Challenges, Communication

5 Hurtful Phrases to Remove from Your Marriage Vocabulary

5 Hurtful Phrases to Completely Remove from Your Marriage

It seems like marriage is just another word for “endlessly learning to communicate”. Yes, there is so much more to marriage than communication, but how many marital issues would be erased or solved if we just learned to communicate in a more healthy manner? Our 10+ years have taught us that it’s not a matter of if we disagree, but when we do, how will we handle it?

In a sentence, here’s the key to healthy communication through virtually anything: both should never quit and always communicate until you reach the other side. This, of course, takes grit and dedication… and a few bits of sound wisdom on how to resolve things more healthily wouldn’t hurt either. Thus, this post.

It’s impossible to define everything everyone should or shouldn’t say in every situation. However, there are some phrases that are usually unhelpful for marriage:

5 hurtful phrases to remove from your marriage vocabulary

Nothing can bring a real sense of security into the home except true love. ~ Billy Graham1: “I’m busy…”

A very new friend of mine, Tyler Ward, wrote an incredibly insightful article called, “Busy isn’t respectable anymore.” One read through and you’ll want to remove “I’m busy…” from your vocabulary for good.

But why does that matter for your marriage? As Tyler illustrates, saying “I’m busy” is often just a force of habit and usually an indication of some deeper disfunction (no, not always, but often). There’s a saying: “If you’re too busy for your spouse, you’re too busy”. That being the case, we should always make time for our spouses without relegating ourselves to simply being “busy”.

If you are actually busy, that’s fine, just articulate exactly what’s going on so your spouse may understand and support you with your tasks!

2: “You always…”

Absolute statements like “you always…” or “you never…” are something Selena and I have worked very hard to remove from our marriage. We’ve yet to fully succeed! The problem with absolute statements is that they’re never true when speaking of behavior, and they are always hurtful (there are two absolute statements you can be sure of!). Absolute statements say more about who’s saying them then they do about whom they’re directed at.

If I may be blunt, absolute statements are just plain lazy.

Example: Instead of “You never want want sex…”, consider a statement like “lately, I’ve felt like we’re not connecting intimately enough. Can we talk about what’s going on?”

By being specific and purposeful with your language, you can actually move forward together instead of accusing one another. Removing absolute statements from your marriage diction will do wonders.

3: “Whatever.”

Seek unity in your marriage.How many times have we ended an argument with a single dismissive “whatever”?

Whatever” is the arch enemy of biblical reconciliation. By dismissing disagreements with “whatever”, you’re essentially stating that you don’t care enough about the person or disagreement to discuss further. Love never quits. Love is patient, kind, not easily angered, and always perseveres (1 Corinthians 13).

It’s not that whatever is a bad word, it’s just usually used in times when love isn’t at it’s best. Removing whatever from your marriage vocabulary will force to to either 1) explain why you’re OK with dismissing the conversation, or 2) explain why you’re truly ok with whatever.

4: The word Divorce

It’s tragic when we hear couples use the word “divorce”, either jokingly or seriously, in reference to their own marriage. Marriage only works if divorce is not an option (see #4 here). If there’s no back door, you’ll both be committed to working through anything.

My future is brighter with you in it.The greatest enemy we’ve seen at play in marriage is simply giving up; someone decides to step out the back door. They mentally, emotionally, and spiritually check-out of the marriage. How can you work something out if one person leaves or refuses to engage? Divorce is just that: giving up on the marriage.

Using the word “divorce” potentially cracks the door on a terrible possibility into your marriage. Would it be funny or appropriate ever if you said “I sincerely hope you die a horrible painful death”? Nope. It’s hurtful no matter how you slice it.

I implore you, remove “divorce” from your vocabulary. Don’t use it as a threat, comedic relief, or otherwise.

5: “I wish you were more like…” and “you’re just like your [parent]”

Ok, yes this is two phrases. I wanted to combine them here because I believe they come from the same place: comparison.

Comparison is truly heartbreaking. Nobody likes being compared to someone else, whether it’s a friend, a stranger, a family member, or a celebrity. People aren’t things, like cars with features to be compared. “This one has GPS”, “that one gets 40 MPG”, etc.

Nothing makes me feel smaller than when I’m unscrupulously compared to someone greater than me. Feeling that kind of small is ok, I guess, but only if it’s relation to Jesus. May Jesus be the only person we compare ourselves and our spouses to.

Here are some tough comparisons married folks tend to make; some explicitly and some internally:

  1. I wish [my wife] looked more like [other woman] (this is NEVER productive)
  2. You’re just like your father/mother.
    Usually used to illustrate an undesirable behavior, thus pigeonholing the person compared.
  3. Why can’t we be more like [some other couple]? (this type of comparison is especially frustrating)

I hope I’ve made a compelling case for why you should remove some phrases from your marriage.

Be selective with your words. There are two things in this life you can never get back once used, words and time. Use your words to give life.

Question: What phrases have you found to be particularly inflammatory for your marriage? Please share in the comments below!

Encouraging Marriage Quotes and Images

Sharing what you believe with friends is a great way to encourage others and reinforce to yourself what you believe. Here are some images we’ve made easy for you to do just that. Just click the image and select where to share it – the quote will be pre-populated. There are many more images to browse & share available here.

