You Never/You Always: Let’s face it. People make mistakes, often the same ones over and over again. But, no one likes to have their actions grouped into one clump. If your spouse is always late and you’re sick of waiting, talk about the problem, but refrain from saying “You Never” and “You Always”. When we jump to generalizations we often forget the times the other person tried to change and we insult the efforts that they are making. “You Never” and “You Always” have no place in a fight.
This Is All Your Fault: When you got married, you became a team. Telling your spouse that something is all their fault creates disunity. Your spouse probably already feels bad about what happened; rubbing in the guilt won’t fix anything. When things go badly (and they will) look for solutions instead of placing blame. It doesn’t matter who caused the problem. Find a way to fix it together.
You Shouldn’t Care About That: If your spouse cares about something, you should too, even if it makes no sense to you. Whether they are distraught that their favorite team didn’t make the playoffs this year ( a frequent occurrence for my husband, as the Dallas Cowboys will never get to the Superbowl with Tony Romo as the quarterback), are fretting about a lost promotion at work, or hate the way their new haircut looks, find a way to appreciate your spouse’s feelings. You don’t have to feel the same way, but you do need to understand that feelings are important and need to be respected.
Tell Your Mommy/Daddy: Fights are between you and your spouse, not the whole family. Keep your kids out of the battlefield, both for their sake and the sake of your marriage. Asking your children to take sides or pass messages along is never a good idea. This doesn’t mean you have to hide disagreements from your children. Let your children see how you resolve problems together. Always make sure that your children know how important your family and your marriage is. Give them a good example for their future homes.
Last Year You: When a fight is over, let it go. It is easy to dredge up past mistakes during a fight, but this only takes away from the current issue. Instead of building anger and focusing on issues you’ve already resolved, direct your focus to the current disagreement. What is the problem? Why are you hurt? How can you fix things? Things that happened last year, last month, and even last week don’t matter anymore.
You’re Crazy: We’ve all had our crazy moments, but that doesn’t mean we are crazy. Build up your spouse with love, rather than insults. Ditch the demeaning terms and stop throwing insults. How can you express your frustration without name calling? If all you can think of are insults, take a break from the discussion for a few minutes and refocus.
Maybe You Never Should Have Married Me: Marriage is about making compromises and phrases like, “Maybe you never should have married me,” make it seem like you’re unwilling to change. What problem does your spouse have? How can you fix it together? Have confidence in yourself and your marriage. Who wouldn’t want to be married to you? Be the kind of spouse you want to have and don’t insult yourself or your marriage by saying you’re not worth the effort.
You’re Just Like Your Mother/Father: This fighting phrase packs a dual blow. When you accuse your spouse of being like one of their parents, you not only insult your spouse, but also their parent too. This can lead to hurt feelings, resentment, and potentially even family problems down the line. There’s nothing wrong with pointing out a problem, but talk about the issue, not how the issue relates to Mom or Dad. It is generally best to keep negative feelings about parents to yourself. After all, they helped to raise the spouse you love so much.
I Hate You: At times a marriage feels like a roller coaster of passion. Moments of intense happiness turn almost instantly into moments of deep frustration. Get off the ride. Love your spouse all of the time, even when they make mistakes. Saying, “I hate you” makes a problem personal. You can hate the actions, but always love the person and make sure they know.
I Want a Divorce: Unless you actually want a divorce, don’t ever tell your spouse that you want one. This erodes their faith in your union, making them feel insecure in your marriage, long after the fight is over. Make sure your spouse knows how much you want to be married to them. Help them feel secure in your love, knowing that you will always be there. Threatening divorce makes it so much easier to one day give up. Rather than asking for a divorce you don’t want, tell your spouse how committed you are to making things work. Let them know you’re in it for the long haul.
One Thing You Should ALWAYS Say- I’m Sorry
While we’re on the topic of what not to say, let’s talk about something you should say, and often. After a fight tell your spouse that you’re sorry. Let them know that you don’t like to argue. Make sure they know that you care. It doesn’t matter who is right and who is wrong; in a fight, both sides usually carry a bit of the blame.