4 Reasons Why Biting Your Tongue Can Be Healthy in Marriage

In every healthy marriage, you’ll find that there are times when you need to bite your tongue. (The same is true for your spouse!) Maybe you and your spouse don’t agree on a topic you both hold close to your hearts. Perhaps you’re working through a difficult time and you’re both feeling stressed.

Maybe you’re angry, and you need to cool down before you open your mouth. Or perhaps you hold a strong opinion or expectation that your spouse doesn’t share. Whatever the case, there will come a time when you have to choose between speaking up, or keeping silent while things play out.

It can take a tremendous amount of discipline to remain silent when all you want to do is spew your feelings. But sometimes, keeping quiet for just a little while can make the difference between a major conflict, and a slight bump in the road.

How can biting your tongue benefit your marriage?

1. You become a better listener

When you commit to practicing silence in your marriage, it gives you the chance to digest the things that your spouse is saying–especially during a conflict. Too often, we’re more concerned with what we’re going to say next rather than hearing our spouse out. This causes us not only to speak before we listen; it also causes us to speak before we think.

So many conflicts and fights are avoidable, except that, in the heat of the moment, spouses tend not to listen to one another. Practicing the art of biting your tongue gives you the chance to fully appreciate your spouse’s point of view. It also allows you to carefully form your opinions and stances based on a more complete knowledge of your spouse’s.

The skill of listening well will help you in more areas than just conflict resolution. It will help you retain the information that your spouse tells you–even everyday details like appointments, errands, and tasks that need to get done at home. This will lessens frustration and increases satisfaction across the board in your marriage.

2. You cultivate empathy

Listening well and understanding your spouse’s point of view cultivates a deep sense of empathy in you. We can overcome deep divides in our marriages through empathy. Even when two spouses disagree with one another completely and find themselves at an impasse, empathy allows them to see and understand each other’s point of view.

When you walk a mile in your spouse’s shoes, you’re less likely to be critical and demanding. You’re more likely to embrace your spouse’s differences because you understand your spouse on a deeper level. You’re more likely to be forgiving and to extend grace and patience to him or her. And deep understanding can become reciprocal over time. When your spouse accepts grace from you, they’re more likely to offer it in return.

3. You practice patience

Good listening begets patience. In fact, patience is a direct byproduct of being a better listener. And as you cultivate more patience with your spouse, you’ll find that it extends into every area of your life.

Patience is a crucial ingredient for a happy marriage and lifelong love. There is no end to its benefits, and it pays dividends when practiced generously. We all have shortcomings. And when we’re married to someone, their shortcomings are more obvious to us as time goes by. We can either choose to point these issues out to our spouse, nagging them and pushing them to make changes. Or we can choose to wait with patience while our spouse works through their issue. In some cases (though not all), waiting patiently is the best approach to exacting positive change.

Having abundance and generous patience with your spouse can mean the difference between regular, avoidable conflict and measurable, positive change. Patience will cultivate a sense of peace in your home, as well as preventing resentment and hostility from taking root.

4. You create peace and diffuse hostility

There are times when being a peacemaker requires speaking up. In fact, sometimes, silence is not golden. But most of the time, biting your tongue creates peace.

Speaking to our spouse in anger generates resentment and hostility. When we bite our tongues, we keep ourselves from saying things that feed these hard feelings. A home full of nagging, arguing, and fighting is a stressful, unhappy place to live. But a marriage where the husband and wife speak kindly to one another and remain silent when they’re tempted to lash out is the home of lifelong love.

In the coming week, how will you practice mindful silence in your marriage? Is there a time when biting your tongue has served your marriage well? Leave us a comment below and tell us about it.


  • Kristen says:

    This was very helpful. I will practice more active listening in order to hear and process what is fully said and thoughtfully respond, instead of formulating my response before I’ve heard all that is being said.

  • Trina says:

    Thank you for this reminder. Patience is not my strong suit. I need to read this more often so I can show more love to my spouse of almost 45 years. I do think that biting your tongue becomes even more difficult as couples grow old together.

  • cher says:

    keeping silent gets me two things: yelled at for being silent (even if there would be no acceptable response anyway) and a chance to hear more renditions of the same rant. It is hardly a panacea. Listening to vulgar and angry speech doesn’t create empathy, only misery. Still, being silent is better than adding to the noise.

    • Maria says:

      I know from first hand experience what you are talking about. Sounds all to familiar. Definitely not a panacea. I am praying for you.