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  • SummerMarie Hepler

    As the child of divorce, I was raised by a strong single mother. Unknowingly, she raise me to be a strong, independent woman that needs no man. I can do everything that a man can do and sometimes, I can do it better. This is was all great and dandy until I fell in love with a man, the man of my dreams. I love him so much…and one of the ways I would express to him how much I loved him was to say, “You are here because I want you here, not because I need you here”. I thought this was a huge compliment for years! About seven to be exact…before my poor husband finally confided in me how much that statement hurt him. I had no idea. My husband could never be good enough in the shadow of this statement, it was an insult to his ability to care for me…he needed for me to need him. The stupid thing is that it was a lie. I did need him, but my own insecurities couldn’t let down that wall. I worked hard at removing that stigma, and now I haven’t said that to him in years. I do need him. He is my rock, my support system. This June will be our 17th anniversary <3

    • Thank you so much for sharing. And great job working through it with your husband; also, good job to him for communicating his hurts with you.

      Constructive communication isn’t always easy, but it is always rewarding!

      • Camalot1

        My husband “didn’t need me” for sex – he was a porn addict. He “didn’t need me” financially, for he was the breadwinner. He “didn’t need me” to cook or clean, as he had done so for 10 years before marrying me. When I found his porn infecting our two daughters’ lives, I did the unthinkable and left him, after much prayer and counseling. Suddenly he needed me, but told several counselors that the porn was no problem. I finally divorced him, and later re-connected with my high school sweetheart. We banished most of these phrases before we were married, and have had 6 1/2 very happy years and one son thus far. God can do some amazing things in a relationship if you let Him!

        • Camalot1

          Oops, this was meant in reply to SummerMarie Hepler

        • lbyrne2009

          I am horny 24/7 and she knows it. We had to go 6 months without making love for me to prove it to her.

        • been there

          I went through the same thing in my first marriage. Porn killed everything and my husband couldn’t keep away from it. I waited ten years to remarry after raising my children alone, and I have a wonderful Godly husband whom I adore. God restores.

    • Mike

      being needed is so important…

      • Shannon McCorkle Fike

        Wrong being needed sets you up to fail. You want to be desired not needed

    • Duante Amorculo

      great story. glad you realized it before it was too late. best to you guys continuing for years/decades to come

    • Sorell Tamez

      I totally understand this situation cuz this is me, however my husband sometimes makes me feel bad for needing him. I come from a bitter divorced family and I’ve always felt like a burden to others; especially my husband.

    • cjbrn

      I am so happy that you worked it out in time. I unfortunately insisted on letting my husband know how independent I was. I had three small children from a previous marriage I was raising alone and I thought that I needed to be independent for them. It hurt my husband so much to think that I was so independent that I didn’t really need him. Nothing could have been further from the truth. I loved him so much. No one ever loved me like he did. He was a wonderful man and my kids adored him. Sadly he is gone a victim of suicide. You can bet that I can’t get over the guilt I feel. To everyone out there if you truly love your spouse let them know how much and how very much you need them.

    • laura

      Thank you for sharing. I was too raised by a strong single mother that raised me as you stated. I have gone thru the same with my husband. He wants to take care of me and I had to learn to let him. Everyday I make sure to let him lead and ensure my daughters are strong woman but understand their daddy can, wants, and needs to take care of them.

    • P.J.101

      You wanted to say / mean : You mother raised you to hate and disrespect men, because she herself was a failure and couldnt satisfy her man ( thou that is incredibly easy, since men are increeeedible forgiving and patient creatures, that love to help and to give ), so your bitter mom totally brainwashed and infected you with her hate.
      Would be nice if you actually also just realized and said that.

      • SummerMarie Hepler

        Um, if i had meant to say that, I most certainly would have said that. Thank GOD that isn’t the case. Although it certainly sounds like there are some bitter bones living in your body. Here I am, two years after that post, my single mother has been married happily for 24 years and I for 19. This does not sound like a pair of man-haters to me. Jus’ saying. I will, however, pray for you and your bitterness, the hate and maliciousness that live in you that would drive you to make such a post. May god bless you and heal your heart <3

  • jcslight

    My husband and I decided at the beginning of our (now) 11yr marriage, to eliminate always, never and divorce from our conversation. Unfortunately our attempt haven’t always been successful. It’s so easy for the devil to slide his sneaky ideas into the conversation when emotions are high.
    I’ve been compared to my pack-rat highly independent mother. Now I understand how my sister felt when we were kids and I compared her to my dad…it left me with a bruised arm and my mom looking for her most of the night. Powerful lesson for me never to do it again.

    • Great job identifying trouble phrases early on! I wish we would have explicitly outlawed those phrases when we were first married.

  • Sarah

    “I don’t care.” Whenever we use this statement not only is it never actually true but it makes the other person feel like they or the issue at hand doesn’t matter.

    • So true Sarah. Thank you for sharing.

    • Mike

      ‘who ever cares the least in a relationship, has all the power…”,

  • Jerry Dugan

    For me, it’s not talking that can be toxic, especially if I let my mind focus on work or a project and forget I am with my family. That communicates that my priorities are not with my family.

