Avoiding Language Landmines in Relationships

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1 Sentence You Can Use to Avoid a Language Landmine

Grow a great RelationshipWhen you and your partner argue about a topic of tension within the relationship, emotion builds very quickly and things can become out of control.  You can find yourself saying things you wish you could take back.  If you were to look in the mirror, you would probably find both of you hunched toward each other with your index fingers pointed in each other’s direction.  This “You did it” approach to relationship problems is common but also, in many cases, toxic to the relationship.

By pointing the finger at our spouse, we shirk any responsibility in the problem.  However, like other things in your relationship, you and your partner are in the problem together and admitting your part in it in the first step to reconciliation.  An effective way to take back responsibility for our actions is by expressing responsibility for our feelings within the situation.

The best way to do this is to have a set, formatted sentence to complete.  See the example below and customize it to fit your individual relationship.

When You….

  • Are late…
  • Spend money…
  • Refuse sex…
  • Cry and yell…
  • Spend time with other people…

I Feel…

  • Taken for granted
  • Taken advantage of
  • Powerless
  • Rejected
  • Jealous

Because I Think It Means…

  • You don’t think that my time is important
  • Spending money is more important to you than my feelings
  • You don’t want me anymore
  • I must do something about it
  • You would rather spend your time with someone other than me

As scary as it may seem, expressing your feelings about a given situation and asking for your partner’s honesty is the only way to really discover truth in the relationship. All of our emotions are valid reactions to the situation.  Share them all.  Ignoring or dismissing an emotion because it seems silly, inappropriate or out of proportion cheats us of the chance to understand ourselves more and let our partner into our vulnerable side.  By being honest about your thoughts and feelings, you and your partner are one step closer to solving the problem in the relationship.