Of course every marriage is different, but there are a few phrases that you are probably using on a regular basis that are doing nothing positive for your marriage and can often be surefire ways to start a fight.
You never/You always: The problem with using absolutes is that they are almost never true. (See how I tried to be clever and use an absolute to make my point? My #nerdstatus requires that I both try to be clever and point it out to you just in case you missed it.) But I digress…chances are saying “We never go out” or “You always put work before me” is only going to lead your spouse to start pointing out those one, three or 10 times that she actually did what you’re accusing her of never doing.
Instead: Know what you want, be specific about it and say, “I would love if we could ___ more often.” If you can replace more often with an actual time interval, even better.
Men are …/Women are… In my humble opinion, we as a culture spend too much time reading about, talking about and trying to understand “men” and “women” instead of trying to understand our own spouses as individuals. Sure there are some things that seem to be broadly true for both sexes. But you didn’t marry every man or woman, you married one. So, throwing “men always” or “women do…” into your conversations with your spouse can make him feel like you don’t respect him as the ONE you married.
Instead: Rather than trying to “figure out” your spouse by applying what all men or women do to your marriage, pay attention and find out what makes your own spouse tick as an individual.
Must be nice: Ooooh I catch myself doing this all the time. You hear about someone else’s spouse who sends flowers every day or cooks elaborate dinners every night and you say to your own spouse.. “must be nice”—in effect saying “Wow its really great that someone else’s spouse does this for them. You should be doing the same for me, but you suck so you don’t.” Yep, you might have only said three little words, but your spouse’s ears hear the latter.
Instead: Bite down hard on your tongue whenever you feel those words getting ready to come out of your mouth and compliment something that your spouse does instead.