Triggers are one of the things I talk about early on with my Houston relationship counseling clients. What are triggers? They are words and actions that, for whatever reason, have a negative emotional connection for us and tend to set us off. Often they cause anger, fear, depression – any number of emotions that you’d be better off staying away from in general, but especially when you’re fighting with your loved one and already in a heightened emotional state.

Some of these triggers are highly personal, based on things that have occurred in an individual person’s life. Others, however, have attained such a societal significance that we react negatively to them even when we don’t have a specific, personal connection to the trigger. These can include certain rude gestures, racial and sexual discriminatory terms, and words the make us think of all the negative things that come with them. For relationships, few words are “dirtier” than divorce, and if your partner starts throwing it in your face in the middle of an argument – whether or not they are truly being serious – it can cause real anxiety and place the relationship in a precarious position.

Houston Relationship Counseling: “Divorce” Can Increase Marriage Problems


Sometimes, in the middle of an emotional disagreement, one person brings out the hammer: “Why don’t we just get a divorce, then?” Usually this isn’t meant with any real intent behind it; it’s coming from a place of frustration and anger about whatever smaller relationship issue the couple is currently arguing about. Unfortunately, the word carries with it such strong connotations that using it in a threatening manner against your partner can cause a number of negative feelings that won’t help anything. Not only will it not help solve your current argument, it will create a deeper divide between you and bring up a host of new issues, possibly even driving you to marital therapy over what was initially a small problem.

Houston Relationship Counseling: Put Your Energy in the Positive

Bringing up an “out” like divorce in the middle of an argument only hurts things. It causes both of you to focus on the negative instead of finding positive solutions to work things out between you. Why should either of you try if it seems like one of you is already willing to give up?

So don’t even go there. Tell your partner you’re frustrated, tell him or her something needs to change, but do so in a way that shows you’re looking to change together so that you can move forward as a couple. Listen to each other and be willing to adapt. And if you really start to fear that you can’t work things out on your own without considering divorce, try marital therapy in Houston relationship counseling.