6 Phrases You Should Ban From Your Marriage in 2014

My husband is very particular about words and phrases.

Actually we both are. We care about what we allow to come out of our months.

But unfortunately I carry the 25,000-words-a-day gene.

6 phrases you should ban from your marriage. And why

So a day doesn’t go by without me over-speaking and saying something I shouldn’t say. (Anyone else feel me ? : ) )

 Why we try to watch our words

My mistakes notwithstanding, we still watch our words.

And here’s why.

The world we see today was created through words. God spoke it into existence.

Thus it became that words would create reality. (Prov 18:21)

Here’s how it looks like for me – when I say something enough times, however idly, it’s like painting a picture on the canvas of my brain.

The more I say something, the more magnificent the painting.

In fact the words I speak often reveal my initial beliefs. (Thus my words can also be the red flag to erroneous beliefs).

Now what I believe influences how I act.

And how I think and talk and act is the the sum total of my reality.

Obviously God is ways bigger than “my reality”, so this is not about God being limited by my weak human self.

It’s about the limitations I put around myself and which ultimately blind me to God’s limitlessness, when I am not talking, thinking and acting as He wants me to.

Words to watch out for in 2014

Here’s a few words and phrases that you and I can work on eliminating from our marriage vocabulary in 2014.

1. “You always..”

The truth is your husband doesn’t always. (Otherwise you wouldn’t have married him!).

The more you repeat this phase, the more you rewire your brain to believe the lie.

So even when he tries and becomes better, you still won’t see it.

2. “You made me..”

No he didn’t. You chose to act/react the way you did.

He may have snapped at you but your reaction/response was entirely up to you.

However hard or unfair it feels sometimes, our responses are entirely our own responsibility.

(Check out these posts on how to respond to various marriage pressure points – Leadership, Submission, Communication, Irritation, Going the extra mile, Hearing God during hard times, Adjusting to married life, When he’s just different, not wrong, Navigating hard financial times, Keeping boundaries with the opposite sex, Getting out of his way so  he can lead, Loving when you don’t feel loving)

3. “I can’t..”

When you say you can’t, you are saying that your situation has complete control over you and you have no power.

When you say “I can’t forgive him anymore” you are saying that his sin and mistakes are greater than God’s grace and love at work in and through you.

But here’s God’s truth, spoken through Paul (Philippians 4: 11 – 13)

“I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”

With God, you can.

 4. “If only..”

“If only he could only help around the house, maybe I’d want to be intimate.”

“If only he could pray with me in the morning then our spiritual lives would be better”.

Granted marriage is better when it’s flying on both wings, it’s sweeter when every person is rowing as they are supposed to.

But to stop rowing and doing your part because your hubby has taken a break is plain silly. And suicidal. You will crash that boat.

And that’s where ‘if only’ leads. “What ifs” and could bes” make you hang your brain where you have no control.

Stop nurturing regrets and instead engage what God has given you now.

Do your part and let God do His. (Check out this Facebook update I shared recently)

5. “I need..”

Maybe you shouldn’t ban this one from your marriage entirely :).

But learn to separate needs from wants.

And even when your needs are legitimate and genuine, understand that your husband can’t (won’t) be able to meet all of them.

Because much as he loves you, He’s not God. Only God can meet all your needs.

Your husband is a gift and a blessing, not your Source.

6 Phrases you should ban from your marriage..and why

6. “We are so broke..”

It’s not a typical phrase-y word but I’ve  included it because the early marriage years can leave you feeling depleted in more ways than one.

But I’ll focus on finances.

After moving 8,000 miles across the globe and starting life from scratch, I felt “broke” for  the longest time.

You know how you don’t say you are broke, but you feel it and think it all the time? Yeah, that.

My husband – he is amazing – still reminds me not to use “broke” words.

Words that strip us of power, that take away life instead of adding life to situations.

So I have learned  – still learning – to say “We’ll plan for that..” when I see something I like/want/need but can’t have at the moment.

I am learning to separate needs from wants and keep my joy, whether I get them or not.

God wants us to find joy and completeness in Him, not things or people.

God is more than enough

Beyond finances, I am learning that I can do all things through Christ. God will never ask me to give what I don’t have. He has equipped me for my race.

And He has equipped you too.  You can do all things that Christ has called you to do.