    • Very true Jerry! I do struggle with the same thing. Actions really are much louder than words… and being home is one way to clearly communicate that your family is a priority. (I’m constantly working on this…)

  • RAD009

    Lately, “Shut up” has crept into our marriage and we are working hard to remove it. It follows a very hard season of the first year of having a baby and my unpredictable emotions and loneliness sometimes pushes my husbands buttons too much and he snaps.
    We’re working through this season… But one great thing is that before we were married we decided that the word “divorce” will never enter our household. We even put it in our vows on our wedding day. So grateful we did that!

    • “Shut up” could definitely be on this list. It’s a dismissive thing to say which only buries frustrations instead of dealing with them. Thank you for sharing!

    • Shawna

      My bf tells me I am “crazy” when I confront him about his locking his cell, I-Pad, deleting his messages, etc. I did catch him cheating. I love him very much, and I am 35 weeks pregnant with our daughter! He has appolIgized for his infedelity, and has asked me to marry him. I want to trust him again and make things work for the sake of our family. But, I feel he needs to earn my trust back. He really hurt me, and it was not that long ago (just back in sept, while I am pregnant). He constantly says “your crazy”, “shut up” and “I don’t want to talk to you about this right now!” We push each other’s buttons! So I am not rushing into marriage, since we have both had previous divorces!

      • bobsblue

        Think long and hard before you marry this man! Clear the air, set some ground rules and call him on it when he breaks them. He is disrespecting you now and if he can’t stop now it will only get worse. I’ve been there and after 38 years I know what of I speak.

      • Jon

        Reading this made me cringe and almost made me cry. I know my sympathy probably doesn’t help much, but for what it’s worth, I’m sorry you’re in that position. Aside from having gone through a divorce myself, I’m no expert, but I would suggest/recommend you both see a counselor if you do decide that you want to marry him; if nothing else, seeing the counselor would hopefully get to the bottom of why he cheated in the first place, and once that has been identified, try to “fix” that issue. And the “you’re crazy”, “shut up” et al…..that NEEDS to stop!! Any negative words or phrases like that will only drive the wedge deeper.

  • A-Train

    “You wouldn’t understand”… May not, but it still doesn’t send a good message.

    • That would have made an excellent addition Andrew!

      • A-Train

        thanks! love the list, and I’m taking it home tonight!
        for the record: we banned saying ‘divorce’ before we got married (in Sept this past year)!

        • Great call early on!

        • Robert

          My wife told me early on in our marriage that if she ever used divorce that she meant it 12 yrs later we are now separated. Unfortunately I think she opened that door. Im standing for my marriage. Praying that GOD restores my marriage. There is always time for correction with faith and a little bit of love. Im waiting with unconditional love.

          • Trista Sue

            Praying for your marriage, brother. I pray that your wife’s heart be open to the voice of God and that He bring the two of you to a place of reconciliation.

        • Trista Sue

          My husband and I sat down and had the “divorce talk” before marriage as well. We decided that it would NOT be an option, no matter what, and it wouldn’t even be in our vocabulary. Almost 8 years later, we are still very happily married. We have our ups and downs. We are still learning how to love unconditionally. But we have a good, strong marriage centered on the Lord and I wouldn’t have it any other way. :)

  • carrie

    Another good one is “told you so” or “should’ve listened to me” or things of that attitude. There are much more gentle ways to remind your spouse to listen to your (non-nagging) warnings, but generally, they probably already feel stupid about something they did wrong.

    • Extremely well said Carrie! Those could’ve made this list for sure.

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  • Melissa Lopez

    Read this in bed, with a cup of coffee and my husband this morning….and we are guilty of all of them…Im most guilty of the divorce card….because of the very unique situation we are in…. and having it explained like that really opened my eyes to the damage i was doing in response to the things that he were putting me through at the time, to make me think that i couldn’t make it work anymore. I want to be good example of His unconditional love and lead him closer to God. And i think he also understands better the hurt it causes when he compares me to my mother. So thank you for that…. And Hopefully, being a part in better communication and less hurt feelings…

    • Thank you so much for sharing, Melissa. Keep working through things! This community is behind you and your husband.

  • Amy Lopez

    Wonderful post! Very insightful and great info to share. Thank you!

  • Jj

    My husband and I have been married for 19 years and together almost 25. We try very hard to speak to each other the way each of us would speak to our best friend (that is what we are, after all!). But, despite best intentions, occasionally I will say something mean and snarky. Lately he has taken to saying back to me (nicely though): “Can you try that again without the venom?” Because he says it with a smile it always cracks me up, and I want to try it again, without any venom. Just an idea.

    • Very funny! Lightening the mood is a great way to diffuse a bomb before it goes off :)

  • Larry

    Just to add to number 4…when people use that word, they in essence give value to something invaluable (or beyond value…aka “priceless”). Whenever we put a price on something priceless, we have in effect devalued it. Never put your marriage on the table as a commodity that can be traded for something else.
    It would be like putting a price on your child…may it never be!!

  • Keith Ray

    I wish I had known these things almost 12 years ago. Now I am trusting that my marriage is in God’s hands and that His will is going to happen. I struggle with the pain that I carry for everything I’ve done wrong and hurtful in my marriage and pray heals her emotional wounds (and mine).

