When two partners are discussing a conflict, things can move faster than you can think. Emotions run high. And those feelings can run you into places that you don’t want to go.

When this happens, we speak without thinking. We may say the first thing that comes to our mind. Even if what we say is not meant to hurt our loved one, it can spin the conversation out of control. 

Don’t let this happen to you when talking through a conflict. If you find any of these phrases on the tip of your tongue, bite that tongue. These phrases can escalate the conflict, and they won’t help you come to a couple’s agreement.  

“Calm down!”

You may not understand why your spouse is mad. But invalidating their feelings will get you nowhere. “Calm down” tells another person that they are being irrational. Their feelings are “wrong.” A person may go so far to think that this request is an insult. If you can avoid any phrases in a conflict, avoid this one. 

“At least you’re not ____” 

Everyone is going through their own personal struggles. Everyone has problems. Bringing up someone else’s issues will not solve yours. Suggesting that someone should be “grateful” for something that upsets them will not get you further in an argument. 

“It must be hormones.” 

Yikes! Blaming someone’s emotions or concerns on hormones will never end well. When your partner comes to you with a conflict, sit down and listen to them. If you are not sure why they are upset, ask. And then listen to their response. Brushing off someone’s concerns will not make them go away. 

“You always do this!”

Pointing out a spouse’s “faults” or a habit that you don’t like will not help the conversation. Why are your spouse’s actions hurting you? Have you talked to them about this before without any accusations? Rather than pointing fingers, open your arms to your spouse. Communicate your concerns gently. Empathize with their reasoning for behaving in a certain way. Move on from there. 

“It’s over!” 

Threats are not a healthy form of communication. Empty threats are even less effective. Don’t dangle your marriage in front of your spouse in order to change their behavior. Shift the conversation. How do their actions make you feel? Why are you so concerned about your spouse’s behavior? This brings your partner into the conversation, rather than pushing them out of your life. 

Need Relationship Help? Talk to a Relationship Counselor 

Conflict resolution requires more than eliminating nasty phrases. Both partners need to listen, empathize, and learn from what the other person is saying. 

These are skills that can be acquired and practiced. A relationship counselor can help you hone these skills and resolve any conflict with your spouse in a healthy, loving way