There are lots of well-meaning counselors and relationship books who will tell you to never use the words ‘never’ and ‘always’ when having an argument.
You know how it goes- she says “you always treat me this way…” etc. Then he says “well you never give me any credit…” etc. The fact is that those words are rarely true and only serve to provoke the argument even more.
So it is a good principle to try and not use those words- BUT we are not talking about that principle- we are talking about something completely different!
ALWAYS AND NEVER
***There is one always and one never I want you to always use and never forget.***
When having an argument – ALWAYS think about what you’re going to say before you say it and NEVER say anything you’ll regret later.
Ask yourself –
- Is what I am going to say going to help or hurt this situation?
- Is this going to help or hurt my spouse?
- Is it uplifting or destructive?
- Will I regret saying this later?
So here’s my question for you –
- Does it tear down?- you’ll regret it later…
- Is it said to just hurt the other person?- you’ll regret it…
- Is it an exaggeration of the facts or worse yet- an outright lie?- you’ll definitely regret it later.
This principle of ALWAYS thinking about what you’re going to say before you say it and NEVER saying anything you’ll regret later may seem simple now, but it isn’t so easy when you are in the heat of the battle.
So write down or print off those questions above and keep them in your pocket. The next time you are in a… um… ‘heated discussion’ with your spouse, pull out your list of questions before you engage. You might feel silly pulling out this list, but that’s okay- because we usually look a lot sillier than that when we are in the middle of an argument.
By pulling out your list, you will accomplish two very important things:
You will break the pattern of your argument. Just pulling out your list may be enough to break the moment and for you to realize that the argument isn’t all that important.
But more importantly- it’s harder to argue with someone when you have self-imposed ground rules. You will find that you are forced ‘to think’ during the argument so that you don’t break the Principle of ALWAYS and NEVER.
We usually don’t do too much thinking when we are arguing because we are being ruled by our emotions. By sticking to our list of questions we will be able to see and focus on what’s really important- the health of our relationship!
And the health of our marriage really is the most important thing.
Is winning the argument so important if it means hurting or losing your spouse?
We usually don’t ask ourselves those kinds of questions in the heat of the moment because we are too focused on our own emotions. But by taking a moment to really think about what we are saying or doing- we are already beginning the process of coming to a peaceful resolution!
So make this something you Always do and Never forget!
Blessings for a Healthy Marriage,
JR & Carrie Lightstein