Three Things You Should Never Say To Your Spouse
Here are three things you should never say to your spouse and why.
1) “You always…”
The vast majority of the time, this statement is just not true. Most of the time it’s an exaggeration born out of frustration or hurt.
When a spouse says “you always” do such and such, what the other spouse hears is, “You’re purposely hurting me.” Always doing something carries with it the connotation that it’s being done on purpose, because it takes diligence, focus, and work to “always” do something.
Another thing a spouse might be hearing when you say “you always” is, “You’re really not trying to stop.” It’s hard to believe that someone’s trying to stop doing something when you believe that they are doing something all the time.
It’s best to refrain from saying that your spouse “always” does something, especially when you are hurt or frustrated. More than likely, your spouse is not purposely trying to hurt you and is really trying to stop. Let’s face it, we all have things we wish we would not do, that we actually do often (Rom 7:19). We all need the present power of the gospel to save us from the power of sin.
2) “You never…”
Just like “you always”, “you never” is usually not true either. Most of the time it’s an exaggeration born out of frustration or hurt.
What a spouse often hears when you say that they “never” do something is, “You don’t care.” It’s hard to believe that someone really cares, if you believe that they “never” do something.
It’s best to refrain from saying that your spouse “never” does something, especially when you are hurt or frustrated. More than likely, you’re spouse does care. Maybe he or she doesn’t care as much as they should, but more than likely they do care, but are having a hard time doing what they want to do. Again, if we are honest, we all have things that we want to do that we don’t actually do very often (Rom 7:18-19). We all need the present power of the gospel to save us from the power of the sin of omission.
Always and Never Responses
Saying that a spouse “always” or “never” does something when in fact, it’s not true, will usually elicit one of two responses:
- Either the spouse will be frustrated that the other spouse doesn’t notice their efforts and will start trying to prove the other spouse wrong, resulting in an argument, or
- the spouse will be so discouraged that all their effort is going unnoticed, that they just give up trying all together.
I understand that the commitment to refrain from talking about divorce has to be mutual. If a spouse brings it up, then it forces the other to talk about it. Unfortunately though, many couples use this word jokingly, for manipulation, or see it as a viable option if they’re not happy. This weakens the strength of the covenant.
In a covenant, you feel loved in the good times because times are good, and you feel loved in the bad times because of the commitment that was made in the good times, to never leave you or forsake you in the bad. That’s the power of covenant; you feel loved in the good times and the bad. When divorce is on the table, you only feel loved in the good times.
Every marriage goes through good times and bad times. My wife and I have had difficult times in our marriage where we didn’t “feel” love for each other. But because divorce was not an option, we knew that neither of us were going anywhere. Our commitment to stick with each other caused us to feel love from each other when we didn’t feel love for each other. That’s the beauty of the marriage covenant.
Setting yourself up to feel unloved in the bad times by talking about divorce, is unhelpful when you need to feel loved the most. Mutually committing to leave this word off the table is an act of love strengthening your marriage for both the good times and the bad.
Are you guilty of saying any of these?
(Image Credit: The Library of Congress)
About Josh Christophersen
Josh is a software engineer, church planter, and blogger with a passion for helping people do their life well. He lives in KC with his wife and 7 kids.