7 Phrases to Avoid in Your Marriage

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Hello, newlyweds! I’m thrilled to be chatting with you today with this new blog post: 7 Phrases to Avoid in Your Marriage. I think it’s safe to assume that we all have the best of intentions when it comes to interacting with our spouse. We want to love, support, and improve our relationship, not hurt it. However, there are 7 common phrases that I see used far too often in relationships, that are sure-fire methods to causing tension and problems. If you can approach communicating with your spouse with more intentionality, aiming to avoid these common phrases, your marriage will be in a much better place. Read on for the Top 7 phrases to avoid in your marriage.

“Never” and “Always”

This was one of the first pieces of marriage advice I received, and one of the most effective phrases to avoid in your marriage. You see, the phrases, “always” and “never” are guaranteed to put your spouse into legal mode. Rather than apologizing for hurting you, he or she will search their memories until they can find one time that they did or did not do that thing you mentioned. It puts you and your partner on opposite teams and your spouse will immediately become defensive.

Instead, try, “I’ve noticed ____ action more often lately, and it’s made me feel hurt in ____ way.” This places the focus on how actions have made you feel, rather than how your partner has failed.

“You’re Too Sensitive”

This phrase is a classic case of character assassination, and this will never, I repeat never, go well for you! In fact, using a phrase like this is almost a definite way to make your spouse react even more sensitively than before.

If you sense your partner is becoming sensitive and this is overwhelming to you or preventing healthy communication between you two, you’re much better off to suggest a break in the conversation to cool down. A great way to suggest this is, “honey I love you so much, and I’m sensing both of us are becoming overwhelmed. I don’t want to say anything hurtful or anything I might regret; I want us to continue to communicate as a team. I’m going to take half an hour to take a walk and calm down my feelings. Can we try to have this conversation again afterwards?”

Woman sitting on the floor, with her back resting against a couch. Woman hides behind her hair and has her arms up over her face in overwhelm.

“Calm Down”

This is a key phrase to avoid in your relationship, as it typically takes people back to their childhood when their parents would reprimand them for expressing big feelings. You don’t want to send your spouse back to their childhood, as it will often cause them to react like they did when they were a child (unhealthily throwing tantrums or running away from the conversation). In addition, phrases like these can suggest someone isn’t welcome to feel their feelings with you.

In relationships, it’s so important that both partners feel welcome to fully express themselves, feel the full weight of their emotions, communicate vulnerability, and feel safe doing all these things in the presence of their spouse. If either partner does not feel safe or accepted being themselves with their spouse, it is sure to cause challenges down the road. Please don’t make your partner feel this way. Accept them, validate them for being the complex person they are, hold space for their emotions, and help them feel safe with you.

“You Made Me…”

This is phrase to avoid in your marriage is one that gets under my skin! It’s important you realize that no one forces you to make the choices you do. That’s on you; you are accountable for your choices, and absolutely no one else.

Instead, you can try statements like, “I felt this way when you did this. Because I was uncomfortable feeling this way, I made a mistake with my actions and did this. I apologize for that. I’d like to work together to find healthier ways to deal with our hurt with each other.”

couple pointing fingers at each other

“I’ve Done ____ and ____, so Now It’s Your Turn to Step Up”

Here we are with a fantastic example of keeping score, which is so hurtful to a marriage! In marriage, you and your spouse are a team, so you need to quickly get in the habit of not keeping score. This is a top phrase to avoid in your relationship, as it’s a method that’s guaranteed to put your partner on the defense and turn on legal mode, with your spouse trying to prove all that they’ve sacrificed for the relationship. Your goal is to remain a team in all things, so you do not want to practice keeping score in your marriage. Trust me, it won’t end well for anyone involved.

“But”

When you say “but”, it suggests the other statement cannot be true. The reality is that in most situations, both statements can be true. You and your spouse can have conflicting feelings, and you can hold space for both of your unique experiences simultaneously.

My husband and I have found this word to be particularly challenging for us. My husband is introverted. He truly needs and values time to himself to recharge. As for me, I am extroverted, and truly need and value the time I spend connecting with my spouse. Time spent with him refills my cup.

During our first few months of marriage, we struggled with this dynamic. I couldn’t understand why he didn’t want to spend every minute with me, and he couldn’t understand why I wanted to spend so much time with him. Our narrative quickly became “I need more time with you” “but I need time alone”.

This dynamic turned us to opposite sides and became divisive for us. Some time later, I was listening to the Pillow Talks podcast, and Vanessa Marin mentioned the importance of replacing “but” with “and”. A light switched off inside me because I realized that this is what we needed in our relationship. My husband needed time alone to recharge and I needed time with him to fill my cup.

Once we switched to the “and” narrative, our entire relationship changed. We started working as a team, finding time in our schedules each week for both alone time and time together. The fact is the world is incredibly gray, and we can hold space for two unique, and even seemingly contradicting statements to coexist.

“You Complete Me”

Unlike the rest of these phrases to avoid in your marriage, this one is very deceiving! You see, it appears on the outside to be a great, loving phrase to say. However, this puts your partner on a pedestal they could never achieve, adds immense pressure to your partner to be “perfect” for you, and frankly, is very unrealistic!

I also believe this phrase comes from a place of insecurity with yourself. Instead of using this phrase, spend some time working on your confidence with yourself! I highly recommend this blog post and this blog post as great ways to kickstart your inner transformation.

Couple facing each other, hugging intimately and looking out the window

Conclusion

That’s it for the 7 phrases to avoid in your marriage! I hope this post has helped opened your eyes to some of the unhelpful phrases used in your relationship, and helps you replace them with more productive communication habits! If you learned something new, send this to your spouse for a productive dinner-time chat tonight. Take care and be well!

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14 thoughts on “7 Phrases to Avoid in Your Marriage”

  1. This is a great article! It’s so easy to get into the habit of using negative phrases when discussing things with our partners, but it’s so important to try and use language that can help build healthier relationships. I appreciate the tips on how to express ourselves in more positive ways. Thanks for this valuable insight!

    1. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. I agree completely, using negative phrases seem to come to mind so much more naturally, but it can make such a difference when we swap our language for more productive comments!

  2. This is wise advice! It’s funny really…marriage is one of the hardest experiences anyone can participate in that evolves over time to bring you such contentment in unexpected ways. The honeymoon phase quickly becomes stressful and bumps in the path if not worked hard on can quickly become rivers without a bridge. God at the center is paramount to grow and evolve in grace with another person you continually forgive as they forgive you for the rest of your life. Suddenly what was once deep passion found in another becomes that plus the best friend you could ever have wished for and a new deeper love presents. Who’d have known if you hang in there and never even consider the word “divorce” when life gets tough (because it will) that this is possible!

    1. I agree completely, marriage is definitely a challenge that constantly evolves! I’m so grateful to be with my best friend, and you’re so right! Once you start overcoming challenges, the relationship gets better than you ever could have imagined! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  3. Hehe.. You are so right about this. I am divorced and I can tell you that it all stems back to, actually all of what you pointed out, but especially with the phrase “you complete me”. We married too young and became on person instead of two strong individuals.. You live and learn 😉 Thank you for a good post!

    1. I really struggled with the “you complete me” phrase at the beginning of my marriage too. I put my spouse on a pedestal that he could have never accomplished. I’m so glad I found ways to grow as an individual so I could take the pressure off of him. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts!

    1. I agree completely, I’m so grateful for so many tools to help us navigate the complexities of relationships. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  4. This is great advice! A lot of couples have to learn these lessons the hard way: by making all of these mistakes first. This post will definitely help a lot of couples!

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