From loving your man to living a life that glorifies God – you can be all that and then more.

Don’t limit yourself and marriage. Don’t allow your feelings and thoughts and words to limit and dictate your faith.

Lean hard on God. Trust Him. Seek Him. He will supply all your needs according to the power that is at work within you.

Your turn – What other words do you need to ban from your vocabulary this year for a healthier marriage and life? Please share in Comments.


If you would like to have Intentional Today delivered to your inbox, simply click here: Subscribe to Intentional Today (you will also receive a free copy of my eBook, Navigating Change). We can also connect on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.


Ps – My friend Dave Arnold is launching his book “It’s Possible” today! Great goodies for anyone picking up a copy this week. Click here for more info.


Linking with Titus 2sdays, Growing Home, Messy Marriage, we are That Family, Wise Woman, Wifey Wednesday
  • Njeri Nyawara

    Ngina, “you made me” and “you always” are real monster creators.
    You find yourself slowly but efficiently molding one over time.
    When a significant other repeats some thing often, it resounds strongly in our hearts.
    Good one dear.

    • http://intentionaltoday.com/ Ngina Otiende

      Glad this has blessed you girl. That’s true, they are real monsters that wreck havoc in marriage!

  • http://thejayneses.blogspot.com/ Amanda Jaynes

    I feel you completely! Along with “You always…” I would also throw in “You never…” Thanks for this list!

    • http://thejayneses.blogspot.com/ Amanda Jaynes

      …now that I’m reading through the comments I see Beth already mentioned this one. Guess I’m not alone in that! Haha

  • Jenn Porter

    I’m the worst about using “You always.” I know it is a terrible thing to say and that it isn’t true!

  • http://www.redletterbelievers.com/ David Rupert

    I agree with Dan Black. Never allow the word “divorce” to creep in. And the other words you suggested like “never” and “always” are true as well. They are really Controlling Words — phrases meant to dominate the other person, because since they are not quantifiable, they cannot be questioned.

    • http://intentionaltoday.com/ Ngina Otiende

      I love this David “they are really Controlling Words — phrases meant to dominate the other
      person, because since they are not quantifiable, they cannot be
      questioned.” It explains it so well. hank you for shedding more light on that.

  • Shani Winship

    I personally would add “in my defense…” we should not defend ourselves against our spouses, but we should advocate for our spouses instead.

    • http://intentionaltoday.com/ Ngina Otiende

      Wow Shani, that’s another one to watch out for! I love how you’ve explained it. It’s about unity and one-ness, not taking defensive sides. Thank you for reading and adding rich thoughts to the discussion

  • http://www.messymarriage.com/ Beth Steffaniak

    Along with “you always,” don’t forget, “you never.” But how I love this list, Ngina! This post “rocks” and I’m going to share it on my FB page! This is a home-run, my friend!

    • http://intentionaltoday.com/ Ngina Otiende

      Ahh yes Beth, that one! it’s the ‘opposite’ of the other but it’s as deadly as the former. Thank you for sharing it! And thank you for spreading the word on FB, I appreciate you.

  • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

    Great words to avoid! Before getting married we both agreed to never use the word divorce in our vocabulary. I think everyone should do the same:)

    • http://intentionaltoday.com/ Ngina Otiende

      Wow, Dan! Completely agree! Never have divorce as an option, take it off the table! Thanks for that, it’s so so crucial for couples to agree on that.

  • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

    #2 is one of my pet peeves! I definitely do not want to be a husband who is passive and blames his wife for all the evil that is in his heart. It’s my go-to reaction so many times, but by the grace of God I want to change.

    • http://intentionaltoday.com/ Ngina Otiende

      Arg, #2 is definitely irritating one to the person it’s being spoken to! I like what you’ve said about passivity..it’s really about personal responsibility. And i need this reminder too, for the many times i think it! Thank you for adding your thoughts

  • http://tcavey.blogspot.com/ TCAvey

    These are great tips!
    My husband and I used to use the words “you always…” but for the past few years we’ve really tried to not use those words. They simply aren’t true. Those words cause so much pain and cast so much blame.

    • http://intentionaltoday.com/ Ngina Otiende

      So glad you and hubby have grown TC, it’s a journey! we are still far from being “done” in our home as well, but so glad we are not where we used to be.

