6 Phrases You Should Never Say to Your Spouse:
If you were to ask an old married couple for their secret to a successful marriage, the majority will probably tell you “good communication.” But what exactly does this mean?
In a piece for Psychology Today, psychotherapist Mel Schwartz claims that we often take for granted what our choice of words can actually mean. In other words, what and how we phrase things can easily be misconstrued by our partners. “By the time a few sentences have passed, we may have a totally missed-communication,” he says.
With that in mind, here’s six phrases you should delete from your vocabulary in order to avoid a relationship dust-up:
“You should (do this, or that).”
Telling your partner what they “should’ do can make them feel like you’re the boss of them. Ora Nadrich, a life coach and the author of “Says Who,” suggests a different approach: “A better way is to say, ‘It might be a good idea (to do this/that),’ or ‘Maybe you could (…),’ or ‘You might want to think about/consider/try (…).’”
“I hate when you … “
“Hate” is a harsh word, so starting a sentence off with “hate” can come off aggressive or angry. If you want to voice your feelings of displeasure or dissatisfaction, say, “It doesn’t make me feel good when you (do this, or say that),” or, “It bothers me when you (…), or “I feel disrespected, or not listened to, when you (…),” says Nadrich. Keep the focus on how YOU feel, and don’t point fingers.
“Do (this)” and “Get (that).”
Remember, manners matter. You don’t want to sound like an ungrateful master ordering around a servant. Take a lesson from your kindergarten teacher and use “please,” “thank you” and may I.” Try rewording your requests by saying something like, “You know I adore it when you (…),” or “I so appreciate it when you (…).”
“If you use phrases that predict that the other person will do your request — and do it nicely — you’re more likely to get it,” adds relationship expert and psychotherapist Dr. Karen Ruskin.
“It’s all your fault.”
Even if your partner is 100 percent to blame, casting that blame only adds insult to injury. Before accusing, Nadrich suggests you examine your own actions to make sure you didn’t contribute to the unpleasant outcome. Then, you can address fault by saying something like, “You might have tried to think through (that problem) more carefully,” or “I hope this has opened your eyes so we can avoid this (…) in the future.”
“You always do (this).”
Telling your partner that they always do something can sound like you’re judging them, and nobody’s in a relationship to be judged. If you find that they do something that frequently bothers you, a better way to say it could be, “It seems like you’ve been doing this more often,” or “This has been coming up a lot lately.”
“You’re never going to (do this or that, or be this or that).”
Besides sounding snobby or downright mean, telling your partner that they’re never going to be something they aspire to be, or be able to do something they aspire to do, is basically telling them that they’re never going to change. As frustrated as you may be with your partner’s habits or annoying mannerisms, it’s better to encourage by saying, “Why don’t you try this?” or “You’ve been doing it that way for a long time, and might want to consider doing it differently,” or even “I know you can do this.”
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