You know that clip in Gray’s Anatomy when Yang says that Meredith is her person? They’re sitting at a bar after work discussing why Yang told Meredith about being pregnant in the first place when Cristina reveals that Meredith was the person she put down as her emergency contact person. Later on, when Burke is confused by Cristina and Meredith’s closeness, Yang says,
“She’s my person. If I murdered someone, she’s the person I’d call to help me drag the corpse across the living room floor. She’s my person.”
Well, you know who my person is? Do you know whose name is written down as my emergency contact person?
He’s my person…..for better, for worse. That was in the vows and all, right?
I, Erica, take you, Wade, to be my lawful wedded husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, to be my person, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.
As my person, he gets it all. The better. The worse. The trying to be better. The falling into the worst. Everything in between.
I want to be the better, though. For him. For me. For my kids. For God. Because of God. I want to be the better. That desire leads me to where I am today.
“A man who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD.”
Proverbs 31: 10-11
“Who can find a wife of noble character? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will not lack anything good.”
My desire is to be a good wife. A wife of noble character. A wife who is worthy of the trust of her husband’s heart. A wife who helps her husband obtain favor from the Lord.
However, I’ve found myself questioning myself, as a person AND as a wife.
This past Fall Break, we went on a short vacation to Panama City Beach with Kurtis, my brother, Brittany, his wife, and their three children. We had a great time digging our toes in the sand, watching the kids all play together and splash in the ocean waves, and eating good food. On our last night there, we all went out to eat together at Bayou Bill’s. All nine of us sat around a large circular table with a huge Lazy Susan that looked like the wheel on a pirate’s ship. As we sat there, we began to play the game Telephone.
You know what I’m talking about, right?
The game where one person whispers into another person’s ear, and that message is whispered into each other person’s ear until it reaches the originator?
We had fun hearing what “Uncle Kurtis is a stinker butt” turned into by the time it made it back around the table to my Emma. Sweet, sweet Abigail, my niece, didn’t like to hear anything negative about anyone, so she changed the message each time it made it to her.
We’ve played the game at school, too. Usually, it’s played at school as an avenue to show the dangers of gossip and rumors. The original message, whether true or untrue, is usually distorted with important pieces missing by the time it makes its rounds. It’s a fun game and a good vessel for the lesson.
At an intellectual level, the harms of gossip are easy to understand. It’s a simple thing to state that spreading rumors is never a good idea. However, even if spreading false or unsubstantiated rumors is something people can refrain from doing, we often end up gossiping in some form or another.
Or, maybe I shouldn’t I say “We.”
Maybe I should just say, “I.”
I may not talk about outlandish rumors or spread even true information to anyone and everyone within earshot. However, I often find it difficult to keep my mouth closed when I’m with my closest friends, or to turn my ears away if someone offers up information. It’s just a struggle even if in the moment I know it’s wrong. In fact, it’s a struggle that I’ve taken to God in prayer in the past year.
I found myself ranting about others to my closest friends. Complaining about someone, about decisions, about whatever irked me. I found myself pulled into listening when people talked about someone with whom I was also irritated.
Oh, I justified it. I wasn’t “participating” in the gossip if I just listened. Or, I only told this person who is my good friend. It wasn’t really gossip then, right? It was just two friends talking. I mean, we all need someone in whom we can confide. Someone to whom we can vent and rant. We NEED that, AMIRIGHT?
This idea that I needed someone to talk to, to vent to, to question things with, bit me in the tail. HARD. In fact, I’m pretty sure the teeth marks are still there. I unintentionally hurt someone close to me. I damaged a friendship. I learned a lesson.
But, wait, what does this have to do with marriage? Why am I writing about gossip on this marriage blog? Well, I’ll tell you why.
Once I resigned myself to the fact that what I felt was innocuous “conversation” and “speculating” with friends still hurt someone, I vowed to only talk to my person. I vowed it, broke that vow, re-vowed it, and so on. I’m definitely a work in progress. Long story short, I wanted to only talk to my one person. I felt like I needed my person and the outlet of talking to my person to stay sane.