  • http://www.creeksideministries.blogspot.com/ Linda@Creekside

    Love these, Ngina!
    And how ’bout the all too often uttered statement that begins with those dreaded words, ‘you never …’

    • http://intentionaltoday.com/ Ngina Otiende

      Ahhh Linda, yes, that’s another (sadly), common one! I know it tries to perch and make a home in my mind sometimes! Thank you for adding it!

  • http://www.littlerandr.org/ A Little R & R

    Incredible article!! Definitely words that need to purged from our vocabulary and marriage – I’m sharing this on Facebook. And I’d love for you stop by and link up tomorrow – I’d love for my readers to read this, too!

    • http://intentionaltoday.com/ Ngina Otiende

      Thank you for reading and sharing the article Rosilind! I will check out your linkup!

  • http://lifesignatures.blogspot.com/ Lawrence Namale

    “You dont…”

    • http://intentionaltoday.com/ Ngina Otiende

      Mmh, that’s another common one Lance! Thank you for adding it to the list.

  • http://www.barbraveling.com/ Barb Raveling

    This is so great, Ngina – I love all of your phrases to ban from our marriages. Oops – I love the idea of banning them, not the idea of saying them. :) But they’re definitely phrases that come easily to mind, don’t they?

    I also love what you said here: Here’s how it looks like for me – when I say something enough times, however idly, it’s like painting a picture on the canvas of my brain. The more I say something, the more magnificent the painting.

    So true! So I guess the question is, do we want a magnificently good painting of our marriage (and husbands) or do we want a magnificently bad painting? Thanks for the encouragement to paint a beautiful portrait of our husbands! (And you know what they say about masterpieces – they always have a flaw in them somewhere.)

    • http://intentionaltoday.com/ Ngina Otiende

      I love your thoughts on “magnificent’ paintings Barb! wow, that’s what it comes down it, isn’t it? And that’s so true, even the best masterpiece builders say there’s a “flaw” somewhere, but it’s not “visible” to others, only to them :) Love your thoughts here Barb, thank you for helping me think deeper.

  • http://surrenderedmarriage.org/ Scott Means

    Great list! I would add the fear-based “What if …”

    • http://intentionaltoday.com/ Ngina Otiende

      That’s common one Scott! Thank you sharing that. I know I struggle with it, esp in my mind. Thanks for reading and adding to the conversation

  • http://kimanziconstable.com/ kimanzi constable

    Very excellent, some of these words have gotten me into trouble :) If we took a moment and thought before we spoke, we could avoid a lot of problems!

    • http://intentionaltoday.com/ Ngina Otiende

      So true Kimanzi! if we could just pause and think…before we speak! :)

  • http://www.leadtoimpact.com/ Bernard Haynes

    Excellent post. You are correct these negative phrases can hinder the progress of your marriage. We tend to live out the words that we let flow through our mouth. Our words can build up or tear down, encourage or discourage, set free or hold captive. This post reminded to choose my words carefully.

    • http://intentionaltoday.com/ Ngina Otiende

      Amen Bernard, we don’t always realize how powerful our words are. Thanks for adding to the conversation and encouraging me today with your words too.

  • http://theregoi.com/ floyd

    This is a powerful truth for all of us. You know you’re in trouble when the sentence begins with “you!” It is a choice and perspective means everything. I’ve come to remind myself and say often, “I’ve been broke more times than I can remember, but I’ve never been poor.”

    It’s all a state of mind in how we choose to believe, how we choose to use our gift of free will. Good one!

    • http://intentionaltoday.com/ Ngina Otiende

      I love this Floyd! “I’ve been broke more times than I can remember, but I’ve never been poor.” What perspective! Thank you for enriching my vocabulary and perspective today. :) And for reading and sharing.

  • Raeanne Woodman

    Thank you once again for starting my morning with such a powerful reminder and ultimately, such a blessing. I am aware of each point you made, but I have a tendency to often overlook these realities. I also tend to overlook the fact that I am a flawed sinner, but the Lord loves me in spite of that fact. Thank you for reminding me that I am standing on the Lord’s firm foundation. I need to keep my focus on Him.

    • http://intentionaltoday.com/ Ngina Otiende

      Raeanne, i am so blessed the words have lifted you. Thank you for reading and leaving an encouragement for me. Amen to God’s love..isn’t His the most amazing love? Amen!