Want to avoid the doghouse? Here are 12 things to leave in your head and not out of your mouth…
1. “You always ____” or “You never _____”
The absolutes “always” or “never” are exaggerations. Even if it seems like it, your wife doesn’t ALWAYS steal the blanket. Instead, focus on the specific incident, even if it’s happened 30 days in a row.
2. “You make me so angry”
No one can make you feel anything. One person will get cut off in traffic, chase offender down in rage, and flip him off. Another person will shrug if off and realize the driver has probably just had an inferior driver’s ed instructor. Poor guy. So tell your wife how you’re feeling because of the specific event, realizing that your feelings stem from your past and your preconditioning.
3. “You’re just like _____” .. or .. “Why can’t you be more like _____”
Stop comparing your wife to a relative, a friend’s wife, or even your ideal celebrity crush. Know that your wife is unique, and special. Treat her like the 1 in 7 billion she is.
4. “This has happened X times now.”
Do NOT keep score. Sure, relationships should be about give and take, but if you keep track of every little detail you’re competing against your wife rather than working with her. I’m sure you screw up more than you realize. You don’t want her to keep track. You shouldn’t either.
5. “You’re so messy”
Criticisms, even as passive aggressive jokes, hurt. Focus on your wife’s strengths and compliment those. If there’s an ongoing issue, follow the FFMM and use the sandwich method or conflict resolution.
6. “I know I screwed up, but so did you”
Learn to accept responsibility for your actions without trying to deflect blame. Great husband are great at apologizing. If you’re resolving a conflict, you’ll get your chance to let her know how you feel about what she did. Just wait till after you apologize for your mistakes.
7. “This is the same as the time when you ______”
Never bring up past, resolved issues. When you forgive, you usually don’t forget … but if you’ve resolved it, it’s history. Deal with what’s just happened. If a resolved conflict keep coming up over and over, it’s time for counseling.
8. “If you’d only do it like this …”
Don’t try to improve your wife. She sees the world in a completely different way than you. She has talents, gifts and abilities you don’t. Realize that there usually many different ways to get it done.
9. “But, but …”
Don’t interrupt. Let go of your buts and just wait until your wife’s finished sharing her side of things. However long it takes.
10. “Well you have to _________”
Even if she would oblige to a demand, her heart won’t be in the right place. Asking for something humbly and politely will show that you realize she doesn’t HAVE to do anything for you … and that you appreciate what she does.
11. “If you do that again, I’m leaving”
Never use threats. They shatter your wife’s confidence in your marriage and push your marriage to the edge.
12. “Maybe we should just get a divorce”
Never ever use this word. When you married your wife, you locked the door to any other options. So throw out the key by committing to never using the D word.