Relationship Help: 5 Words and Phrases to Avoid Using

Sticks and stones may break your bones, but let’s be honest: words hurt, too.

Even after years of a marriage where you and your partner are completely open and honest with each other, it’s still wise to set some boundaries and refrain from using words and phrases that may hurt your relationship.

Below, we’re going to discuss five things that you should shouldn’t say to your partner.

Insults (“Fat,” “Stupid,” “Lazy”).

This should be an obvious one, but after you’re together for years, it can be a lot easier to get frustrated when your partner does something annoying and resort to name-calling. Unfortunately, not only do insults sting, they do nothing to improve your relationship or the situation at hand.

If you would like to see your partner work out more, calling them “lazy” will not magically put them on a treadmill. Rather than shaming or insulting your spouse, think of ways that you can positively influence their behavior. Going back to the exercise example, maybe it is time you start hitting the gym yourself. With any luck, your spouse will follow along, and you will both enjoy the benefits of this new habit.


Has your spouse ever said “whatever” during an argument and made you feel good?

Even if “whatever” is said with good intentions, it is rarely perceived positively. Instead of brushing your spouse off with “whatever,” calmly explain why you are now okay with the situation, or that you would like to talk about the situation later.

“He/she got that from you.”

If your child is acting up, putting the blame on the other parent will do nothing for the child’s behavior, and it is likely to put a wedge between you and your spouse.

Don’t do it. The child does not care whose traits are whose. Again, to remedy the situation, think of ways that you can positively influence your child’s behavior.

“Leave me alone.”

When you’re upset with your spouse, it is common to want alone time to think or process your feelings. Rather than trying to communicate this message by giving your partner a command, talk about the reasons why you would like to be alone.

Your spouse is around you to fix the situation at hand, and this effort should be appreciated rather than put down.

Comparing Your Spouse to Others (“My Ex Did This…” “I Wish You Were More Like…”).

You and your spouse are unique individuals, and your relationship is unique from any other relationship that you or anyone else has had. You have grown and learned so much since your previous relationships, and comparing your spouse to your ex is like comparing apples to oranges.

The general rule for speaking with your spouse is this: think about your intent before you speak.

What are you trying to accomplish with your words: to further improve your connection? To appreciate your spouse? To protect their well-being? How are your words reflecting your core values, and your feelings?

If your words are being used to hurt your relationship, refrain from saying them out loud.

To learn more about communication with your spouse or get other kinds of relationship help, talk to an Imago Relationship Therapist today.