    • We’re standing with you in prayer for full reconciliation. Keep praying, and praying hard.

      • Keith Ray

        Thank you so much, we are both just praying constantly for God’s will to be done, and I’m hoping His will leads to reconciliation. Thank you again!

  • Amy Jones

    The idea that marriage cannot be successful if divorce is ever an option is just not true. There have been seasons of my marriage where divorce has been an option, a discussed option, that both of us have brought to the table for consideration. And we have chosen not to take it. And our marriage very much works now. I would say that each of you knowing under what circumstances divorce is an option is crucial. For example, if your spouse holds a knife to your throat, is divorce an option? For the vast majority of people, there are circumstances under which they would consider divorce. Thinking about what those boundaries are can be healthy for both people.

    • Woodward

      When my spouse and I got married, we made a list of “What Would Have To Happen To Consider Divorce?” I feel like in our divorce-centric culture, to deny that divorce could happen is idealistic. Our list was centered around the idea that if for some crazy reason one of us “went off the deep end” and stopped being a morally centered and mentally sane person, then it was ok for our marriage to end. On the list are: becoming a coma-vegetable, child abuse, getting institutionalized for mental problems that last for a long time, physical abuse, and going to prison for an awful crime. NOT on the list are infidelity, pornography addiction, chronic illness, financial problems/bankruptcy, going to prison for a justified crime, etc. We decided where OUR lines are and as long as we both stay within those lines, we plan to be married forever.

      • Zellen

        Mental illness is a chronic illness. You say one is “divorce-worthy” and one is not. Why?

        • Amy Jones

          I am not the original author, but I can take a stab at guessing why. You can still have a relationship with someone with a chronic physical illness. The nature of mental illness that requires being placed in an institution for care is such that a two way loving relationship with that person is no longer possible. They are not themselves and with many forms of mental illness, become neglectful and abusive. Not all people are comfortable with divorce under such circumstances, but that is the line they personally have drawn. However, I have to say not having infidelity or forms of addiction on the list is odd to me and suggest that they may not understand what an addiction entails. Addiction almost always goes hand in hand with some form of abuse. Having a healthy relationship with an active addict is impossible – much like (although not the same as) trying to have a relationship with someone with severe mental health

          • J

            Mental illness is treatable, how ignorant and young you must be. My spouse is bi-polar and has been hospitalized. Wait until you are married for 35 years and see how God holds you in his hands and never leaves you.

          • Amy Jones

            The vast majority of mental illness IS treatable although there are treatment resistant forms. Not everyone responds to medication, not all people who struggle with mental health issues choose medication – even when it would be necessary for a healthy and productive life. And again, I was NOT saying that I think it’s fine for everyone who has a spouse who struggle with mental illness to just divorce them. (How did people get that from what I said?) What I said was that there’s a reason that the original couple choose mental illness that required hospitalization as one of the things THEY might choose to divorce each other over. Your story is not everyone’s story. What was right for you in your marriage may not be right for everyone else. Having spoken to people in marriages where mental illness DID go hand in hand with abuse (in one case to the point where I was scared for my friends life), I have to say that I’m not the ignorant one in this particular situation.

          • She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named

            First of all, let’s get a few things straight. The vast majority of people who have a chronic mental illness and are actively in treatment for it are able to manage it with medication, psychotherapy (counseling), or some combination of both. Most people who have a chronic mental illness do not “step off the deep end” or require any kind of long-term institutional care. They may require a short stay at a hospital (or perhaps multiple short stays over the course of their lives) to help them get more stable, but those hospital stays last just a few days to weeks, not months or years on end. These people are not crazy and again, for the vast majority of them, their mental illness DOES NOT cause them to abandon their faith or morals if they have always had a strong faith and a deeply held morality. There are kinds of mental illness that have neglect of others and abuse of others as symptoms, but those are exceedingly rare. The most common mental illness diagnoses are the mood disorders like dysthymia, depression, cyclothymia, and bipolar. Yes, people with those things do sometimes spend a little time in a mental health hospital, but they very, very rarely stay long enough to warrant making divorce an option. Permanently institutionalizing someone for depression or bipolar may have been done in the late 19th and early to mid 20th centuries, but it is almost unheard of today. Is living with someone who struggles with mental illness an easy thing to do? Is loving them despite the fact that some days their illness is so big and loud that they seem to vanish inside it an easy thing to do? Is it just as easy to do for them as it would be if they had a disease that eats away at the other parts of the body instead of the brain? The answer to all of these is, most emphatically, no. No, it is not always easy. Sometimes it is easy. Sometimes it’s not. And some days it is so hard that it almost physically hurts. But the bottom line is that mental illness – even mental illness that warrants the odd 5-7 day stay at a hospital sometimes – is treatable and something that can be managed and lived with. Ask me how I know all of this. Go on, ask me. It’s because I struggle with major depression. It has been very severe at times and yes, I have spent time inpatient. Guess what else? I’ve been married to the love of my life and my very best friend for just over eight years now. When we met, he saw me at my worst but he married me anyway. You may wonder why he did. I know I have often wondered. I’ll tell you like he tells me. He saw the real me underneath all the mental illness. The illness is something that I struggle with, but it. is. not. me. My husband sees me the way God sees me and that is such an important thing in marriage. If we don’t view our spouses with the same love and care that God does, then we need to reevaluate our beliefs about what love and marriage really mean and what the purpose of being married is.

