When a bride and groom walk down the aisle on their wedding day, they’re so full of promise and potential, and they never dream that the happiness of that moment could one day be shattered by divorce. Nobody plans for it, and yet, it’s a reality in too many marriages, but it doesn’t have to be a reality in yours! The steps to building a strong marriage and safeguarding your relationship for divorce is more complex than can be covered in a single blog post, but as a quick tool, removing these three words from your vocabulary could make an instant impact in your relationship and help you build a divorce-proof marriage.
If you want to protect your marriage, the follow are words NOT to say (or to say sparingly). In no particular order…
The is the procrastinator’s FAVORITE word. It allows him/her to hit the snooze button on dreams, responsibilities, goals and tasks that should be addressed right away. Couples who say, “Someday, we’ll take that trip together. Someday, after the kids are grown, we’ll do date nights. Someday, we’ll work on our marriage,” are setting themselves up for disaster. Not everything can be done today, but anything worth doing should be either done immediately or put on the calendar for a specific time when you’ll do it. Otherwise, “someday” turns into “never,” and we can go through our whole life putting the things that matter most on hold. Don’t wait for “someday” to invest in your marriage. Start now, or else “someday” might be too late.
2. “But” (when placed after the phrase “I’m sorry.“)
Wise and responsible people are quick to admit fault and offer sincere apologies. Immature people, when forced to apologize, will usually add an excuse to the end: “I’m sorry I hurt you, BUT if you hadn’t...” They’re always trying to deflect blame away, and so they never experience the power of grace and healing that comes through a sincere apology. When you’ve blown it, humbly admit and seek your spouse’s forgiveness. When he/she has blown it, be willing to offer grace. Don’t reassign blame or point fingers. I love the quote from Ben Franklin that says, “Never ruin an apology with an excuse.”
3. ANY word spoken with a disrespectful tone in your voice.
Your words matter, but your tone matters just as much. When your words are laced with a condescending tone of disrespect or sarcasm, no matter what your actual words may be, all your spouse is hearing is the negativity behind them. Make it your mission to speak with a tone of warmth, respect, tenderness and compassion. It will make your words have a much more positive impact. The tone of your words will shape the tone of your marriage.
For more tools to help build a rock-solid marriage, check out our book Marriage Minute: Quick & Simple Ways to Build a Divorce-Proof Relationship.
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