    • Anne says:

      Cher, you’re right; listening to vulgar, angry speech does create misery. But I don’t think that is the sort of “fight” that this article is referencing; I think they mean more a strong disagreement. What you’re describing sounds toxic . From your words, I perceive that you are being goaded into participating in the fight, especially if you choose not to. You need to have some tactics to help protect you from emotional assault; being yelled at is an unacceptable method of communication, especially with a spouse. It is not love to allow someone to continually berate you; the most loving thing to do is stop them, either by refusing to engage or by physically walking away, if you need to. Would a “go-to” phrase help? “I can’t talk to you when you are this upset / angry;” “I am not feeling safe in this conversation and need to leave; we can revisit this at (future time);” “I have heard what you have to say, and do not appreciate you continuing to repeat unkind words against me.” I’m a strong advocate for counseling; couples’ counseling would be ideal, but if your spouse refuses to go it could be hugely beneficial for you, offering techniques you can apply to protect yourself from these verbal attacks. Best of luck to you.

    • Tasha says:

      I can definitely understand where you’re coming from. I am the silent type in my marriage but also I know when to fight fire with fire to snuff out the hostility. For example my spouse decided to speak out of anger and he expected me to retaliate with anger but my fire snuffed out his anger with what I call “kind fire” I just gave him the stare down and said “you’re words is creating a storm of pessimism. Let’s agree to disagree on the topic and come back to it when we both can discuss it without become angry.” Normally that helps. But I wish you all the luck in the world and may your marriage flourish through whatever storm you may face.

  • Tom says:

    And she’s truly excellent advice! As I read through the value points of remaining silent during certain types of conversation, I’m reminded of the great investment both she & I have already made in our marriage! This alone merits the benefits that will come from me biting my lip. GREAT to see Les in Anaheim two weeks ago!

  • Tom says:

    This is truly excellent advice! As I read through the value points of remaining silent during certain types of conversation, I’m reminded of the great investment both she & I have already made in our marriage! This alone merits the benefits that will come from me biting my lip. GREAT to see Les in Anaheim two weeks ago!

  • Dres says:

    I too have had that experience. What I finally realized is that my wife is feeling out of control and angry she wants me to be out of control and angry too. By remaining silent and giving only measured replies, I am staying above the anger cycle of the other person.

  • Dave says:

    Then your spouse gets even more agitated because you’ve maintained your own composure or accuses you of not caring, both parties need to be onboard with the tongue biting approach . My ex wife wasn’t

    • Bryan says:

      I hear you, I went through the same thing with my ex wife. She has the mindset of I have to speak my mind regardless if it hurts others or not and would constantly goad me into arguing in the heat of the moment and would mock me calling me a coward when I’d walk away. Not realizing that the reason I was walking away was to avoid losing my temper with her and lashing back at her saying things I didn’t mean. Eventually I got tired of the unhealthy relationship and had to walk away for good.

  • Alex says:

    Thank you for this, great follow up material to Money & Marriage as an engaged couple 4 months from saying “I do”. I’m super grateful for the insight and tools.

  • Bridget says:

    Thank you for these points. I have been praying for peace, which I already have in Christ. Therefore, that peace that comes from Him needs to reign in my heart and out of me for my husband. It is SO difficult to bite my tongue, but I have gotten better, thank you Jesus! I pray that I will continue to be all that God wants me to be, especially to my husband. Thanks again!

  • Marion says:

    Sometimes one yells and emotionally abuses others as a coping mechanism. He or she may already be experiencing mental health challenges that require attention. Meantime, the more stable spouse maintains the peace by biting his/her tongue but need not risk his/her life by tolerating what might eventually lead to physical and other forms of domestic or gender based violence abuse.

  • Desiree Custis says:

    Hi everybody I’m newlywed 10-20-18 and I understand the importance of being quiet, hearing you spouse out shows that you respect what he or she has to say and by actively listening gives you the opportunity to understand your spouse on a deeper level, the hard part is listening when you don’t agree with what he or she is saying but you still have to listen and remain silent Nd take everything to the lord in 🙏🏽 be blessed everyone Nd cheers to a healthy long lasting marriage ❤️❤️

  • BJ says:

    I wanted the perfect marriage, so for numerous years, I’d never disagree with my husband. I’ve been told by people, including my husband, that I’m a good listener. But now, after I’ve listened, I gently speak my opinion. It’s almost always followed up with his sarcastic comment, “of course I’m wrong. I’ll just never do that again” – what I call the all or nothing approach. So once again I hate to ever say my opinion if it’s different

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