          • Quinn

            That’s beautiful. Made me tear up. Thank you for sharing.

          • Amy Jones

            Please understand that I am not critical of people with mental health issues. I was diagnosed with cyclothymia in the last year and have struggled with depression and anxiety disorders my entire life. Someone who deals with depression to the extend that they need to spend long stretches of time hospitalized is frequently not capable of interacting in a healthy way in their marriage. They may not be (likely are not) physically abusive, but the long term damage done by their inability to contribute to their marriage can be termed as neglect. For those whose depression manifests as anger, emotional abuse is common. This does NOT mean that your husband should divorce you. My comment was not intended to say that everyone who is in a relationship with someone who has mental illness should feel free to divorce them at will. But being in a relationship with someone with long term, poorly managed mental health is one of the extreme forms of difficult. Having been through those seasons myself and seeing the impact they had on my husband, I know… because I saw it. I was only trying to make a guess as to why the original author and their spouse deemed it a valid reason for divorce. For someone who has already lived with the consequences of being permanently connected to someone with severe mental health problems, this boundary makes sense. If it is moral or not is a completely different discussion, but there is certainly a logical explanation for why mental illness is classified differently for this couple than physical illness.
            Edit to add: It’s not saying, “the moment you need paxil, I’m out of here!” It sounds like their boundary is that if the mental health issue is so out of control that one partner cannot participate in the marriage in a healthy way for an extended period of time, the other partner might choose to pursue divorce. It’s not trying to attack you, your particular disability, or your marriage. It’s about them and what they have chosen to agree to in their relationship.

          • anonymous

            Your description of how one would treat a spouse if he had a mental illness IS the same with some types of addictions. I would know. I am married to a 3 decades long sex addict, and they shut down emotions toward you, toward God, and become one with whom a two way relationship is not possible. No lonelier group you will find than wives of sex or porn addicts. That said, rarely, there can be recovery, but the addiction remains a lifelong struggle and challenge. The wife also has to change, adjust with new healthier boundaries, and must love the recovering with a Christlike love, or they will not feel safe to be honest. A very, ve ry complex problem. I have left a couple times, but hope reign s supreme. We are in a program now, and time will tell whether he will choose life, or lies. It jas been heartbreaking and super draining, but I understand and can empathize with other women, and I wouldn’t trade that.

          • Amy Jones

            Annonymous, thank you for sharing your struggle with me! You’re in good company. My husband shared his struggle with sex addiction with me and we have been coping with it since early in our marriage. It has been a painful journey but I am so happy to say that my husband has recovered and has found a healthier way to live. One of the absolute best resources that I found for MY healing was There are resources for both sexual addicts and their partners (and a workshop for couples did exist but a site crash wiped it out. It is in the works again.) You’re right that being the spouse of a sex addict is a lonely path, but there’s a wonderful group of spouses at recovery nation who have all walked similar paths, who have respect for each other and each other’s choices, and who want to grow as people regardless of what their spouse chooses. It’s an excellent resource that I highly recommend. Best of luck to your husband in his recovery efforts, and especially to you as you deal with the challenging balance required in being the spouse of an addict.

          • Mimi

            I’m terribly sorry that you see such a resounding difference between mental and chronic illness. The same issues you describe qualifying mental illness as a reason for divorce are sometimes present in individuals who may suffer a physical condition indefinitely. You may just be severely misinformed about mental illness or maybe have seen one side of it in a friend or relative’s relationship, but when my husband and I said “in sickness and in health, ” we meant sickness or health of the entire being. You may think about how should I know whether or not this is a valid reason to honor vows despite some irreconcilable conflict, even if internal to one individual, my answer is this: I very well informed my husband of a history of mental illness and hospitalizations prior to marriage, but nothing short of living it with me, standing by my side in prayer and resisting almost everyone in his life telling him to cut me loose in order to be “happy.” He stayed not knowing whether I would be healed or recover. He promised to stay not knowing that either. Now that I have experienced healing, restoration and been made stable through intense behavioral and cognitive therapies, many of those individuals have apologized to him for criticizing his decisions. The ones who have not, don’t apologize to anyone for anything. I pray for the hurts inside of those individuals. And I pray for people who don’t understand mental illness and it’s unrelenting grasp on loving, lovely people so that when (not if, but when) it impacts themself or a loved one, that they would do everything reasonable and then some on God’s green earth to become educated and help to preserve what quality of life that person may still have.

          • Jennifer Marie

            What?! A person who is hospitalized for mental health problems isn’t capable of a relationship anymore? That is so ignorant and ridiculous. Not everyone who is in a psychiatric unit is insane or unable to have a relationship. I have been in one.

          • Amy Jones

            Would everyone please just do me a favor and actually READ before commenting. Is there a way to delete my posts because it’s getting irritating.

