We could all take mental note of how we speak to our spouses. When you have gotten to a place in your relationship where you are comfortable enough to say anything on your mind, you forget to take caution to what you are saying. Before you speak, test to see which category your remarks belong to.
Encouraging Verses Discouraging
Some people feel the need to be “reality police.” They do not encourage big dreams and they do not welcome change. There are enough people in the world crushing your spouse with reality. Encourage your spouse in their interests and desires, even if it is not in your own best interest. You can be honest with someone about the situation without dragging down their enthusiasm. Your job is not to tell your spouse what will or will not succeed. Your job is to stand by your spouse whether they succeed or fail.
Hopeful Verses Hopeless
The last thing a person needs when things go wrong is someone saying how hopeless the situation is. A lot of hopeless statements include pessimistic elements such as, “We’ll never get back on our feet again after this set back” or “Now our kids will never get a good education.” Not only do these statements hurt the person you are saying them to, but they are also false. No one knows the future. What your spouse needs is someone who encourages them to work through what has happened. No situation is hopeless. Be the voice that says so.
Honest Verses Dishonest
Is your husband really the most selfish human being on the planet? Is your wife really the most agitating person you know? Probably not, so why say it in the heat of an argument? It is in the midst of intense emotions that people make false accusations against someone’s character. For example, you might call your husband lazy for not mowing the lawn all weekend, but in reality you know it is not true because works 50 hours a week. It is not fair to accuse someone of a character flaw they do not have simply because you are not getting your way. And if you do honestly think they are lazy or selfish or agitating, do not speak of it out of anger or heightened emotion. Say something such as, “I know the economy is hard, but I do not feel like you are doing all you can to support the family financially.” Bring it back to how you feel, not to what you think the other person lacks. Let them reflect on their own character and make a decision about it. You are not around to fix your spouse’s flaws.
Loving Verses Manipulative
Love includes freedom. Love has nothing to do with trying to control someone or rigging an event to lean in your favor. Guilt trips and false accusations are forms of manipulation. We want someone to react to us or a situation a certain way, so we throw out things like, “You don’t really care about my needs”or “A good wife wouldn’t do that.” The more you try to manipulate someone, the more they are going to resent you for it.