It’s About Time to Talk


Ssshhh!Around our house we have “no talk” rules. “Don’t talk to me through the bathroom door,” my wife says. “Don’t talk to me when I first get up,” says Josh, my middle son. Recently, when my eldest son Ryan was having some intestinal pain, he warned, “Don’t talk to me when you see me come out of the bathroom.”


Whew. It can be hard to keep track of when it’s okay to say a word, edgewise or otherwise. Me? You can talk to me anytime. Except when I’m focussed on a project—forget it, I may not even hear you. Except when I’m agitated—best not, unless, in the words of Monty Python, you’ve purchased the five-minute argument. And definitely not when I’m exhausted—especially if it’s to ask me to do or remember something.


The Bible has it right, “There is a time for everything… a time to be silent and a time to speak” (Ecclesiastes 3:1,7). Some “no talk” rules are a good application of biblical truth. Timing can be everything. “A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver” (Proverbs 25:11). Some “no talk” rules, however, are the result of shame, stemming from abuse or compulsion. If you grew up in a shame-based family, you know firsthand how difficult it can be to think correctly about the distinction between privacy and secrecy. It can be a daily challenge to break the chain and invite honest communication within our homes about sensitive subjects.


Regardless of your family situation, it’s worth considering if it’s “time to speak.” Are you harboring resentment toward your spouse or child? Are you aware of their anger about something toward you? If so, find an appropriate time to give them “apples of gold in a setting of silver.” It’ll make the moments of silence truly golden.

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