Things You Can Never Say in a Fight

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When you and your spouse have a spat, there are some words and topics you should avoid.

Your most treasured relationships should be protected from certain statements or words. Notice how I don’t say all of your relationships, because quite frankly, we can be cruelest to the people we love the most. Why – because we actually care more about the people closest to us than we do about strangers. I don’t believe this is wrong, it’s simply natural.

I would need serious medication if I kept treating total strangers like I treat my own family. We are harder on the people we actually care about, which is why we need to put some structure on what we say and don’t say.

Following is a list of things you should not say in a fight that some of my counselors and retreat attendees at The Smalley Marriage and Family Center came up with:

  1. Don’t use "never" or "always" in statements (this only causes defensiveness and raises the intensity of the conflict)
  2. Don’t comment on the person’s appearance negatively
  3. Don’t bring up the past and use it against someone
  4. Don’t curse at each other
  5. Don’t mention divorce (I can not stress this one enough; you can never threaten divorce because you can never take that statement back)
  6. Don’t say “I hate you!”
  7. Don’t say “You’re just like your mother!” (in other words, try and keep extended family out of the argument)
  8. Don’t use “You” in blaming, intense sentences
  9. Don’t make personal attacks like, “You’re so lazy!” or “You’re worthless!”
  10. Don’t turn the table on someone. In other words, you can’t say something like “Well, I’m not the only one who doesn’t clean the house…you…”
  11. Don’t kitchen sink (which means you can’t bring up everything the person has ever done to you. Keep it to the here and now.)

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