• “I give up.” When an argument’s not going your way, you may be tempted to throw up your hands in defeat, but it won’t help you resolve the issue. Even worse — by avoiding the conversation, you’re saying that your partner’s feelings don’t really matter.

• “I want out of this relationship.” People want to make sure their partner knows the issue’s important – but saying “I want out” always backfires – it makes it look like you’re not committed to the relationship and aren’t willing to work out your issues in order to stay together. If you don’t really want out, you’re just crying wolf to get attention.

• “I hate your mother!” Or father or dog or kids. That puts your partner in a very difficult situation – because you’re making them choose between you and a member of their family. Try using a more constructive way to get your point across.

• “You never” or “You always.” Saying, “You never help me clean” only derails the discussion because it GUARANTEES a reply like, “What about the time I scrubbed the kitchen?” A better approach is, “I don’t get as much help around the house as I’d like.”

• Name calling. It’s a sure way to end a relationship! It hurts your spouse’s feelings, and certainly DOESN’T convince them to see things your way. Finding ways to disagree without making it personal is crucial to a happy marriage. Name calling is disrespectful, plain and simple.

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