If you are on social media or listening to the news, you know there are a lot of upsetting things being said these days. But what about the upsetting things we say to our partners? For example, I remember arguing with my husband a few years back. In a moment of anger, I said, “You are just like your father….” That hurt him, and it was completely unfair.

Look, all of us have said a few regretful words. But does that excuse our careless words? Do we carefully think about how our words can help or hurt our relationships? Or do we just let words fly. We should, as words are powerful. And good intentions don’t make up for saying upsetting things.

Here are 5 upsetting things to avoid saying to your partner:

  1. “I know exactly how you feel!” But do you? No one knows the intimate feelings someone else is experiencing given their unique circumstances and life experiences. Better to say, “Tell me what you feel” and then just listen.
  2. “I was only joking.” This statement raises suspicion. Were you only joking or is there some meaning behind what you said. When you say this because your partner is upset, just say, “That was a bad choice of words. I am sorry.” Don’t try to minimize the impact of insensitive jokes.
  3. “But you have such a pretty face.” Ok, this is code for the rest of you needs work. Most of us are sensitive about our weight so I would advise you don’t go there! An overweight person immediately thinks you are telling them they are fat. Think of a better way to compliment your partner.
  4. “Were you always this annoying or did you just become like this?” Ouch, there is no good way to rescue this awful statement so don’t use it. It’s indirect and mean-spirited. If you are frustrated with your partner’s behavior, say, “ I am feeling annoyed and it relates to something you just did.” This gets at this issue without being snarky.
  5. “You make me……” This is classic but in reality, no one makes you do anything or has the power to make you feel a certain way if you don’t let them. Own your feelings. Tie your feelings to something they said or did (a behavior) but say, “When you ______I felt disrespected.”

Proverbs 18:21 tells us that the tongue has the power of life and death. That is so true when it comes to growing our relationships. Our words matter. Let’s not use them to upset our partners, but rather, use our words to encourage and give life.

 

 

More from Beliefnet and our partners
previous posts