      • truthseeker

        Wow, I kind of feel bad for your marriage if infidelity and pornography addiction are not on the list because you are saying those things are ok and I personally feel marrige is from God and to be ok with those two things is like telling God you don’t have to listen to what he says or live by his standerds.

        • Toni

          I agree with you truthseeker. For a marriage to work and work well, a man must be a one woman man, and a woman must be a one man woman. There can be no exception or selfish justification that would keep a back door open for escape. If your hearts aren’t truly one then the flesh won’t be either.

          • Donardo Henry

            Who are we to judge and say what is or isn’t right for one marriage or the next. Marriages are for better, for worst, till death do them part. They define what is better and worse, if they see pornography and infidelity as something that could be worked through, instead of automatic deal breaker, are they not excising christian qualities of forgiveness? It works for them, and they never said that just because they divorce, they’ll stop being friendly to one another.

          • rondavue66

            Porno is worse than cheating because most people choose it over everything. So God doesn’t want a husband to defile the marriage bed with thing like that. So forgiveness with porn is not an option for most. People need a lot of help to stop that and need to work on it without anyone in their lives.

          • Dianna Marshall

            I disagree with you, porno should be for the couple! Cheating is a definite worse, and people should divorce if cheated on,bsides if the couple is trying new stuff by watching porno, their shouldn’t be any cheating!

          • lotusflower

            I think its funny to listen to a bunch of “god loving” people cast judgement on someone that may be tenpted to watch porn or cheat. In my opinion, that doesnt sound very understanding. These things are temptations. They’re mistakes 99% of the time. They are the flaw in our human design. As far as I am concerned, leaving because someone you truly love cheated on you or watched porn (with or without you) has to do with your ego. Its all about your insecurities. If my husband faltered and was tempted to step outside of our marriage, I would make an effort to understand why. We’re ALL human and we all screw up eventually. The onlt time that cheating would warrant a divorce (for me anywau) is if it was linked to a sexual addiction or disorder. And not because “how dare he” but because I couldntlive like that. I, emotionally, could not handle the continual devastation. However, if it was a one time thing…I wouldn’t leave. Usually, when someone cheats, its because they want to feel better about themselves. Its because they’re seeking something they’re missing at home. They want to feel desired. So…why would I leave the man I love when I was apparently part of the cause? I failed him as my husband. I love my husband to try to recognize his pain and heal it…and I cannot do that if I put my ego before his needs.

  • Darlene

    “You’re crazy “. My husband would say this to me in a arguement or if I accused him of being flirtatious (he was) .
    We are now separated.

  • RoninDirector

    How about (a wife to her husband); “I make more money than you… maybe you should work harder.” Um, yeah… I’ve heard that now twice since my wife finally surpassed my income (barely). I was the bread-winner for the last eight years and never once hung that over anyone’s head, yet, shoe’s on the other foot and that’s about the worst possible thing you can say to a man.

    • Anthony Miller

      Hmmm. My wife was a stay at home mom, I provided well for us, then she decided to start an eBay business and one day I came in to see her looking at my pay stub. She Screeched “I work So Hard at this! I can’t believe I can’t Make More Money than You”!!! And pounded the table with her fist. I was in shock.

  • johnstamos

    Maybe it wasn’t meant to be? Working to remove hurtful phrases from your relationship sounds like a really good idea. On the other hand , we’re human and we get mad and upset and flustered and need to express it our significant other. We as a society are always trying to mask and avoid our feelings and behaviors with strange exercises like the ones in this article. Why not just feel the emotion? Be kind , be patient and be rational , of course. Removing a piece of your self to be bottled up and tensioned sounds like a nightmare. I would bite the bullet and get the divorce. I know me and my man/wife/boss Lemington McCleansingsqaure pretty much live by these words. We have been together for four decades…

  • Cheri Parker

    My husband and I have been married for almost 4 years together for 5. We have had to deal with an unplanned but very much wanted pregnancy in our first year of marriage followed by his hip replacement when our first was 5 months then last year 2013 we had our second child who passed away at 9 days old from encephalocele. Through all of this we learned how to comfort each other and continually put the other’s needs before our own. I would give this advice: no matter how much you are hurting it is tearing your spouse apart to watch you suffer. So when your spouse tries to comfort you Let Them. Especially if you are the wife. The husband needs to know his efforts are appreciated.

    • Laura Kammerer

      What a great response! My husband and I have only been married 10 months, and I often pray over us that when we do face hard times that we will really lean on each other. It is so good to allow them to comfort you when it is needed, and for you to comfort them! Thank you for sharing!

  • Mike

    I’ve never managed any type of commitment longer than 2 months, Anytime I’ve been hit with those phrases above… things ended…

  • tom

    you are the last person I want to see right now……
    just let your mind work around this statement…. so who do you want to see right now?

  • elena

    I would have to say statements like, you’re crazy” or “you’re acting crazy.”

  • Sarah

    NOT talking is the enemy in my marriage. Shutting down only causes wounds to fester. Great article though, very true!

  • A constructive piece you could add to this article would be the things we would say, the positive side. We need positive communication. What is it? What does it look like?

