Here Are 5 “Harmless” Phrases You Shouldn’t Say to Your Spouse

When you first meet the love of your life, there’s all the feels: Butterflies beyond belief, hoping they don’t think it’s weird that you snort laugh, worrying if your breath is decent for a kiss…

After you get married, there’s still a lot of feels, so to speak, but they can gradually change over time. Of course you still love your spouse, five, 10, 15, or however many years later, but somewhere along the way, as we get more and more comfortable with each other, we might find ourselves spouting off comments that we might not have otherwise said in year one.

Sound familiar? While arguments can be healthy in a relationship—and totally normal—there’s a point where harsh comments can have a negative affect. Sometimes, these phrases can even harm the marriage to the point of no return—especially if these phases are constantly coming out of your mouth.

It’s important to be able to work through your problems, and not just scream and yell and accuse and demand, so much so until someone gets so exhausted and decides to sleep on the couch. Take a look at some of these detrimental-to-marriage phrases—and bite your tongue the next time you want to say them:

  1. “You’re a ____!”

    Jerk? Coward? Totally inappropriate curse word? Whenever you tell your partner that they are something, that paints the picture that you think they are always a jerk, coward, or whatever you’re calling them. This type of unsupportive name-calling can take its toll on their self-esteem. Other variations: “Are you really that stupid?” or “How could you be so careless?” both of which can eat away at their confidence, and ultimately, the relationship.

  2. “You never do/you’re always so…”

    “You never take the trash out.” “You’re always late to events.” These all-or-nothing phrases can make your spouse seem like they can never do anything right—and also that you believe they can never change. That can eat away at the relationship, and honestly? It won’t typically even help! Instead of calling them out for things they don’t do, tell them how happy it would make you if you did them. You might get a way better outcome that way!

  3. “If you loved me, you’d…”

    First off, this implies that your spouse doesn’t love you—and if you really think that, then that’s a huge problem in and of itself. Most of the time, this type of phrasing will put your partner on the defense, and make him or her feel pressured to do something to prove their love—and that can really test the relationship.

  4. “I don’t believe you”

    Being able to trust your partner is one of the most important parts of any relationship—and saying this is implying that you don’t trust your partner. If you’re not quite sure if you’re getting the whole story, you can try something like “I’m having trouble understanding if you’re telling me the whole story,” which will lessen the “you’re LYING!” aspect of the phrasing (and likely get them to actually tell you the whole story).

  5. “I want a divorce”

    Unless you truly want a divorce (which of course, will end the marriage), you should never drop the D bomb. This tells your partner you’re *this* close to leaving, and they might feel like they’re under a microscope; that anything they do will make you one step closer to filing the papers. That can lead to resentment and a slew of other unpleasant marriage tribulations. “Divorce is never something to be expressed unless you’ve explored every avenue of making it work together,” says Antonia Hall, MA, a psychologist, relationship expert, and author of The Ultimate Guide to a Multi-Orgasmic Life. “Just the mention of it in jest can cause serious hurt and doubt in his mind and serious damage to the relationship.”

Have children? Here are 5 other phrases you should never say to your spouse—especially in front of the little ones:

Have you ever said any of these phrases to your spouse before? How did they react?