What you should and shouldn’t say in your relationship
Do you ever regret what you said, either because it came out ten times worse than what you thought it would, or it wasn’t thought through? Yeah, been there.
Communicating the right way way with your spouse will define the health of your relationship in many ways. It’s always good to share your feelings, but when it’s done the wrong way, or even at the wrong time, it’s most likely what you intended for good, will be received incorrectly.
It’s with this notion I came up with a list of common things that are said in relationships that are destructive, so we can come up with something better, in order to get our point across without causing the other person to become defensive.
In most cases when someone communicates during an argument, they are singlehandedly trying to convince the other person to look at things form their point of view. Trying to convince someone of something is exactly the problem here — unhealthy tactics will begin to replace the good willed sharing of your heart.
How we say something; when we say something will make all the difference in communicating effectively with your husband or wife.
1.DON’T SAY — “I DON’T BELIEVE YOU.”
Trust is one of the most important things in a relationship, if not the most important. When the trust is broken, it can be quite the hurdle to overcome that will have to be taken on by both parties; the one who broke the trust and the one who got hurt.
While it is important for the one who broke the trust to show transparency and prove that they are trustworthy, it is also important for the one who got hurt to communicate that it isn’t always easy to trust again, while giving the other person the benefit of the doubt.
If we use ultimatums that express hopelessness, it may prove difficult for the one who broke the trust to believe you will ever see them as trustworthy.
Perhaps you can give them the benefit of the doubt, but when you can’t, how should you express it in a way that is letting that person know you have hope to trust again but you’re just struggling?
SAY — “I REALLY WANT TO BELIEVE YOU, BUT I’M HAVING A HARD TIME.”
If you’re struggling to trust or forgive someone, check out my articles about trusting and/or forgiveness.
If you can’t forgive, your trust won’t rebuild. You will never forget when trust has been broken, but by forgiving you can finally put it behind you and begin to heal yourself and your relationship.
2.DON’T SAY — “YOU’RE OVERREACTING” OR “YOU’RE OUT OF CONTROL.”
In any relationship when two people care about one another, things are bound to get heated. It’s normal, and some might say — a good thing. Arguing can be a healthy way to clear the air, but only if done appropriately.
In the heat of the moment, this is unequivocally easier said than done, and before you both know it, you’re in a full-blown fight.
One of the worst things to say is ” you’re out of control,” or anything that hints that the other person is beginning to head in a heated direction. The last thing they need to be told is that what they are feeling and saying is invalid.
It may be true that they are getting a little too fired up, but what should be said in order to bring things down, instead of fire it up?
SAY — “I UNDERSTAND YOU’RE UPSET, BUT IT SEEMS LIKE YOU’RE GETTING FRUSTRATED. SHOULD WE TAKE A BREAK AND REVISIT THIS AFTER WE’VE COOLED DOWN?”
Not only will this make them realize they need to cool it, it won’t completely neglect what they are trying to communicate. Taking a break when things are getting out of control is possibly the best thing you can do. It may not be the easiest, but trust me, it helps.
3. DON’T SAY — “WHAT’S WRONG?”
One of the most common things said in any relationship is “what’s wrong?” I find myself saying it before I realize it. The motive behind it is not necessarily amiss, it’s perhaps the fact that it is automatically making an assumption, and the receiving party will most likely begin to put up their defenses.
So, what should we say instead that doesn’t assume something is wrong, but rather shows our real intention behind the question, which is, “I care about you.”
SAY — “IS EVERYTHING OKAY?”
Yep, that’s it. You are basically asking the same exact thing, but something completely different. It’s not assuming, it’s assuring them that you are there, ready to hear what is on their heart.
4. DON’T SAY — “NOTHING“ — WHEN ASKED IF EVERYTHING IS OKAY.
I do this ALL the time and will admit — if I don’t want to talk about something, it’s the first thing I say. Avoiding it altogether is sometimes easier than saying, “yeah somethings up, but I don’t want to talk about it.”
It can send a red flag to the other person who is a bit too eager to find out what they did to upset you, but then in essence that becomes their problem if they can’t accept that. Instead…
SAY — “YES, SOMETHING’S BOTHERING ME, BUT I DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT JUST YET. CAN WE TALK ABOUT IT LATER?”
They then have the responsibility to respect your decision not to talk about it quite yet. They need to, by you saying, “not just yet,” be reassured that what is going on will be revisited and nor ignored or shoved under the rug.
It’s not healthy to display your frustration about something without expressing to your partner what’s up. But needing time to process it and consider what needs to be said is probably the best option at the time. Most miscommunications and arguments come from talking about something that isn’t near ready to be discussed.
5. DON’T SAY — “I’M DONE” OR “IT’S OVER!”
Sure, we’ve all been there — at the end of our ropes, not really knowing what to do about the dire situation our relationship is in. When we feel fear of something happening we react one of two ways. Fight or flight.
When our emotions are in full swing, flight is usually the one that seems ideal, so we go into “protection of our heart” mode and the only way out is…well, out. After things have cooled down and you have said some more things you shouldn’t, you realize you don’t actually want out, you want a resolution to a problem and your emotions got the better of you.
What should we have said that we can take note on for next time that expresses how we feel, but doesn’t hurt the other person?
SAY — “I’M NOT FEELING SO GREAT ABOUT HOW THINGS ARE BETWEEN US. I WOULD LIKE IF WE CAN FIGURE OUT A WAY TO WORK THROUGH THIS BECAUSE I’M HAVING A HARD TIME.”
Again, it’s important to express how you feel. After all, there is something that has happened between the two of you that caused you to react that way, and ignoring it won’t solve anything.
Relationships are HARD and take a lot of work. It’s no news to you. If your partner is not willing to work through the tough stuff, you at least can do that for yourself. Hopefully, they are willing to get counseling or do whatever it takes but don’t let the deeper issues in your relationship or your heart fester.