Have you ever said something to your spouse and then immediately thought to yourself..."Ummmm...I didn't actually say that out loud just then did I?!" I think we've all been there and sometimes we can say the most hurtful things to the people we love the most.
Whoever said "Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me," didn't know what they were talking about! The truth is that our words can make or break our relationships and we need to commit to using our words wisely. You can communicate your message without being mean or sarcastic and if you approach your spouse in a supportive and encouraging way, your message is going to be received much better.
For the health of your marriage, you need to remove some words and phrases from your vocabulary. Here are some practical ways to get started...
DON'T SAY: "Have you gained weight?"
If they're gaining weight, they already know it without you pointing it out. Instead of drawing attention to the weight, try suggestion healthier options for meals or going on walks together to promote ways you can spend time together and both get healthier at the same time. Be their biggest cheerleader; not their biggest critic!
DON'T SAY: "You Always..." or "You Never..."
When we're trying to make a point, we often make hurtful allegations about our spouse that exaggerate the truth. "Always" and "Never" can be dangerous words. If you do say the words "You always..." or "You never...", make sure you say something positive, like "You always know how to make me smile." Instead of something negative like "You always make everything so complicated" or "You never do anything to help me."
DON'T SAY: Anything mean, degrading or disrespectful.
OK, I know I just listed a whole bunch of things with this one, but the important point is that you need to always keep a positive tone in your words if you want to maintain a positive tone in your marriage. Once you say a word, you can't take it back, so be very careful about each word you speak to each other. A marriage can't have too much encouragement or too little criticism.
DON'T SAY: "Divorce"
The "D-Word" shouldn't be part of your vocabulary. Don't use it as a threat or as an option. There's no intimacy in marriage without complete commitment and there can be no true commitment if you have even the threat of an exit strategy. Remember, a "perfect marriage" is just two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each other!
This article was originally published on Patheos. It has been republished here with permission.