The power of the tongue is amazing. No wonder Proverbs observes that “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” (Proverbs 18:21). Sadly, I’ve often used my tongue and unintentionally crushed a loved one’s spirit.
There’s a principle—the “HALT!” principle—that I wish I had known as a teen, and especially as a young bride. Practicing it would’ve saved me from countless conflicts, I’m sure. Here’s how it works in relation to our tongue. Restrain your words (or more bluntly—shut your mouth) and delay conversations when you are:
- H – Hungry
- A – Angry
- L – Lonely
- T – Tired
This works for all relationships, but as an example, you may be tempted to unload the frustrations of your day on your husband as soon as he walks in from a long day on the job.
Although you may be bursting at the seams to vent, be sensitive to the fact that your man may be tired. He may have faced many challenges through the course of his day, as well. Grant him time and grace to relax, refuel, and recharge, before entering a conversation which will require much energy.
This principle is not for “sweeping things under the rug” or for avoiding difficult conversations, but should be used as a protective device for times when it would be best to delay a conversation with heavy content which could lead to conflict or emotional meltdowns.
Ask Him for the grace to HALT! before speaking... after all, one of the fruits the Holy Spirit produces in us is self-control (Galatians 5:22-33)!