I’m writing about this because Wade is my person. My husband is my person. Even if I don’t go out spreading gossip to everyone else. Even if I can manage to hold my tongue with my friends. My person hears the brunt of everything, even the things he doesn’t care about. My person hears it all.
Wade is my person to whom I tell the juiciest bits of information from work that I couldn’t bare to pass on to others. Wade is my person to whom I tell about that stupid thing “so and so” did that I wouldn’t want to tell someone else because it would be considered gossip. Wade is my person to whom I vent about people and situations from all parts of my life. He’s my person, and his ears know it. Well, maybe they know it. After writing this, perhaps there’s something to be said about his selective hearing, but that’s a conversation for a different day.
Wade is my person….for better, for worse, remember?
Therefore, shouldn’t it be my duty to protect that relationship above even all others here on Earth?
We all know that Ephesians 5:22 verse that says wives should submit to their husbands even as they submit to Christ. Let’s also consider 1 Peter.
1 Peter 3: 1-2
“In the same way, wives submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, even if some disobey the word, they may be won over without a word by the way their wives live when they observe your pure, reverent lives.”
Peter tells wives here to submit to their husbands because the way wives live their lives can win over the husbands to the Lord. In essence, a wife’s right living can be a testimony to her husband.
How awesome and restoring and amazing is that?
Wade is my person. I’m beyond thankful for that. I can never put into words how much I appreciate that he listens to me when I am worried about something, that he comforts me when I’m upset, that he is there for me always.
I’ve been using that trait of his to give full vent to my feelings. When something goes wrong, I complain to Wade. When there is a person who is grating on my ever loving nerves, I rant to Wade. When something at work isn’t going quite the way I want, I vent to Wade. As my person, he’s born not only the brunt of my happiness and my joy, my worries, my sadness, and my disappointments, but also my complaints, my irritations, and my anger.
I’ve justified this because, like the world leads us to believe, we shouldn’t hold our emotions in. It’s bad for you not to express what you’re feeling. It’s unhealthy.
And, the world is right; it is unhealthy.
So, I feel I need to tell someone. Wade gets home and I immediately begin to vent about some stupid new thing we now have to do as teachers to be more effective. He walks in the door expecting a hug and a smile, and I complain about how awful our children have been since school let out. He calls to ask how my day is going and, in a guise of “want to hear something funny,” I essentially make fun of some boneheaded thing someone I’ve been completely irritated with has done. He gets to hear all of that.
Let’s look at a few reasons why I shouldn’t put all of that on Wade.
Let’s look at the gossip part of it first.
Proverbs 11: 12-13
“Whoever shows contempt for his neighbor lacks sense, but a person with understanding keeps silent. A gossip goes around revealing a secret, but a trustworthy person keeps a confidence.”
Scripture clearly tells us that a gossip is not be trusted. It says that keeping silent shows understanding. As in, the scripture is very clear here. You don’t really need another text to help interpret these lines. You don’t need to read further in on this subject matter to gain understanding. It says what it means and means what it says.
Although, if you read further, looking up all the meanings of understanding, for instance, you do learn more. The Hebrew word translated “understanding” here is “tebunah.” It means “the ability to discern a right course of action.” It means discerning, sensible, intelligent, and wise. Therefore, the opposite of this is foolish. When we gossip, we show contempt for our neighbor and lack sense. We become foolish and untrustworthy.
As silly as it may seem, I still didn’t consider myself a gossip if I only told Wade. After all, is it really gossip if I only tell my husband?
Webster defines the noun gossip as “rumor or report of an intimate nature.” It defines a person who is described as “a gossip” as “a person who habitually reveals personal or sensational facts about others.”
So, let’s look at a specific instance.
Just this past week, someone told me something personal about someone else (yes, this will be vague because I am trying not to be a gossip….). The information was something I was able to refrain from discussing with who told me. That, in and of itself, was hard enough. I thought to myself, “I’ll just tell Wade at home. He’ll get a kick out of hearing this.”
