The words we say to people can either make or mar them and this is the reason we are advised to think before we speak. Words spoken can never be retrieved and you cannot begin to imagine the level of effect your words can have, whether good or bad. I read an article this morning titled “10 Statements That Will Change Your Marriage” on ibelieve.com as written by a contributing writer, Sue Schlesman and I decided to share this excerpt with you:
The reality of married life is that we all settle into negative and positive communication. Both kinds of communication change a marriage, for either bad or good. Both can set you on a high-speed chase toward either disappointment or satisfaction.
Here are 5 Negative Statements to Avoid:
“You always… /You never…”
While it may seem like your husband never puts down the toilet seat or your wife never gets ready on time, making “always” and “never” accusations puts your spouse in a defensive posture. It’s an attack, which means the person being attacked will go into fight/flight/or freeze mode because he/she feels threatened. And because the threats are emanating from a spousal relationship, hurt and distrust will be sown into the marriage. Be careful not to pigeonhole, over-exaggerate, or misinterpret your spouse’s actions. Nobody does the same thing all the time. Pointing out an annoyance with “always” or “never” creates a combative environment and will certainly not encourage changed behavior. An alternative action toward annoyances is to have honest conversation.
“If you _____________, I’ll divorce you.”
This statement is a threat and a signal that your commitment to the marriage is conditional. Your intention might be to draw boundaries or give a warning, but you’re really saying, “Measure up to my standards, or you will prove yourself unworthy of me.” That’s not a “til-death-do-us-part” promise or a covenant with God. When catastrophes happen in your marriage, seek wise counsel until the issues can be worked out. Divorce is a solution that could make your life more complicated, and not necessarily happier.
“We never should have gotten married.”
Many people, during rough patches of married life, wonder if they married the wrong person. Perhaps that’s why you take vows on your wedding day—to make sure you don’t jump ship in high waters. When you start to worry, focus instead on learning to become a better person and better partners to each other. Marriage is work for everyone. But believing that your spouse isn’t good enough for you or that you could do better sets you up to make the same mistake again with your next choice.
“I told you that you shouldn’t _________.”
Any version of “I told you so” passes blame and responsibility to the other person and claims superiority for oneself. It means you’re too proud to consider your contribution to the misunderstanding. That’s not exactly a friendly atmosphere for communication or problem-solving. If you retaliate or blame your spouse, you are showing disrespect, thus driving a bigger wedge between you.
“My mother was right about you.”
Similar to “I never should have married you,” this one adds another punch—shame—(i.e. my mother hates you, and we’ve talked about it a lot). Using relatives as ammunition against your spouse communicates a collective idea that your spouse will never amount to anything, and everybody knows it. Even if you resolve things between you, you’ve planted the seed that he/she will never please your family. You have taken a hack-saw to his/her self-image and a possible good relationship with your family.
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