Phrases to Never, Ever Say to Your Spouse!


Our words are powerful aren’t they?

The words we speak can either bring life and connection to the relationship, or they can destroy trust and cause hurt feelings. Words have real consequences. They affect how people perceive us, they affect how people respond to us, and they ultimately affect the quality of our marriage. 

While working with couples, I’ve learned that many people don’t fully understand which phrases are hurtful and why. It may seem obvious to some, but I wanted to clearly list the phrases you have to stay away from and explain why they cause so much hurt in a marriage. 

“I don’t think I love you anymore.”  

Love is a choice, not a feeling and throwing out this statement can cause years of hurt feelings. You may not be feeling the love at the moment, but saying this phrase out loud is just mean and selfish. How is your spouse supposed to respond to you?  How would you react to your spouse telling you that they may not love you anymore? 

“You’re fat.” 

Probably the most hurtful thing a spouse can say and you know why? Being critical of your spouse’s weight goes much deeper than what the scale says. It communicates that you don’t find your spouse attractive, even if that’s not the case. This phrase is damaging because it impacts your spouse’s self-esteem and will forever make them feel self-conscious in and out of the bedroom. 

“You’re crazy.” 

Your spouse may be acting crazy but this is a trigger phrase for most people. The word crazy typically refers to someone’s mental state and if you are saying that your spouse is acting/sounding crazy, that’s implying that they have mental issues and you’re putting a label on them. It also makes them incredibly defensive, which isn’t helpful to either of you.

“I wish I never married you.”

Talk about a phrase that communicates – I have made the worst mistake of my life! You are responsible for your choices and no one forced you to marry your spouse. Saying this phrase breaks all intimacy and trust for a long period of time. 

“You’re so stupid!”

This is called character shaming which basically means that you’re making your spouse feel like something is wrong with them. Shame makes us feel terrible, like we’re horrible people, broken, worthless, and disgusting. And when someone shames us, we lose respect for that person. 

“It’s all your fault.” 

Well, 97% of the time, it’s impossible for your marriage problems to be all on one spouse. It takes two to be married and typically spouses who are insecure or prideful cannot see their part in the marriage. Healthy spouses can take ownership for their words, actions, attitude and behavior. 

“You’re just like your mom.” 

Probably a trigger for most people who came from unhealthy and dysfunctional families. You’re basically saying that your spouse has turned out to be an exact replica of their parent (mom or dad), implying that you don’t like their mom or dad and so therefore, you don’t like the way your spouse is behaving. Now, they may be acting just like their mom and dad but don’t say it! Instead, be aware that they learned these behaviors from their parents and are probably unaware of how unhealthy it is and take the time to deal with the behavior in front of you and how it’s impacting your marriage.

“I hate you!”

Hate is an angry word that is highly aggressive and can cause fear and doubt in your relationship. Cynical people use the word “hate” often and are typically more negative in their thoughts and feelings. When we use the word hate, we often mean that there isn’t one positive thing you like about it. Better to say, “I am really upset with you right now.” 

“I never loved you.” 

This phrase has the power to taint past acts of love and ruin future acts of love and once you say this phrase, you can’t take it back. Ever. You can apologize all you want, but this phrase will leave a deep scar on your spouse and will create doubt that will linger in their mind. Love is a choice, so when you use this phrase, what you’re saying is “I refuse to choose to love you and everything I’ve done that looked like love before was just so I could get “XYZ out of you”. Ouch.  

Oftentimes, we say things out of anger which doesn’t excuse the behavior but is the explanation.

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Wanting to work on being more optimistic and positive with your words? Here are 8 Phrases to Say to Your Spouse that will bring more love and connection.

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6 thoughts on “Phrases to Never, Ever Say to Your Spouse!”

  1. There are subtle, stabbing jabs that can be painful when people use underhanded, everyday phrases. For example, to say things like, "If you had any brains,…" , or "the smart people …. ", or "Let me say this again for the slow people,…." Words can really hurt even when the one saying them doesn’t "MEAN" to hurt. Straight out saying, "You’re stupid!" is obvious, but some people tend to underhandedly stab with their words. When confronted, oftentimes, they’ll just claim that’s not what they meant at all, but my contention is, then it should be thought about … hard! … before it’s stated. Think, "How will it sound if I say, _____?" Or even, "How would I like it if somebody said _______ to me?"

  2. I would like to get a better understanding of how love is a choice and not just a feeling. Can someone help me with this?

    1. Absolutely! Have you ever done something for your spouse or child even though you were exhausted, grumpy, tired, or didn’t feel like it? Have you ever made dinner for your whole family, even though you’d rather be catching up on a show or a good book? Have you ever helped a friend through a hard time by listening to and encouraging them, even though you had something hard going on, too? Have you ever told someone a "hard truth", even those it wasn’t easy for you to say, knowing they needed to hear it? In these moments, we CHOOSE to put someone else’s needs before our own, despite how we feel… and that is the very definition of love. 🙂

      Please Note: Boundaries are also very important. Love is NOT only ever caring about others and not ever caring about yourself. It is important for you to also recognize your capacity and be able to create time to invest in yourself, as well.

  3. There’s far worse ones to say:
    They’re just a friend –
    They don’t mean anything –
    It was just sex, no big deal –
    Believe me, I’m telling you everything –
    I love you and wouldn’t do anything to hurt you again-
    Trust me –
    It’s over with them –
    I didn’t think it would matter to you –
    So on, so on and so on

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