Just ask my neighbors who have been building their dream house for two years now. It’s taking too long because once a section of the house is done, a wrecking crew comes along to tear down that same section. They never seem to be satisfied with the design.
I think the core issue we are dealing with is pride. And we are too proud to admit it. So we make excuses: It’s that time of the month. It’s my hormones. I can’t help it. I have to express myself. I am a woman!
I’m so glad God minces no words when He deals with us, but He doesn’t just calls us at our bluff. He gives us the grace and strength to change, if we are willing to face ourselves and admit our faults.
When I read Proverbs 14:1 a few days ago, I asked God for forgiveness for the many times I acted as a home wrecker. Then I asked Him to help me shut my mouth when I am tempted to speak unkindly towards others, especially towards my mate and child. I want to be a people builder and an encourager. I want my home to be a refuge for my family, a place where they can find solace and rest. Thankfully God is committed to the same cause.
So help me, God!
Jennifer Caspe-Cocuaco likes to call herself a dreamer and visionary by night and a magazine writer and TV producer by day. Her work has appeared in various publications, and she also has produced and directed for The 700 Club Asia and other TV projects. All these had to take a backseat in favor of the most important roles in her life to date—being a wife and mom. Follow her domestic adventures at mommysolutions.blogspot.com.