How To Stop Hurting Your Spouse With Your Words
Words have the power of life or death, especially in a marriage. They can make you feel like you’re on cloud 9 one day and hopeless and dead the next.
Saying hurtful words is never right in a marriage, but the wrong words at the wrong time are especially lethal and can destroy your relationship.
Un/Intentionally Hurting Your Spouse
Before you speak, especially in moments of anger and frustration, think things through if you care about the happiness of your marriage and your spouse’s feelings.
Unfortunately, sometimes a spouse will use words to intentionally hurt their partner during an argument. They feel entitled to hurt their partner because they’ve been hurt or are hurting.
Some of the most hurtful, ugly words are spoken between spouses during heated arguments — like deadly missiles targeting the heart.
What Do You Want For Your Marriage?
Don’t you want a healthy, happy marriage that has what it takes to work through problems and conflict in a way that heals and restores your relationship?
You might feel like hurting your spouse because you’re hurting, but is that what you really want? Do you really want to break your partner’s heart?
“Sticks and stones may break our bones, but words will break our hearts.” (Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.)
Have The Right Mindset
If you want a happy marriage – one that feels fulfilling and blissful on most days – then think before you speak, which starts with having the right mindset.
Here are some tips for developing a mindset that seeks to avoid hurting your spouse’s feelings, even when you feel like hurting them back:
Choose Your Words Wisely
Words can ignite loyalty, inspire a heart, and shape a person’s life, even changing their destiny, for the better, or even for the worst.
Words can breathe life and hope into the soul or mutilate a heart.
They can assassinate a character, estrange a heart, send a person packing, and be profoundly unkind and cruel.
In your marriage, please think before you speak because words have amazing power to heal or destroy.
Be Mindful of Your Spouse’s Past
Every relationship has a history of emotional baggage, pain, wounds, scars, unresolved issues, and sometimes trauma.
You can trigger a traumatic memory or feeling even when you say something with the best intentions.
Guard your marriage and make it flourish by thinking before you speak; choose your words wisely to preserve your relationship.
Ask, are these words coming from a loving heart? Or from a heart that seethes with hurt, bitterness, rage, or another damaging emotion?
The Destructive Impact of Hurtful Words
You can never take back hurtful, hateful words. Ever.
You can apologize and try to make things right, healing any damage you caused, but words in a heated argument cut deeply and affect a marriage; when the damage is done, it’s done.
Think before you speak.
Take a few minutes to cool down. Revisit the conversation later when you can control your emotions and words.
Then, when you speak, consider how your words will affect your spouse. Will your words make them feel bad, hopeless, or helpless?
Will they lessen their confidence and make them feel inadequate? Stronger or weaker?
Will your words make your partner a better or worse spouse?
Your Timing Matters
Remember that timing is everything when using constructive, productive, or critical words, especially during conflict.
So please avoid using negative, hurtful words during emotionally charged conversations or when rushed for time.
Your Motive Matters Even More
Consider why you want to say something at all. What do you hope to accomplish?
What’s your reason and motive?
Do you want to make yourself feel better? Get something off your chest? Speak your mind? Fill the silence? Inflict pain? Heal? Restore?
Will your words come across unkind? Do you want to use them to shrug things off to avoid a situation you should address?
It will help if you have good reasons and healthy motives for the words you choose.
Speak With the End In Mind
Thinking before you speak is necessary for any marriage because you can’t take your words back.
It’s best to avoid breaking your spouse’s heart in the first place.
Once you break your partner’s heart, it will be broken, no matter how much you try to put the pieces back together.
The Power of Saying I’m Sorry
While it’s true you can never take your words back or undo the damage, words have the power to heal and restore.
Words have the power to create new beginnings.
Words have the power to make hearts feel safe again.
There’s power in saying, “I’m so sorry for hurting you. It’ll never happen again.” And then back your words up with action.
There’s Power in Asking, “Will you forgive me?”
Asking for forgiveness is a choice There’s great power in those words. And they’re a sign of humility. Asking for, giving, and receiving forgiveness is an act of love.
Love is a choice and an action verb. There’s power in saying, “I love you,” and demonstrating it with actions by doing your best not to hurt them again, especially regarding the same issue, and not walking all over them. So don’t cheapen it with empty words and promises you don’t intend to keep.
Don’t say “I’m sorry” and “I love you” to get out of the doghouse temporarily, only to repeat the offense.
Treasure Your Marriage
Your words are clues to what you treasure most: Yourself or your spouse.
Choose your words carefully before speaking.
Speak words of life and hope into your spouse.
Build them up! Guard their heart! Protect their feelings!
Make them feel grateful they have the privilege of sharing forever with you, simply by the words you choose to express your love for them because when you do, you unlock your best marriage!