As many of us do, I married my opposite.
Even science confirms it in our case.
Several years ago Josh and I took a personality test, the results of which we mapped as coordinates on the same graph. Areas of personal strengths and preference were ranked high on the chart. Places we struggled or didn’t value were plotted low.
We then connected our dots with a line so we could easily tell where we fell in relation to each other.
A bizarre phenomenon ensued, friends.
Josh and I, on paper, form a swastika.
Yeah. Not a great sign.
I told you that Edy has become a Loud-Laugher. I didn’t tell you where she got it from.
(Hint: it wasn’t me.)
When I married Josh, I knew he was loud and the life of the party and the class clown and the guy that everyone liked (besides a few high school teachers that I shall not name.) I knew he was my opposite and, whattayaknow, I liked him for it.
Eventually we fell in love and I took the Hall name and our differences became a tad less charming.
For example, when he gets worked up about something—usually good somethings—he begins to shout. (Things worth shouting about include: tax returns, a funny story, a sandwich.) This is not intentional on his part. His voice just gets louder and louder until all the words coming from his mouth are being yelled.
And so we are opposites.
I have a quiet voice. For the most part, I cannot be loud. In group settings, I might as well be mute. On more than one occasion I have spoken something out loud only to realize that even I couldn’t hear what I said.
This is highly inconvenient.
You might think that it would work in my favor, this quietness, since in last week’s post, I quoted that beautiful passage about how God values a woman’s “gentle and quiet spirit” far more than her outside appearance.
Unfortunately, though, for me, quietness in volume does not necessarily equal quietness in spirit.
Yup, I’ve learned a few things about myself through this messy business of marriage and one of them is the importance of me praying every stinking day that God would “set a guard over my mouth” (Psalms 141:3a) and help me to be “quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19). I MUST pray this. Frequently.
Because Ms. Gentle and Quiet has an opposite too.
She’s called Harsh Lady Loud Mouth, and, in my experience, she looks a little like this:
She criticizes her husband in private and in public.
In front of him or her pals or her family or strangers, or, really, anyone who will listen. She openly distrusts his decisions and questions his capabilities. She disregards that a man’s greatest need, whether he be a Christ-follower or not, is respect. She is nasty.
Similarly, Lady Loud Mouth corrects him in front of others.
She likes being right and is quick to declare when he is wrong. (I did this this very weekend. It wasn’t pretty.) Unless his incorrectness is a matter of utmost importance, resist the urge, my friends. Because this Lady is loud.
Stop. Don’t do it. Flee from it and from those who do it. Remember: If she will gossip to you, she will also gossip about you. She is oh so ugly.
She speaks badly about her children in front of her children.
Yes, so they are banshees some days, but when Harsh and Loud complains to her husband about them the moment he walks in the door, she forgets their tender spirits. She tears her children down and wears her husband out. (Ugh. Guilty.) She is harsh.
She speaks badly about others in front her children.
She “scolds” other drivers. She gripes on Facebook. She complains about family. She forgets who is listening.
She is leaving her legacy.
Harsh and Loud.
This is not an exhaustive list, of course. This is my list.
Harsh and Loud can manifest itself in many ways and in many places. Each of us will be doing ourselves, our husbands and our relationships a favor if we would earnestly search our own hearts on this issue. Because I have my struggles, and you have yours.
But this is where we make the choice, ladies. Which will we be?
Harsh Lady Loud Mouth?
Or Gentle and Quiet?
Jesus awaits us in our repentance. He redeems our mistakes. He makes us new.
He says, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more” (John 8:11).
Will you do this with me? For your husband? For your marriage? For your kids?
Let us let Christ change us.
Our beauty is absolutely at stake.