  • Anthony Miller

    I suffered under a third variation of #5. Any time I did anything my wife didn’t like or asked for help she didn’t want to give I’d get “NO I’LL NEVER DO IT!!! You’re Just Like My Father!!!” She thought asking her to help me with the taxes or bills and other little things was a “form of abuse” because her father had made her do her own taxes and pay her bills when she reached 18 – 22 and her mother told her that her future husband should be doing that for her = your father is abusing you.

    Her dad was not a bad guy but her mother apparently secretly hated her husband for most of their barely 30 year marriage. Shortly her mother would do the same thing to me “You’re Just Like My Husband!” nearly every time she visited, and she only visited to vent her bitterness about her husband. I made just one rule in my home, that her mother wasn’t allowed to spew her bitterness or she’d have to leave but I never had any support so I had to always kick her mother out on my own, that’s usually when she’d scream the comparison at me.

    I was surrounded and trapped, never told anyone about it at the time or the physical attacks (she liked to kick me usually from behind) … Our marriage tanked in 3.5 years when she up and left and took our son, accusing me of abusing her. Her mother did the same thing at the same time and drug us into a 4 year court battle.
    I tried to get us into marriage counseling as did my father in law twice, but they both responded the same way, when their bitterness and judgmental attitude was confronted they forsook the counselor “He only supports Men” they said.
    In the beginning she proclaimed she was going to be my “help meet” “I was Created to be your helpmeet” she’d say and “I’ll Never use the “D” word (divorce) in an argument against you. The week before she left the D word came out.

    Some how all this insanity and allot more was hidden before I married her or I sure as hell wouldn’t have.

    Now she’s married again, guy has no idea what he’s in for… and I’m pretty much a wreck inside. I would never have left her no matter how bad she was but I’m glad she’s gone.

  • Anthony Miller

    One more comes to mind… “You’re a Bum and a Slob and I DO ALL THE WORK AROUND HERE”! That was another favorite of my EX. Or I’d tell her she didn’t need to stress herself out cleaning so much, take a break or would you like some help? She’d accuse me of wanting our house to look like a dump.

  • John hirschpeck

    I find that “whatever” is often accompanied by “I don’t care” which is usually a lie because if you didn’t care then you wouldn’t be mad in the first place and if it is true then there are much deeper issues than the one that provoked the statement in the first place.

  • Jim

    “Should.” The word needs to be struck from our vocabulary altogether. It’s so totally parental. “You should…” Anything, implies that someone knows better than the recipient. It comes with guilt, shame, and expectation. Strike it.

    • She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named

      I totally agree! I once heard a psychologist say, “Don’t ‘should’ on yourself or others. When you ‘should’ on others, it is throwing anger at them. When you ‘should’ on yourself, it pulls you down into depression. And we all know that depression is anger turned inward.” I found it to be very good advice and have endeavoured to remove that word from my vocabulary. The same thing goes for the contraction “shouldn’t” because it is just as negative as its brother.

  • Lost in paradise

    Throwing around the word DIVORCE for 16 years has led us there….he called my bluff and I am now reeling in devestation……

  • Hannah

    “your right”… I use this as a cop out and figuratively throwing up my hands. He is so wise and is usually right about most things. I use it to end an argument because i hate conflict in any way, shape or form. It really hurts him when i say it and i know i shouldn’t, but i struggle with my own selfish pride.

    • Thank you for sharing and being so transparent Hannah.

  • Diana

    “I told you so.”

  • Amanda

    A little while after my boyfriend and I broke up, I began to be bitter, Because I never really understood why we stopped dating. I began being a bit cruel with my words. What a wonderful man I know, of course he was upset, but as always, he always forgives me. Praise God, He as allowed us to be friends. I may no longer have a boyfriend, but I still have him as one of my (best) friends… And I know God will work everything for his glory – that is why I can look at my friend in the eye and truly hope he will find an amazing woman, completely compatible to him.

  • lfact

    “Oh ya well …….”
    My husband LOVES making things about everyone but him! When something he said/did comes into question he deflects and makes everyone else around him the problem. Can’t ever have a conversation let alone focus on an issue without him trying to change the subject.

  • I’llNeverTell

    Whenever my ex-husband started a sentence with “You have got to stop [doing x]..”, I died a little inside. It typically was said in anger and frustration and was usually a silly thing like eating anywhere but the kitchen table, leaving my shoes in the living room, or leaving my curling iron plugged in (auto shut-off).

    That’s not the reason we are divorced, but the belittling and condescension didn’t help matters. I still hate when someone says “you have got to stop…” I’m an adult. Don’t treat me like a child.

  • Shelli Weber Calhoun

    MY life would be easier if YOU just…

  • Jamey Baxter

    I can only imagine what the “honorable mentions” were for this piece…lol

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  • Tony Malone

    Most all of these we have put to rest. We each came from marriages before and we decided to learn bad from the first and not bring into the second. Most every statement we decided to put aside and never bring into our relationship. it is the the best thing we could have done. I recomend all new married or even long marrieds try this out. I’t may or may not work for you but for is it’s been a blessing.

  • sadone

    What if you find your whole marriage is based on lies? And when the lies come to light, there’s no repentance and no real signof change? What do you do then?

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  • Laura Kammerer

    I love this post! I want to add “Who cares”….. (basically the same as “I don’t care”)
    Every time I am told that, I am like, “I DO!!! That’s why I brought it up!”

