Several weeks ago one of my friends told me a story about an altercation she had with her boyfriend. At this time they were dating for about seven months and she realized that the honeymoon phase of their relationship had officially been over. When I say honeymoon phase I mean that time in your relationship where everything was perfect, no arguments, you can’t get enough of each other and you stayed up late at night. Do you remember? After talking to her about their first major argument I identified some trigger language that she used that could really affect the way they argue in a very negative way.
1. “You always…”
My friend was very upset that her boyfriend didn’t let her choose what to do when they go out on dates. Even though he was trying to always initiate romance it felt like he was being domineering to her. One of the worst things you could ever say to your boyfriend (or anyone you care about) is this phrase “you always…” This implies that things cannot improve and it doesn’t help in the moment of the argument. It also takes away from the times when your boyfriend does do things right. An alternative to using the “You always…” phrase is “You tend to do this after work and I don’t like that you do this”.
2. “Why don’t you ever…”
My friend had a prior relationship in which her boyfriend took care of the oil change in her car. She assumed that her new boyfriend would do the same thing and had an expectation of him that he was not even aware of. The phrase “why don’t you ever…” implies that your boyfriend doesn’t want to do something that you earnestly desire. Maybe he has a desire to do whatever it is that you want from him but your desire wasn’t clearly communicated to him. An alternative to this phrase is “would you please…” This alternative is a little more humble and makes way to clearly communicate what you desire from him.
3. “You are an idiot”
When she was in the heat of the moment my friend called her boyfriend some variation of the word idiot. Language like this is very detrimental to your boyfriend because instead of speaking words of life into him you are speaking words that condemn him. There is no doubt that he might indeed be a moron in certain areas of his life. Any honest and humble man would admit that. But hearing that from the person he loves and cares about can adversely affect him.
My husband and I have had hundreds of arguments and will have thousands more in the decades to come. One that we had recently was about the fact that he left the house without setting the alarm on the house for the thousandth time. I shot him a text reminding him and yet he still forgot. I’m very thankful that I chose Smith Security as my home security company because the app notifies me when we leave the home without setting the alarm and the notification I received reminded me to remind him to set the alarm. Words have powerful impacts in our relationships. What kind of words are you using?