Early in my marriage to Sarah my wife now of nine years, I didn’t always use my words to her in a godly way. Looking back at the first years of marriage, I can now see clearly that it was all of God’s grace that we stayed together. God was at work in my life, I had a lot of room for growth, and still do! The Lord was teaching me at this time, and still is the truth contained in Colossians 3:12-14.

The critical key to what Paul is saying in Colossians 3 is in verse 16, “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.” The Word of God is essential. The Scriptures play a fundamentally important role in strengthening a man’s heart not to go off the rails. Without the Word dwelling in a man, he will not sustain his growth in godliness. Wise men recognize this, and, therefore, permeate themselves with Scripture.

The Greek word Paul uses in Colossians 3:19 is pikrainō which means “to make bitter or to produce a bitter taste in the stomach.” It can also mean to “render angry, to indignant, to be embittered, irritated.”

You might read that definition and think, “Yes I’ve been harsh with my wife” but as Christians, we don’t wallow in our guilt and shame. Instead, we confess our sin and make a beeline to the finished work of Jesus.

Jesus has invited us into His Story. The story of God in His Word is where we as men learn to do what God requires because He’s replaced our heart of stone with a new heart, with new desires and affections for Him. We won’t ever have it “all together”. Instead, over time through repentance and growth individually and in community with one another, we’ll steadily grow in His grace.

We can do this by independently reading, studying, and meditating on His Word. We also do this by coming not only on Sunday but also by participating in a small group or one at one of the men’s Bible studies at your local church.

Perhaps even just a few seconds ago you were harsh or made your wife irritated. Our words and actions have an effect on our wives. We need to go before the Lord and confess our sin to Him, who is faithful to forgive and cleanse us (1 John 1:9). Instead of being harsh let’s do as Paul says in Colossians 3:12-14 and put on compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Then our wife will begin to see that our actions match our words and give glory to God that we are growing in His grace.