Knowing what to say is never easy. Communication is one of the most difficult aspects of being human. We have to talk, but our words can do tremendous damage.
Marriage doesn’t make it any easier. While committing our lives to one another should give us some freedom to make mistakes, there are some things we should never say to our wives.
Here are 7 things never to say to your wife:
1. Is it your time of the month? You can wonder it. You can be more compassionate because you think it might be so. But never, and I MEAN NEVER, ask that question in the midst of a serious discussion. The question diminishes the feelings of our spouse. It causes her to think we are not taking her point seriously. It allows her to assume she is not being heard. It communicates that we think she isn’t in control of her thoughts or emotions. If your wife want’s to connect her cycle with her current emotions, that is her right, but a husband should never do so.
2. You’re just like your mother (when not meant as a compliment). If your wife adores her mother, it’s possible this could be said as a compliment. My wife would take it as so. However, if there is any hint of negativity regarding the statement, do not say it.
3. My mom never did that. Other variations of this would be: “You’re starting to sound like my mother.” “Maybe you should ask my mother how to cook that.” The relationship between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law can be a tough one. Never complicate the interaction by comparing one to the other in a negative way.
4. What you need to do is ______. There are times in which a husband can give his wife advice–when she asks for it. If your wife specifically says, “What do you think I should do?” It is expected that you should tell her your opinion. However, if she is simply telling you about a situation, keep your opinions to yourself. In most cases she doesn’t need to be told what to do; she needs you to hear how she feels. If she feels heard, she will figure out what to do. Listen to her, don’t fix her. Instead of saying, “What you need to do is _____.” Try saying, “What do you plan on doing?”
5. Just do it later. This is often said with great compassion. A husband sees his wife working too hard and desires her to rest. It’s said with compassion, but it isn’t heard with compassion. Many times wives hear this statement as though their husbands are annoyed by their hard work or their husbands actually think their wives won’t be as busy later as they are now. Instead of saying, “just do it later,” try saying, “How can I help you?”
6. Why are you so tired? If you don’t know the answer to that, spend a day doing what she does. Of course your wife is tired. Consider everything she is doing on a daily basis. Women are notorious for being horrible about taking care of themselves. They do everything for everyone and rarely take time to rest or rejuvenate. This is exhausting. At minimum they have the right to expect their husbands to see their weariness. Instead of saying “Why are you so tired?” try saying, “How are you not exhausted?”
7. You’re crazy. If she is crazy, telling her she’s crazy isn’t going to help. Chances are she is not crazy. Men and women see the world in different ways. These differences can normally be explained by differing perspectives, not a difference between right and wrong. Calling someone crazy means their ideas aren’t even worth considering. This devalues your wife and injures your relationship. Instead of saying, “You’re crazy,” try saying, “I have a differing opinion.” It contrasts your ideas from hers, but it does so while still validating that her viewpoint is legitimate.
Bonus: number 8 is saved for Jenny. The one line she never wants me to say is:
8. I’ll just eat a sandwich I guess. Jenny is a great cook and she loves to cook new things. I, however, do not like to try new things. I don’t think it is her responsibility to make sure I like dinner, but I also don’t feel obligated to always eat what she cooks (especially if she knows I don’t like it). So I’ll try to stop saying this, but I don’t know what I’ll start saying. “Oh, I can’t wait to try that new soup” will not become my new line.
Wives: What would you add to this list?
Husbands: Would you be brave enough to ask your wife what is one thing she wishes you would stop saying?