Yes, you read that right. Shamefully, I was taking pleasure in the idea Wade would “get a kick out of” this piece of personal information that I would find embarrassing if it were my personal information. But, I digress….
Then, Wade got home, I pulled up my phone to show him a text that would lead to this discussion. Then, a small voice told me to stop. I wondered why. It was just Wade. Then, I examined it further.
The information I was going to share was of a personal nature. It was intimate knowledge about another person that I was going to report. That made it gossip. What’s more is I habitually tell Wade things like this because he’s my husband. What could it hurt?
It hurts because I’m not living right in front of Wade. Whether he wants to admit it or not, just like 1 Peter says, the way I live my life affects the way he lives his, and vice versa. If I habitually engage in sharing personal, private, or hurtful information about others with Wade, I’m affecting not only my sanctification but his, too.
Once I realized this fact, you’d think it would be easy to just let the information go and move on.
Y’all, Satan dug in his heels and nagged and nagged and nagged and nagged at me. C’mon, it’s just Wade. You know how he feels about this person. He’ll find that information funny. Who’s it going to hurt? I battled with not telling him ALL week. It’s the biggest part of why I’m writing this post! I’m STILL struggling with it.
It was hard to say nothing! I’m ashamed to admit exactly how hard it was, but it was SO hard. That’s how I knew what a big issue it was. It should have been so simple to just let it go and not think another thing about it. But it wasn’t. I kept coming back to that question, “Who’s it going to hurt?”
The person whose secret it was to tell.
Wade because I would have invited him to join in on gossip.
Me, the foolish one who was going to share it.
Even if it’s just my husband, gossip isn’t okay. Breaking that cycle starts by not sharing the information, period. Not with a friend. Not with my husband.
What about something other than gossip? What about just venting? After all, it’s unhealthy to let rage build up, right?
“A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise person holds it in check.”
Here again, the Bible is crystal clear about venting your anger and frustration. Only a fool gives it full vent. According to my study Bible, that last line could be read in a couple of ways. 1) a wise person keeps his own anger in check, or 2) a wise person quiets a fool’s ranting. Either way you read it, a wise person recognizes that anger should be stilled, quieted, calmed, and not allowed to flare up and be shared freely.
Venting. We know that a pressure cooker needs to vent or it will explode. We’ve taken that idea and fitted it on people, too, which may work because some people do not handle their anger, stress, and emotions in a healthy way causing a similar explosion. Somehow, though, we’ve identified venting as a healthy way to handle those emotions.
You see venting everywhere. People vent on social media. People vent to their friends on their phones in public. Strangers vent about common difficult situations in public spaces commiserating on how awful this fast food restaurant always is or that store is. Bloggers vent about their frustrations from their figurative soapbox. Venting has become a norm in our society. Venting has become a norm in my household.
Wade walks in from work, and I vent about our girls’ behavior. “Oh my gosh! I’m so glad you’re home! These two are driving me IN-SAYYNE!! This one put the hamster in my lunchbox today!!!!!!” No, seriously, Emma did that!!!
I call Wade to talk while he’s on duty, and I inevitably vent about something a person did/does, said/says or a situation somewhere. “Ugh! Can you believe that he said this today? I mean, really!?!”
Venting has become common place. We need to let off a little pressure, a little steam, right? No.
Philippians 4:8 tells us, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable – if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy – dwell on those things.” In other words, the more we vent, the more attention we give to the negative feelings. The more we rant and rave about that person who just gets under our skin, the more we raise our skin up and invite them to dig in a little deeper. Venting puts our focus on the bad, the un-lovely, the unjust, the dishonorable, the non-commendable. Sometimes, the person or thing about whom we are venting IS the “bad.” Sometimes, however, it’s our attitude about the person or thing that is wrong. Either way, venting puts our focus on the negative instead of on what God wants us to focus on.
