We love our partners, but sometimes they can say those things that just irk us and make us think, ‘really? You just said that?’ Here are 10 phrases that could best be left at the door (so you, and your relationship, are not!):
1. “What are You Mad About Now?”
This may seem like an innocent, “I’m so understanding,” sort of phrase, but we all know what it means. Putting that “now” at the end of the sentence implies that we’re always complaining or that we’re nagging our spouse about something all the time. So not only do they not know why you’re mad, now you’re mad a second time! This is how arguments escalate and why this phrase should never be said. Try talking to your spouse to let them know how you feel when they say this, and ask how they feel too, to understand why they’re asking the question in the first place.
Telling someone to relax as if it were possible to do so on command is not only a copout; it can be very frustrating. We would all much rather be in a Jacuzzi tub at the spa while someone massages our feet, right? Since we’re here though and having a discussion like two mature adults, I think I’ll direct my attention to the matter at hand, which is working through conversations with a healthy dose of communication and respect for one another. Telling your spouse to “Relax!” will likely have exactly the opposite effect, and can work them up more. Instead of telling your partner to relax, try bringing them their favorite drink or offer them a neck massage to help them physically calm down.
3. “My Ex Used to…”
Whoa! Oh, no you didn’t! If your partner or spouse keeps bringing up “the Ex” you may feel unfairly compared to someone from their past, or you may find yourself doing the same with them. This is one of the most common relationship challenges, recognizing your partner had a past, and allowing each other to be who they are, now. A great tip? Never, no matter what, compare each other to “the Ex!” Your relationship with them didn’t work, remember? Unless you want a repeat performance, or want to be permanently relocated to the couch, it’s best to avoid this phrase completely. Even though at the moment you may be at odds, it still hurts to be compared to a bad experience, period.
4. “This was the Nicest Vacuum Cleaner in the Mall!”
Good, then you won’t mind cleaning the floors while I’m on strike. Nobody in the history of ever has actually wanted a vacuum for their birthday, Christmas or anniversary. Nobody! Say this out loud: “Tif-fa-ny’s.” For what a fancy vacuum cleaner costs you can buy her something she will never forget. There’s just something about that little blue box tied with a silk ribbon that says, “I cherish you,” better than anything else on the planet. Try it and you’ll see.
5. “Whatever You Want to Do is Fine”
Giving us control of our next move every other time is fine. That’s fair, but when a spouse or partner never makes a decision, that’s annoying. For example, when it comes to dinner plans, if we ask you what you’re hungry for, it means we would like to know. An answer of “whatever” is something we do not want to hear and should never be uttered if you plan on keeping healthy love relationships. Not only is it poor communication, your partner may feel like this meal is just like every other meal and take your blasé comment to mean you’re growing tired of their efforts. That’s not going to motivate anyone to make or arrange dinner for you. Thank your partner for letting you decide, but that you need help making a selection. Make it a team effort for a much more positive outcome.
6. “But You’re At Home All Day!”
If you have children with your partner, and one of you stays home to raise them, it can be just as, or even more, demanding as a full-time job outside the home. Stay-at-home spouses never get to leave their responsibilities at 5 pm like they would if they worked in an office, especially with multiple children keeping them busy all day. Saying this indicates that one spouse has no idea, or concept, of how much work it is to stay at home and manage the house and kids all day. This makes the stay-at-home spouse feel lonely and depressed, not to mention underappreciated. Never comment on the fact that they’ve been home all day. Instead, find something positive to say like “the house looks great!” The stay-at-home spouse will feel appreciated, and appreciate you when they hear it.
7. “You are Starting to Act Like Your Mother”
This comment can be especially dangerous depending on your relationship with your partner’s mom. If you are BFF’s then it might – might – come across as a compliment. Chances are, though if one spouse is constantly bringing up the other’s parents, it’s not a good sign. Comparing your spouse to anyone just isn’t highly recommended. Never compare us to your mother or to our own!
8. “Are You Really Wearing That?”
The perfect answer to this question is, “Why, yes. Your mother picked this out. Do you like it?” You’re welcome.
9. “Yes, You Do Look Like You’ve Gained Some Weight”
There are some questions that simply do not require any honesty whatsoever. “Do I look fat?” is one of them. It doesn’t matter if you’re male or female; the last thing anyone wants to feel is unattractive. You should keep this in mind when answering this potentially fatal question. What your spouse wants to hear is that they look great! If you’re the one asking the question, find a way to develop open communication about your body, and tell your partner what you’d love to hear from them! The more you ask, the more you’ll receive, and sometimes it’s just a matter of saying, “honey, I really want to rock my confidence today – can you tell me I look beautiful?” (Or handsome, well dressed, whatever the case may be.) Opening up may take practice, but it’s so worth it.
10. “This is Almost As Good As My Mother’s!”
Husbands, this is for you. While you may mean this as a compliment, “your mother’s” being the standard to which everyone is measured, it still comes across as demeaning. Wives don’t appreciate being compared to another woman, any woman, even if that other woman is your mom. And unless you would like to inherit all the cooking duties from now on (for which you would most likely need your mother’s advice) then keep the comparisons to yourself. Focus more on what your wife, girlfriend (or husband or boyfriend, if they’re the household chef!) is doing right, and be sure to point out what’s unique about them. This way, they’ll feel that special recognition – and what you recognize grows!
Partners, unfortunately, do not come with an instruction manual. Knowing how to have a healthy relationship sometimes takes some trial and error, years of experience and a willingness to be fully in the relationship. If you have people in your life that have been with their partners for a long time, sit down with them one evening and just listen. Chances are they will have some sage advice for you about relationships and how to make the best of yours.
Florence, Dan. “10 Things You Should Never Say to Your Wife.” http://familyshare.com/10-things-you-should-never-say-to-your-wife . Internet. Retrieved 19 November 2014.
Henderson, Chuck. “30 Things You Should Never Say to a Woman and 5 Things You Always Should.” http://wallstreetinsanity.com/30-things-you-should-never-say-to-a-woman-and-5-things-you-should/ . Internet. Retrieved 19 November 2014.