Susan and I have been married for over 30 years and unfortunately, she knows what it’s like to hear hurtful words from a husband. We’ve had our share of arguments and miscommunications. I’ve been known to say the right thing at the right time. But I’ve also been known to say the wrong thing at the wrong time—and the right thing at the wrong time. Has that ever happened to you?
Communication in marriage is critical. I’ve seen a lack of communication and negative communication kill marriages. Whether it’s the tone you use, the words you say, or your timing, you must guard your words carefully. Here are 4 comments husbands make that offend wives.The goal is to hear your wife, see from her perspective, and not shut her down.
There are several ways husbands say this: calm down, chill, it’s no big deal… No matter the words you use, any form of “relax” is not what your wife wants to hear. These are hurtful words when they come from a husband. They come across as belittling, and it’s disrespectful, dismissive, and invalidating to say them.
Instead, let her vent, and find out whether she wants you to listen or if she wants you to help solve the problem. The goal is to hear your wife, see from her perspective, and not shut her down.
2. “What did you do all day?”
You might not say it out loud, but sometimes, a husband’s tone or attitude implies that he thinks his wife got nothing done during the day. It accuses her, and it says you don’t value her, that you don’t know what she does, and that you aren’t paying attention. This is especially true if your wife is a stay-at-home mom. You shouldn’t expect a perfectly clean house just because your wife has been home taking care of the kids.
Instead of looking for what your wife hasn’t done during the day or having unrealistic expectations, consider all the work your wife completes each day. Show that you understand how hard she works by thanking her for what she does. Whether she stays home or works outside the house, thank her for all she does for you and your family.
3. “Don’t be so emotional.”
Trying to get her to stop expressing certain emotions not only offends her but implies that you’re unwilling to endure discomfort for her. You’re asking her to change her emotions because it’s uncomfortable for you to see them. But your wife can feel however she needs to feel.
Your role as husband is to support and encourage her. Instead of using hurtful words and acting as if your wife isn’t expressing the proper feelings, opt for saying something like “I hate that you’re having such a frustrating day.”
4. “You’ll be fine” or “It’ll be fine.”
This implies there’s nothing to fix or that you’re unwilling to make an effort. And it’s dismissive and uncaring. As soon as you know she’s going through something difficult, you’re on the hook for helping her through it—and that’s what you should do.
Show concern and express empathy. Listen, understand, and see from her perspective. Rather than telling her she’ll be fine or the situation will be fine, be present for your wife. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is be present and say nothing.
Sound off: What other hurtful words from a husband do wives not need to hear?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What is one thing I say regularly that you would like me to stop saying?”