By Katie Taylor
As I drove home from work fuming, I could feel the anger building up from the little exasperating moments. When I walked in the door, I immediately asked my husband if I could vent. I’ll never forget his loving but firm no and gentle correction that we needed to have a holy and constructive conversation. He requested we call the Holy Spirit into our discussion and look for practical ways to make a positive difference.
As a verbal processor, the fix-it attitude of my husband can sometimes be frustrating. I believed my work environment was impossible to change. However, as we took a calming walk, we came up with some tangible solutions that made a substantial difference.
It is incredible what intentional surrender to the Holy Spirit can produce.
Slow to Speak
Today’s first reading highlights, “everyone should be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger for anger does not accomplish…If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, his religion is vain” (James 1:19-20, 26). What a challenge. Oh, how this can apply in our work lives, relationships, mothering, and marriages.
In all of these situations, I can allow my pride to build into unrighteous anger, spilling over into an uncontrolled outpouring of thoughts and words. How often as women do we get together and enter into venting dialogue. But to be honest, does venting ever solve the problem, or do I brood in anger? These negative conversations can take many forms, but far too often, it focuses on belittling our husbands — their lack of laundry, cooking, shopping, child care, and multitasking skills.
We drag them down to build ourselves up. But, this action is to speak directly against a Sacrament. Our marriage is holy; it is something we must protect.
Therapeutic Look at the Narrative
I love the concepts of narrative therapy. It proposes the idea that the stories we tell ourselves become our reality. So if I tell myself that tonight when I go to a social event with a group of women that will judge me, seeing a flaw I see in myself, and it won’t be any fun, then when I go guarded, and this becomes my reality.
However, if I acknowledge that we are all a little too focused on ourselves, with our concerns, and that tonight can be a fun point of support, an opportunity to love on someone, it becomes my reality. So what narrative am I creating at work, among friends, with family, or in my marriage? Do I speak of and to my husband with the respect and love I would want of him? By speaking truth, we can help produce greater patience and understanding, controlling our anger and bridling our tongues and thoughts.
So the next time you face the temptation to join in on the belittling girl talk, venting or just negative self-talk, stop, breathe, and respond.
- Review the stories you tell yourself: are they real and life-giving? If not, change the narrative. Go to Jesus, who is light and truth.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to come into a constructive conversation removing the anger and desire to vent or gossip. Surrender the situation to him, asking for his wisdom, guidance, and counsel.
About the author:
Katie Taylor is a WINE at Ease Specialist, who has a passion for Jesus and women’s ministry. She graduated from the United States Air Force Academy and earned a Masters in Counseling with a concentration in marriage and family from Liberty University. Katie is the wife of an Active Duty fighter pilot and mother of two incredible young children. She serves as a Natural Family Planning teacher, Bible study leader, Pietra Fitness instructor, spiritual coach, and previous RCIA director. Her passions include skiing, horseback riding, the outdoors, cooking, and working out.