Family Matters

Brad Small

September 2017

There are several keys to a good marriage, but I have found over the years that communication might be at the top of the list. If I am not willing to communicate to my spouse, then the marriage deteriorates at a rapid pace. Sometimes it is as much of what you don’t say as what you say to your “better half.” Have you ever had one of those moments when you said something and immediately wished you could take the words hanging in the air back? There are some things to say to your spouse that will bless your marriage, and there are things to avoid saying. Here are 5 things you should never say to your spouse.

1. It’s your fault! Let’s face it, we will never get to a place in our relationship where we don’t fight anymore. However, there are healthy ways to fight. When you are at odds with your spouse, never assign blame! It never produces anything positive in the relationship. Your spouse is not the issue; the disagreement is the issue. Bring your spouse alongside you as a partner and attack the problem, not each other.

2. I hate you. Be careful what you say in moments of passion/anger. Critical words are never helpful in fixing a problem. “You always…” or “you never…” are often spoken out of a place of pain. You might be tempted to say harsh words thinking that it will “get her attention” and somehow let her know you need her to change something. But instead of motivating, harsh words often discourage your spouse from even hearing you or trying. Never allow an unfair accusation to enter your arguments. It is counterproductive and will sabotage your relationship.

3. I make more money than you. Please listen to this advice. This argument will never get you anywhere good. All it will do is divide and cause a sense of competition within the marriage. Competition is good on the football field, but it has no place in a healthy relationship. It shouldn’t matter who makes more; you should both feel empowered because the money is both of yours equally. As a team, you are working together for a common purpose. Be a team player in your finances.

4. Nothing at all. The silent treatment is an immature way to communicate that you’re upset about something. There is a place to reserve your words when you feel like you are too emotional, but there is a difference between the silent treatment and holding your tongue. Once you have your emotions in check, pick a good time to communicate how you feel and why you feel this way. When it’s not done out of reaction, this will bring a positive outcome. Counselors tell us that the silent treatment (stonewalling) is the single most hurtful thing you can do to your spouse in communication, and it is the number one communication habit that leads to a divorce. Simply refuse to stonewall others. It does incredible damage to the relationship.

5. Mention divorce. In a difficult season of marriage, it can be easy to think about divorce as a solution, even when it’s not the solution. It’s not uncommon to search for a way out of pain. However, if you stick with it and work it out, it is most often just a difficult season that will pass.Don’t ever mention the word divorce. My father once told me that if you never mention the word “divorce” you will never get one. Just don’t make divorce an option. When you threaten divorce, you may regret it.

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