Too many times in Houston marriage counseling couples will come to me because one of them said something so hurtful to the other that they just can’t get over it without help. Usually, this occurs in the midst of a long, drawn-out fight where both people are already frustrated and on edge. Susie has been really laying in to Don because he forgot to strap the baby in on the changing table and she’s terrified that their little one could roll off. But when she still keeps belaboring the point after he’s apologized and an hour has gone by, he’s finally had enough: “Jesus, will you stop? I get it! I should have listened to my mom when she told me not to marry you.”

Ouch. Talk about cutting someone to the quick. Even if they didn’t have relationship issues before that, they certainly will after.

What Don was engaging in is what I like to call the “scorched earth” policy. He was so angry and tired from feeling attacked that he lashed out at Susie in an attempt to get her to stop. There was probably even a part of him that wanted to hurt her because he was mad and not really thinking.

And on the one hand, it worked. His words so shocked her that Susie retreated into herself and stopped attacking him. Problem is, she also retreated into the bedroom and locked the door, and now she won’t talk to him. Don, still sitting on the couch, is mentally kicking himself and wondering why the hell he said that and what he can possibly do to take it back.

But you can’t take it back, and you can’t just expect to move on peacefully. When you engage in the scorched earth policy, you’re really going to need to till that land down deep until something will start growing there again.

Houston Marriage Counseling: There’s No Back, Only Forward

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in Houston marriage counseling, it’s that you can’t take back something you’ve done. The only solutions are to take full responsibility for your mistakes, apologize profusely, and work hard to keep yourself from doing it again. You need to show that you understand not only that what you did was wrong, but also why it was wrong. And if this wasn’t already clear: it’s going to take time.

You never want to be in a position where you’ve said something you can’t take back. That’s why it’s so important to learn how to communicate with your spouse – especially when you’re in the heat of an argument. If you feeling like you need help with this sometimes tricky task, contact Houston marriage counseling.