Myth: My partner knows I love him or her without me having to say it.
Truth: My partner needs to feel my love through my words and actions.
It’s a given: connection and communication are the keys to a healthy marriage. Even the greatest relationships suffer when either fails. Both members of a couple must possess the courage to express what they want and who they really are. You need to be able to speak up for yourself and create an environment in which your partner can speak freely and honestly as well. If you don’t feel understood, you won’t feel loved, and the same goes for your partner. It’s that simple.
At the same time, you have to communicate with tact; there’s a reason people sometimes shoot the messenger. Bearers of bad news are often irritating. Read on to learn the top 9 things you should never say to your partner if you want to keep the peace!
9. “What’s Your Problem?”
Never Say: “What’s your problem?” You’ll just come off as very cranky.
Do Say: “Is there something you want to discuss or change?”
A Good Response: “I want your help” or “I would like to tell you…” Use a neutral tone of voice to keep things calm.
8. “You Don’t Listen to Me!”
Never Say: “You don’t listen to me” or “You fly off the handle whenever I try to speak.” You are just fanning the flame.
Do Say: “I care about talking to you and appreciate that you will listen to me.”
A Good Response: “I want to hear what you have to say and will be calm.” Or, you can also ask to table the discussion until you are able to communicate better.
7. “Calm Down!”
Never Say: “Calm down.” This just guarantees your partner will become more upset.
Do Say: “Something must have happened, can you talk to me about it?”
A Good Response: “I don’t know that I can right now, but would you hold me, listen, or ____.”
6. “You Don’t Care About My Feelings.”
Never Say: “You don’t care about my feelings…” This just puts your mate on the defensive and they will be exonerating themselves instead of taking care of you.
Do Say: “I know you love me, but when you ____, I feel ___, and prefer that we could___. Is that okay with you?”
A Good Response: “I must not have shown you as well as I could, but I do care. Please give me another chance.”
5. “Use Your Brain.”
Never Say: “Use your brain” or “Be logical.” This is patronizing.
Do Say: “I’m not being clear. Please tell me what you did hear, and then I’ll explain it better.”
A Good Response: “I think you mean___” or “Tell me what I’ve missed.”
4. “You Are An Idiot.”
Never Say: “You are an idiot, or heartless, or a nag, etc.” Comments like this create distance. Character assassination is not good foreplay!
Do Say: “I appreciate your awareness, concern, and care for our relationship. Could we start over?”
A Good Response: When words fail, a logical, heartfelt, and succinct e-mail might be in order.
3. “Why Would You Do That?!”
Never Say: Anything in a lecturing, complaining, or whining tone. It’s pompous, manipulative, and demotivating.
Do Say: Hold hands, make eye contact, keep it in the now, and speak as though you are addressing a peer.
A Good Response: “What is it that I could do for you?” Act friendlier than you feel.
2. “You Always _______!”
Never Say: The words “always” or “never.” Even the worst of us get it right sometimes.
Do Say: “Would you do me a favor?” Then state your present complaint—no past, no future.
A Good Response: “That is something I can correct.” Do not defend yourself.
1. “I Can’t Talk to You About Anything!”
Never Say: “I can’t talk to you about anything important.” And don’t cry, sulk, or with- draw. It’s not fair.
Do Say: State what you want or need without making your mate feel bad for not having already delivered it.
A Good Response: “Whenever you are ready, I want to hear how to please you.”
Conveying your true feelings is an important action, but how your convey them is just as important. Make sure that when you communicate, you are not adding extra hurt or complications to the problem at hand. The point is to move forward.
In a perfect relationship world, there would be no fighting. But you don’t live in a perfect world, and people often feel misunderstood, neglected, insecure, and any number of other emotions that can lead to fights and disagreements. That doesn’t mean your relationship is headed for doom and gloom, and it doesn’t necessarily mean you are any less connected. Fighting, or arguing, can even be healthy for a relationship if it’s done respectfully and you both come out of it with a better understanding of the other person when the conflict is resolved.