  • Joelle

    Just found this post. I wanted to say that, even when my husband and I were dating we decided that divorce was not an option. We knew before we even made the decision to be engaged that if we were to get married it would be for life. I will definitely have to work on the “whatever” one though! That seems to be my famous ending. Although when I say it and storm off, my husband comes after me right away, because he knows it’s not alright!

  • miss joy

    “You are…”
    “You’re being…”
    “I don’t know why you’re being…”
    “You should know…”
    “You ought to…”
    and finally, “Why don’t you work on that”
    …all of these, if not followed by something incredibly loving, or in the context of building up your spouse, will settle in your partner’s chest like a hot brick, and burn there, as far as I can tell, pretty much forever. All words to remove from your marriage, just my 2 cents.

  • Sable

    “Just forget it. I wish I’d never said anything,” when the conversation is not going as desired or becomes difficult.

  • Peral Clercy

    I will said one of the hurtful word is calling your spouse a BITCH…that is unacceptable…

    • lbyrne2009

      better then the c word.

  • Yeah

    okay you said divorce should not be an option so what do you do with a spouse who refused to acknowledge that there is a problem in the relationship is emotionally cheating online or speaking to other people & is constantly denying it how do you move forward from this

  • Janet

    Never say “I don’t care”

  • lbyrne2009

    As a single now married father, I learned so many ways to piss a woman off. One, you could fit beside if you lose a little, and you did with him and not me, you could use a little makeup, you look frumpy with your hair down like that, why do I have to tell you everyday how I feel, why do I have to remind you how I feel about you cause they never did, I have to remind you I do also do things around here too!, I can’t get a job cause I can’t trust you?, and there is always more.
    I love my wife and tell every day but cause of the past it keeps coming back. I am a gentleman and know when to pick my battles, but there will ALWAYS be times when it comes back up. I bite my tongue because I want us to stay together. Not saying I am evil, I am. But respect comes first love second. I am glad with the woman i am with cause all of my past relationships made me stronger.
    What makes a relationship is communication, not a bang in the bed. I try to talk to my wife all the time and listen. Unfortunately, it mainly goes one way. And I will always love her.

  • Joseph Duron

    Saying I hate you then later on “I’m sorry I don’t hate you.” That’s bothersome to me.

  • Erika Adriana

    One of the most painful responses ever – in any relationship – has to be the “You’re not fun” or “This is not a fun conversation”.

  • Ghuest

    Unfortunately, some men and women think because you need them that’s code for “I can walk all over her/him…… Don’t get it twisted-i might ‘need’ you but I don’t need and am NOT going to tolerate the bs!

  • Margriet

    My husband and I grew up in different countries/ cultures. It is (still) so easy to use phrases like “you guys do this (as in: your people/ culture)” or “we don’t do it that way”. We have learned that that is toxic for our marriage to talk about “we” and “you guys”: it continually emphasizes the differences instead of bringing unity. Instead we try to see the strengths and weaknesses in both and choose the best out of both worlds: the “we” and “you” are becoming “us” more and more!

  • merliejo

    Great article! Forever, we are told that ‘communication is the key’. So we think by opening our mouths and spewing whatever out is making progress when in fact, it’s doing damage. We are never taught HOW to communicate.

    For the hubs and I, how to deliver a message was what our arguments boiled down to. In the end, my husband would more often then not say, “I’m sorry. That didn’t come out right.”

    Case in point: For years, my husband would come home and ask, “So what did you do today?” I only can tell you that it made me want to cut someone. ;) For years, I would get so mad when he would ask that. Of course, as a mother of 5, I knew very well that I worked my apron off that day and thought, “Duh. Can’t you see??? Do you think I don’t work at all?” I took what he said as a slap in the face and a sarcastic remark. BUT later after hashing it out , he explained that his intention was not to be de-meaning…but he was…well…just asking! So after years of word-crunching…he finally found the right combo. Now I hear more of “I know you worked hard today. Did you have a heavy load?” Or “Did you get done what you wanted?” :)

    He still isn’t the grand – master at delivery but both him and I would agree that he has come a long way from 17 years ago (which is TOMORROW!! Woot!!!).

    Anyways, some days it seems that all we do is sharpen each others iron. Though it may seem so…well…downright’s amazing to see God work through us…for us.

    As an author once said, “The ultimate end result of marriage is not to make us happy…but to make us holy.”

    So where was I going with this? LOL…I have no idea.

    Oh! Don’t just communicate…but communicate right! :)


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  • Rt

    The other day I blurted out…what did you get myself into (referring to the marriage). So truly hurtful to my spouse but I was angry and fed up of our constant fighting. How do I reel back from this?

    • Rt

      It was meant to say…’What did I get myself into’

  • P.J.101

    No man should EVER marry !

    Marriage is a lose-lose-lose situation for men!

    But if you want to be a rightless slave,
    if you want to get completely exploited, parasited upon and end as a broken, poor slob while ure ex-wife leeches still of you while your lying on your death bed, then YES; then marriage absolutely the right thing to do !

  • Andy Hill

    This is an excellent article and a great reminder of how impartful words can be. Going home to love on my wife now!

  • Jordan Kranda

    Love this