Negative and hurtful statements can have the power to cut through the very fabric of the bond between two people in love. Words can damage and potentially destroy the foundation of your relationship. Make no mistake about it, words matter.
While we have learned many lessons over the past 30 years from the thousands of happily married couples we have interviewed, one of the most interesting is about the importance of the words to our relationships.
The advice from these great couples about the five things you should NEVER say to your spouse once again demonstrates why these couples are role models for all who want to stay happily married.
NEVER say these five things to your spouse:
1. I told you so! Trust us on this – these four words are rarely ever used in successful marriages. This kind of “comeuppance” has no place in a loving relationship. There is no need to remind your spouse that you were right about something and they were wrong. Talk about wasted criticism.
2. It’s your fault! Sometimes, a financial decision goes bad, one of your children gets in trouble at school, or some household calamity occurs. And know this – things do go bad from time to time in any relationship. Decisions turn out wrong. Stuff happens! But the blame game never works! It alienates. It divides. It most certainly undermines trust and openness in your relationship.
3. Why do you always . . . Focusing on your spouse’s weakness rather than building on their strengths will only increase their weakness and diminish their strength. This habit can send a relationship into a downward spiral if weaknesses are pointed out and commented upon. Success does breed success. Stick with the strengths and don’t focus on weakness.
4. Saying “I am mad at you about . . . ” in a public setting. Criticizing your spouse in public or to someone else can do permanent damage to the trust in your relationship. True or not – it doesn’t matter. Keep private things private.
5. Seriously? Talk about a conversation stopper. “Seriously” is an automatic put-down. It assumes that you think your partner is wrong and instantly puts them in their place.
Since saying negative or hurtful things can be damaging to a loving relationship. it is wise to take extra caution before engaging your mouth when these negative thoughts come to your mind.
Here are four questions to ask yourself before you speak:
1. Will my comment hurt? Sometimes we just blurt out things that are hurtful or negative without thinking about their impact.