"Know this: things go bad from time to time in any relationship," says Dennis Lin, M.D, relationship expert and sex psychologist. Whether it's a bad financial decision, a child in trouble at school, or a busted water pipe in the kitchen, there will be times when you want to want to lash out with these words. Fight that urge. "The blame game never works," says Dr. Lin. "It alienates. It divides. It most certainly undermines trust and openness in your relationship.?"
You probably don't say it quite like this. Sometimes you just toss out the "I don't care" and leave the rest unsaid. Other times, you ask for your husband's opinion -- and then do the opposite of what he suggests. "I would never tell my spouse that I don't care what she thinks about any topic we're discussing," says Salvatore Simeone, founding partner of New Jersey family law firm Simeone & O'Sullivan.
A divorce lawyer who gets involved when marriages aren't working out and learns from other couples' bad examples, Simeone suggests a more respectful approach. "I would say that I really want to hear what she has to say -- but could we pick up the conversation a little later," whether its because you've got a deadline for work, you're too tired to give the conversation your attention, or you're simply in the wrong frame of mind.
Left unchecked, these are easily marriage-ending words. Parenting is a learning process, and if you're honest with yourself, you'll remember at least one time you made a poor parenting decision. So that's where you should start, says Jennifer Freed, Ph.D., a licensed marriage and family counselor. "Acknowledge that you both have many things to learn about being good parents, and ask if you can offer some feedback on something specific you've observed," she suggests.
Remember, too, that even if your spouse does things differently, he's not necessarily wrong. For example, you might think that dinner should include a vegetable -- and you might not count ketchup. Will one night -- or even a month -- without salad cause permanent damage? Probably not.
Statements like these focus only on mistakes and weakness. "If you notice that these feelings are prevalent in your relationship, then it would be a good idea to see a relationship counselor," says Carl Sheperis, Ph.D, Director of Doctoral Programs at Walden University. He also suggests that you make an effort to be aware of your feelings towards your spouse and work at actively feeling -- and behaving -- more generous and loving.
Sometimes, you feel like your psychic. You know exactly how a situation will turn out -- and you're right. You would be completely, totally justified in announcing your foresight to the world, right? Wrong, says Dr. Lin. "These four words are rarely ever used in successful marriages. This kind of 'comeuppance' has no place in a loving relationship. There is no need to remind your spouse that you were right about something and he was wrong"
Knowing what not to say in a relationship is an important skill. Watching your words carefully can help create a more loving marriage -- and a happier family.
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