As you increase communication with your spouse, arguments will happen. You may wish you could turn back the clock — over and over again. Hopefully, humor can keep the argument from exploding. If not, misunderstandings and fights tend to occur with greater frequency.
Now, for those wondering, there is no “How to Argue Correctly for Dummies” manual or an “Arguments 101” class. Nor is there such thing as a perfect relationship where disagreements never pop up. Despite the inevitability of an argument, some things should never be said. Here is a list of 10 of them.
1. “I want a divorce.” While the coals of temper are ablaze, it is easy to say things you do not mean. Asking for divorce, though, even if amends have been made and forgiveness, requested, is a difficult thing to erase. It brings a lack of confidence in one another.
2. “I’m not angry.” If you are not angry, then why are you making snappy remarks, slamming the door, putting him down or pretending that she does not exist? Denying your emotions will not help you in any way. We desire acceptance, and denying your reactions with those that love you is pointless. It is better to control your emotions and talk about what bothers you instead.
3. “You are just like your father!” When you say this, you are probably talking about your father-in-law’s defects, rather than his good qualities. Besides not seeing your husband for who he really is, this type of statement will immediately make him take the defensive. Think about it. What would you like your child to be doing in a similar situation, when that day arrives?
4. “You are a (insert negative adjective)!” Name-calling is ugly. Whether it is comparing her with someone you know or making her feel worthless, it will make her feel more vulnerable.
5. “Look, the kids are crying!” STOP! Before you read any farther, always remember: You should never, ever, argue in front of your children. If you use your children to gain advantage in a fight, it will only hurt your kids more.
6. “You are ALWAYS late, You NEVER do the dishes.” Be wary of and even remove the words never and always from your vocabulary when describing something your spouse does that irritates you. By using these words, you show total lack of confidence and hope that your partner even has the desire to change. Never generalize.
7. “It’s all your fault!” Rarely, in fact, almost never is something, in a marriage, only one partner’s fault. Assume responsibility and recognize your own faults.
8. “You don’t love me anymore!” There is already plenty of drama to go around, so why add to it by telling your wife how she feels — whether she loves you or not? Respect her feelings. Making yourself the victim, reducing the problem’s importance and avoiding the problem do not resolve anything.
9. “Why don’t you act more like (insert name here)’s husband?” Do not compare the person you chose to be with to anyone else. You already saw and understood the best and the worst about him before you got married. Besides, if you see someone else looking perfect and desirable, it’s probably only on the outside. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Keep your problem at home.
10. “My mother warned me about this!” Bringing someone else into the fight is complicated enough as it is. Make that person your mother and the whole situation will probably explode. If you are so devoted to your mother, and if she had warned you about this, then why did you marry your wife in the first place? Most people already don’t like their mother-in-laws, but telling your wife that she is disliked by your mother will only make matters worse.
Now, just because you have used one or more of the phrases listed above, all is not lost. You can change. Stop now, ask for forgiveness and set goals to stop repeating the mistake. No article, paper or manual can help you save your marriage or strengthen your family if you do not apply what has been taught. Practice good communication. Your marriage is the most important relationship in helping to maintain family unity.
Editor's note: This article originally appeared on Family Share. It has been reprinted here with permission.
Translated and adapted by David Hall from the original article “10 coisas que voce nunca deve dizer ao conjuge durante uma briga” by Chris Ayres.