My friend and his new wife had just finished their first dinner in their new home. She spent a good amount of time preparing the meal so it was perfect. After dinner, he sat in front of the TV. Then, he said it: “My mom would have had everything cleaned up by now.” As you can imagine, he immediately had an angry wife. The vase just barely missed his head, shattering on the wall behind him. I asked him if the vase was a warning shot or if she actually meant to hit him. “Oh, she definitely meant to hit me,” he said. Over 20 years later, they are more than happily married. One of the reasons for their happy marriage is he stopped saying things like that.It’s not always about saying the right things; sometimes it’s about not saying the wrong things.
There are things a husband says that lead straight to an angry wife. While some depend on the context, others just need to leave our vocabulary altogether. If you want to be happily married, most of it is going to depend on how you communicate. It’s not always about saying the right things; sometimes it’s about not saying the wrong things. Here are 20 things wives hate hearing their husbands say.
Each of these communicates that we are disconnecting from them or leaving them to fend for themselves in meeting the kids’ needs and responsibilities.
“I’m going out. I need some me-time.” There’s nothing wrong with the occasional me-time, but it does cost her. Make sure she’s OK before you go and that other times, you’re staying home so she can get me-time, too.
“Huh?” You’re disengaged from or, at least, not tuning into her.
“I’ll do it later.” What she hears, whether you mean it or not, is that she and what she needs are not important to you.
“Nothing.” or (Nothing) She wants to know what you are thinking and feeling. Nothing communicates nothing.
“I’m working late again tonight.” Nothing wrong with occasionally working late, but when it becomes frequent, she will assume you are choosing work over your family.
Our wives are our partners and these comments make them feel at best unappreciated and at worst like we think they’re inferior.
“Let me explain this to you in a way you can understand.” or “It’s easy…” In other words, you’re saying she’s not as smart as you.
“You spent how much?” Fiscal responsibility is important and couples need to come to agreements, but this belittles her ability to make a decision.
“You’ve got it easy.” Essentially you are minimizing her struggles. It may look easy or easier, but until you’ve walked in her shoes, you can’t know.
“Well, then why don’t you (proposed solution to her problem)?” Most of the time she wants your empathy, not your solutions. Assume she is smart enough to figure it out.
“I’m paying for it.” Your money is her money too, no matter whose name is on the paycheck. A statement like this makes her feel like you are exerting power over her.
These statements communicate to her that what she is saying and feeling doesn’t have any merit. More than anything, wives want to be known, understood, and empathized with. These statements are dismissive.
“Relax!” She may be overreacting, but at least some of her feelings are valid. A reprimand is the last thing she needs.
“Is it your time of the month?” You might as well tell her that she’s crazy and laugh at her. (But don’t do that, either.)
“How many times do we have to talk about this?” The answer is actually as many times as it takes until it’s resolved. Otherwise, you’re communicating that your pride is more important than she is.
“I can’t do anything right.” If she’s overly critical, this is not the way to communicate it. All she is going to hear is that you can’t take responsibility, suggestions, or feedback.
“And here it comes…” If she is saying something over and over again, it’s better to get to the root of it rather than dismiss her point of view as a broken record. Deal with whatever she’s bringing up and maybe it won’t come up again.
One of the most important things we can do as husbands is make our wives feel valuable. These comments achieve the opposite.
“What’s for dinner?” Don’t assume that dinner is automatically hers to make, otherwise she will feel taken for granted and possibly subservient.
“Wow. The house is a mess.” This is passive-aggressive and it casts blame and judgment.
“She’s hot.” You are telling your wife she isn’t pretty enough and that you wish she looked like whatever other woman you’ve pointed out.
“You know I love you. I don’t need to say it.” Yes, you do, and she’s not being needy by wanting you to say it.
“Leave me alone. You’re always nagging.” You are telling her that if anything is bothering her, she should keep it to herself.
Share and Discuss: Discuss these with your wife and share this iMOM article about things wives shouldn’t say during a fight: What Not to Say to Your Husband During a Fight.
Sound off: Are there any we missed?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What is something someone said to you that really bothered you? Why did it bother you?”