10 Ways to Watch How You Say What You Say to Your Wife    

Once, I overheard a couple arguing in a booth next to me at a restaurant. First of all, it was really funny. They were doing that thing I call whisper yelling—you know, when you try to be quiet enough not to be overheard but certainly loud enough to be heard by your person. The lady, with not enough emphasis on the whisper part, whisper yelled, “It’s not what you say; it’s your tone!”

It turns out her point is backed by research. According to psychologist Albert Mehrabian, only 7% of meaning comes from spoken words, 38% from tone of voice, and 55% from nonverbal cues (facial expressions, gestures, and so on.). “It’s not what you say but how you say it” appears to be 93% true. So, in my attempt to help all of us, here are 10 ways to watch your tone with your wife.

1. Listen up.

Give your wife your full attention when she’s talking. Let her know you’re hearing her and seeking to understand.

2. Put yourself in her shoes.

Try to get where she’s coming from emotionally. Show your wife you understand and that you’ve got her back, no matter what.

3. Watch your body language.

Your body talks too! Make sure your gestures and expressions match the calm tone you are trying to use with your words.

4. Choose your words carefully.

Think before you speak. Steer clear of anything harsh or negative, and keep it positive and constructive.

5. Stay calm.

Keep your voice steady and relaxed. A calm and understanding tone can smooth out a lot of wrinkles.

6. Show appreciation.

Consistently show love and appreciation. Let your wife know you notice and value the things she does and who she is.

7. Know your feelings.

When discussing emotions, say “I feel” instead of “you always.” It takes the blame game out of the equation.

8. Apologize and forgive.

If you mess up, own it. Apologize when needed and be forgiving when she does the same.

9. Pick your moments.

Timing is key. Save the heavy talks for when you’re both in a good place and avoid sensitive topics when either of you is highly emotional.

10. Ask for feedback.

Be open to communication about communication. Ask her how you can improve and be ready to receive the feedback.

Sound off: How do you watch your words with your wife?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “Why should we very carefully choose how we say things?”