Justin Bangert, MS, LMFT
Ways to Begin Speaking the Truth with Love... Using Six Words or Less
Updated: Mar 30, 2019
Last week I wrote about some of the most commonly used phrases in marriage that are almost certain to cause a conflict. (See Sure-Fire Ways to Start a Fight in Your Marriage...Using Four Words or Less) Over the years I have heard these phrases used over and over in my office and they usually trigger a negative interaction between two people who likely are intending to be loving and honest with their feelings. The good news is, the more we can identify our own uses of these phrases, the easier it is to prevent unnecessary conflicts and we can begin to move towards a more productive and loving dialogue. But, before I offer insight into how we do that, here are a few other honorable mentions not listed in last week’s blog….
Oh, by the way…
Just so you know….I’m just saying that….Can’t you just listen….
Now, the good news about conflict is that it actually becomes an opportunity to learn, grow, and allow love to be stronger than the issue that is coming between the two of you. However, it’s not just the “how to’s” that are important, rather learning the “heart to’s” and the necessary shifts it takes to allow the words we speak to be healing and loving, rather than bitter and harmful. So, just as with the unhelpful phrases we might use, the same rule of “it’s not what you say, rather how you say it” that makes the biggest difference. So here is a collection of phrases that I would encourage you to practice starting your conversations with, especially your conflict issues.
Although these statements might seem awkward or even unrealistic at first, both professionally and personally I have seen the true value they can have in starting a conversation off on the right note as well as saving a conversation that is quickly derailing into “the danger zone”. The various therapeutic reasons why these are helpful is that each of these have healthy elements of the following:
Leading With a Loving Intention
A Willingness to Learn and Grow
Appreciation and Grace
Affirmation of Love and Commitment
An Openness to Feedback
Assuming the Best of Each Other
It is no surprise that when spouses lead with love, and genuinely seek to understand their partner that they will contribute towards a loving, safe, and affectionate environment in their communication. Although the content of what might be said is sometimes difficult to deal with, when we know that we are being treated with honest, loving and respectful hearts, it is much easier to offer a willingness to work together and create an “us versus it” attitude, as opposed to a “me versus you” stance.
So now it’s your turn. If you have personal phrases that work for you in your marriage, I eagerly encourage you to share those with me and the others whom may benefit from learning to speak the truth with love.