Never underestimate the damage done when we say hurtful things.
For some, being a husband is a lot like playing a video game. They rush right into it, don’t read any instructions, and learn by trial and error.
And when the game gets too difficult, they get mad and have a “mantrum” which includes saying mean things to the game or about the game.
Not all men are like this, but I’m sure you know a guy, or two, or three that fits the bill. I have compiled a list of phrases I’ve heard others say either directly or indirectly via their spouse.
Please, if you know “someone” (wink, wink) that may be using these phrases or a husband who says hurtful things like this, sit him down and have him read this list.
Here are 14 phrases good husbands never say to their wives:
1. “You don't make me happy.”
Although this is actually correct for another reason (your happiness is a product of your thoughts), this is still a poor choice of words. That’s like blaming your wife because you can’t remember your email password.
Instead, tell her you’re struggling to feel happiness in your life right now.
2. “I never thought we'd be married this long.”
I’m pretty sure you will open either a can of worms with this statement or a can of whoop ass.
There really is no way to come back from this statement. And, honestly, there’s no way I can help you with this.
3. “You've changed.”
You wanna know who else changed? You!
I prefer the term, “evolved.” In a marriage, you’re both supposed to evolve. Instead, tell her specifically what is troubling you in the marriage so that the marriage can evolve in a healthy way.
4. “________’s wife allows him to _______.”
Although this may have worked as a kid with your mother, your wife isn’t your mother. If you don’t want to be treated like a kid in your marriage, statements like this won’t help you.
Instead of your passive-aggressive approach of comparing her to another woman, just keep the focus on what you want.
Yes, this sounds like something every guy should know not to say, but, as this funny classic video from Dude Dad shows ... sometimes we say things we know are not going to be popular.
5. “If you really love me, you'd _______.”
And if you really loved her, you wouldn’t start a sentence with this at all.
Marriage is not a game of manipulation to get what you want. This statement is the gateway to your, “I’m lonely and unlovable” thinking. Instead, simply tell her how much ________ really means to you.
6. “You knew how I was when we first met.”
Nothing says, “I’m not going to accommodate to your evolving needs” like this statement.
In fact, why not just tell her, “Take it or leave it.” If you really aren’t trying to lose her, listen with the intent to learn how you can love her more effectively.
7. “No. I will not go to counseling with you.”
Perhaps you’re not interested in some stranger telling you how to become a better husband. But then again, you aren’t interested in listening to your wife, whom knows you very well, tell you either.
Your refusal to go implies you don’t love her enough nor is the marriage a high enough priority for you to go.
Marriage counseling is not about how wrong you all are; it’s about helping you both find what works.
8. “I'm only with you for the kids.”
Somehow you must have forgotten that the kids you share are there partly because of her.
Here’s a question: Since you don’t care about her, what messages should your children get about marriage from this? Not only do you hurt your wife with that belief, your children could suffer in the long run, as well.
9. "Get out!”
This is only OK if there’s some crisis situation (i.e. house on fire, a tree fell on the house, car stalls on the railroad tracks, etc.).
Outside of that, you’re being a bully. And she didn’t sign up to be bullied.
Besides, whatever the issue(s) may be at that time won’t get resolved because you kicked her out of you all’s home. Instead call for a “time out” so you both can cool off. And if either of you wants to go outside or leave, then you’re both free to do that.
10. “Your family is crazy."
I don’t even care if she calls them crazy.
Be careful talking negatively about the people that either raised her (adults in her childhood) or she grew up with (i.e. siblings, cousins, etc.). It’s like an unwritten rule that it’s always ok for her to say it. But there may be times when you say it that just might spark an argument.
Therefore, never agree nor do you ever say it, period.
11. “I'm not perfect.”
Newsflash: No one is! Let’s not insult her intelligence.
Furthermore, you are also implying that whatever you may have done to upset her is because her standards are too high (perfection). Instead of using this phrase, let’s try something like, “I’m sorry for ______.”
Take ownership for what you did and see how it can diffuse the situation.
12. “You're just like _______.”
Please don’t compare your wife to another woman or her mother.
This phrase is often used in a negative context, so you are actually giving an insult about someone else and your wife. It’s even worse if she also thinks negatively of the other person.
Just stick to what the concerns you have about her alone.
13. “It's not a big deal.”
Oh brother! If she says it’s an issue, it’s an issue. Address it now or hear about it forever.
Ask any guy who’s been married for at least 10 years. — the very fact that she felt she could tell you what’s bothering her is a great sign that she still cares.
If you don’t address it, eventually you’ll be hearing, “I don’t care,” or “Do whatever you want.”
14. “It’s cheaper to keep you.”
You’re talking to your wife, not making a decision on whether you should trade in your old car. To utter those words simply says you value money over her.
Great! So now she’s knows she’s not a top priority, and money is superior to her. Or perhaps you are challenging her to show you just how expensive losing her can be. Please erase this phrase from your vocabulary.
Score some points (and start a great conversation, which is actually the point!) with your wife and share this with her and ask her what she’d add to this list.
Listen patiently and attentively. Take notes. And thank her for her input.
You don’t have to be perfect at communication in your marriage, but you should strive to be great at it. This list, in addition to what your spouse shares, should help you (or your “friend”) along the way.
Also, click here for my other article on how to become a better husband for your wife.
Dr. Eric A. Williams is a counselor and marriage and family therapist specializing in both interpersonal and intrapersonal relationships who helps individuals and couples reconnect with their inner selves, as well as their partner. Contact him today to set up a face-to-face or telemental health counseling session so that he can “walk alongside” you, ensuring both personal and professional success.