1 Peter 3: 10-12
“For the one who wants to love life and to see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit, and let him turn away from evil and do what is good. Let him seek peace and pursue it, because the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do what is evil.”
See, Peter tells us directly to keep our lips from evil. Gossip and venting easily fall into that category. It’s all a heart thing. Both gossip and venting show something negative about our hearts. A wise man also directs us against using our mouths for these things.
Proverbs 17:27-28, 18: 2, 4, 6-8, 20-22
“The one who has knowledge restrains his words, and one who keeps a cool head is a person of understanding. Even a fool is considered wise when he keeps silent – discerning when he seals his lips….A fool does not delight in understanding, but only wants to show off his opinions….The words of a person’s mouth are deep waters, a flowing river, a fountain of wisdom….A fool’s lips lead to strife and his mouth provokes a beating. A fool’s mouth is his devastation and his lips are a trap for his life. A gossip’s words are like choice food that goes down to one’s innermost being….From the fruit of a person’s mouth his stomach is satisfied, he is filled with the product of his lips. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit. A man who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.”
Y’all, why on earth does that last verse about a man finding a wife follow immediately after “death and life are in the power of the tongue….”? I honestly don’t know. Honestly. However, I have to believe it’s not coincidence. Even if each of those verses are disconnected and are just disjointed thoughts, wow!
All of the gossip, all of the venting, all of this talk takes its toll on a person and takes its toll on a marriage. If I gossip about whomever or whatever, that goes straight down to my innermost being AND to Wade’s innermost being. If I am foolish for venting my anger and frustrations to Wade, what am I doing to him by expecting him to listen? These traits are not ones that affect me and me alone. This is a fact I am trying to do well to remember as of late.
Like, literally, most of these examples have happened in the past week!!!
It’s hard, guys. It’s hard, but it’s not impossible to control my tongue. This is where God comes in. He can help me. Trying to live in His image can help me. It can help me be a better person and a better wife.
The sad part is, I know that none of these behaviors is something a healthy Christian should do. I KNOW it. Still yet, I’ve justified it because he’s my husband. He’s my person. If I can’t tell it all to my husband, who else am I supposed to tell all of that to?
The answer? God.
We can tell it all to Jesus.
“You will call to me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.”
Listening to the world tell us who to be, how to be, and what to be is not something a Christian is supposed to do. Instead, we should be set apart. A city on a hill. Still yet, it’s difficult when some of what the world says seems to make sense.
Isn’t that just like Satan? He takes half truths and twists them until we don’t know what to do or how to do it in a godly way.
The world says it’s wrong to keep all your emotions bottled up. It’s unhealthy not to talk about our feelings.
The world is right in that respect.
I won’t discount the value of a good therapist. I fully believe God created some people with the discernment to listen to others and to help them. However, I would be remiss not to point out who is the Greatest Counselor.
If I feel frustrated about someone or something, I can bring that to Jesus. I can explain my frustration, lay it at His feet, and trust Him to help me deal with it. If I have heard personal information about someone, I can pray and ask God to change my heart so that I will not want to invite that type of gossip or spread those information to someone else, especially my husband. God is the Great Counselor and Prince of Peace. He can take all of those bottled up feelings and help us work through them. He can take those emotions and help shape them in a new light.
I needn’t contaminate the mindspace of my person, my husband, by dumping my garbage on him. If I need Wade to console me, it isn’t done through ranting or venting. It is done through asking for his advice about handling a situation. It is done through asking him to pray for or with me. It’s done through a change of perspective and heart. If I want Wade to help me relate to someone else better, I can’t do that by telling him gossip about that person. I can only do that by asking how he would handle a situation.
He IS my person. As such, I should protect that bond. Gossiping and venting don’t protect. They tear down.
He IS my person. I shouldn’t expect him to “help me drag a corpse across the living room floor” by joining in on gossip or giving audience to my venting. Instead, I should never put him in the situation to begin with.
Wade IS my person….for better, for worse. Here’s to trying to be better.