Apr 192016 20 Responses

7 Things Never to Say to Your Husband

The stereotype is of the insensitive husband saying stupid things to his wife. It’s a fair stereotype because it happens on a regular basis. However, saying inappropriate things is a two-way street. Women can also say things that are hurtful or destructive.

While I’ve already written 7 Things Never to Say to Your Wife, here is the companion piece. Avoid these and your marriage will be better because of it.

Here are seven things never to say to your husband:

1. If you really loved me, I wouldn’t have to tell you. Maybe your husband should know what he shouldn’t have done or what he did do. Maybe he should have learned enough by now to understand why you are upset. But he doesn’t, so you need to tell him. The only way for him to ever understand you is for you to regularly communicate how you feel. Assuming he should know is not productive. Making him play the guessing game drives you away from a healthy relationship and not to it. Be kind. Be clear. And tell him what is wrong. (See: It’s Not My Job to Read Your Mind)

2. You’re a pervert. I regularly get the question from wives, “Is my husband a pervert?” When they tell me why they fear he might be, I often respond, “Nope. He’s just a man.” For women who grew up in ultra-conservative homes where sex was seen as shameful, some common desires from men are viewed as signs of perversion by their wives. Having a normal sex drive defined as perversion is damaging. Of course, some men do ask for perverted acts by their wives and those acts should be rejected, but don’t define his whole heart because of one aspect. It’s fair to call an act for what it is. If he asks for something God clearly calls off limits (ex. adding another person to the marital act), call the act what it is–“No, that is perversion.” Call out the act, but not the person. (See: What Your Husband Wants from You in Bed)

3. I’m fine. Don’t say it if it’s not true. If you truly are fine, then feel free to tell him so. However, if you aren’t fine, don’t lie to him. Lies never help marriage. Tell him the truth. Understand why you feel the way you do and what he may or may not have done to contribute to that feeling. Own your feelings and clearly communicate them to him. Until you do, don’t expect him to know what is going on.

4. I’m fat. Maybe you are. Clearly you feel like it. But what do you want your husband to say in response? Are you searching for a compliment? Then tell him you don’t feel confident and need help. Are you trying to divert his attention from sex? Then tell him you aren’t in the mood, but tell him a specific time and place of when you will have sex. Explore the real issue and discuss that. Don’t downplay your looks and watch your husband struggle to figure out how to respond.

5. Don’t be a whimp. Never hint, joke, or intentionally attack your husband’s masculinity. Speak into who he is as a man, don’t question it. Any time a wife questions the manhood of her husband, it drives him away from her. It may not feel like a major issue for a wife, it might even feel playful, but the damage can be significant. (See: This is the Kind of Husband I Want to Be)

6. You’re just like your dad (or, you’re not like my dad.) Never contrast your husband against another man in a negative way. If you want to compliment your husband, it is far better to compare him to a man you respect. Saying, “I love how you listen to me like your dad listens to your mom” or “I love how you sing to the kids the way my dad sang to me” are great compliments. However, you should never negatively contrast your husband with another man, especially your dad or his dad. It just doesn’t help. Use family to compliment, not to critique.

7. Do you find her attractive? Maybe this is acceptable with someone you don’t know (i.e. someone in a movie), but don’t test him with your friend, sister, or co-worker. It’s a no win. Every husband should have men in his life to whom he is accountable regarding boundaries with other women, but he needs space to be honest. When a wife asks this question, it can feel like a game of gotcha–you’re wrong whether you lie or tell the truth.

Wives: What have you said which you later regretted?

Husbands: What should be number 8?

20 Responses to 7 Things Never to Say to Your Husband
  1. Linda Reply

    I’ve regretted saying anything that he would deem to be negative….even if it was truthful. It is never worth it. I used to be very talkative but have learned silence is best.

    • Wendy Roden Reply

      Silence is best. My husband of 13 years and I we just dont talk. Makes homelife easier. Im sure it doesnt make it better but I dont know what will

  2. Kate Reply

    I ask my husband about women he finds attractive at least every couple days. I never realized that was something to be avoided. I’ll have to check myself and cut that out

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Maybe it’s fine for some people. I would love to know his opinion. Do you ask it about people who are close to you or just people you don’t have a regular interaction with?

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  4. Nikki Reply

    It’s hard to learn when the right “divine” timing is to discuss sensitive issues of my heart and how to communicate those issues without making my husband feel shamed. That is never my intention, but it always seems to make him feel that way.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      If this is always a problem then you have a greater problem. Your husband might be unknowingly using “shame” as a way to get out of tough conversations. At some point you have to have the freedom to say what is bothering you whether it hurts or not.

      • Linda Reply

        That’s an interesting thought … unknowingly using shame to get out of difficult conversations… If I try to talk about my feelings about a situation, he always takes it as criticism and says things like “I know I am a horrible husband…” I end up consoling him this isn’t true, etc. He turns every feeling I had into being about him. It just became easier to stay quiet and not share my heart…

        • Letha Reply

          Linda, your comment is exactly like it is with my husband and myself.

          In our case, it might sort of connect with #2 “You are a pervert”. I have never actually said that to him, but both of us growing up in ultra-conservative Christian homes, I didn’t know how to take his strong sexual urges, and he could sense like I thought of him that way (which I did at the time). He didn’t know how to handle those natural urges – and he felt shamed by them. 28 years of marriage later – we both realize now how wrong we were. We both still struggle with forgiving ourselves.

        • Debra Reply

          My husband does the same exact thing, Linda. I thought I was the only one. I can never bring anything to him.

      • Michelle Reply

        Agreed, wholeheartedly….but easier said than done, if your husband has Borderline Personality Disorder….which is what this sounds like to me. I am all too familiar with this….it is so difficult, because most people just don’t understand and will automatically give a response such as yours. I am not wanting to be critical of you, but rather would like to raise awareness and perhaps encourage you to familiarize yourself with this issue. Who knows the magnitude of marital problems that are caused by BPD and other mental health issues that could be more appropriately dealt with, if properly understood?

    • Michelle Reply

      Nikki, I just have to comment that I know exactly what you are talking about….walking on eggshells, never knowing if/when you can speak, because your husband takes it as shame upon himself. My husband is diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. I encourage you to look into this and get help from a local mental health team that can direct you to family support, if possible.

  5. Candace Reply

    8 should be…I would be just fine without you.

  6. Julie Mahan Reply

    Hello my name is regret…..(couldn’t help but think of this tune)
    Finally, after 25 years of marriage I am successfully learning to be “stirred but not shaken” by the admitted intentional hateful, hurtful and sometimes unintentional negative words my husband speaks to me.
    Now, I start each day anew leaving behind what was said and done (whether intentional or not) the previous day in the dust, not carrying regret into the future.
    However, one regret I can share is this….I regret that I ever lost my footing and started reacting like he was acting! which has taken us on a back and forth, back and forth smart mouth journey that some see as humorous…and I guess it is…. for reality tv.
    Thank you for purposely writing and living wise instruction on marriage and communication.

  7. Mindy Reply

    8. I’m not physically attracted to you.
    I occasionally think it, but would/could never say it.

  8. Heidi Reply

    My husband has told me not to ask him if he wants to have sex, because the answer is, yes! Haha

  9. Amber Reply

    I often ask my husband whether or not he finds other women attractive (usually not relatives). Because after our first year of marriage, I read an article about the way some men look at women- undressing them with their eyes. Essentially lusting over them. I was very, very naive, and had no clue guys did this. So I asked him if he did this, and he lied to me and denied he did. It took almost a year before he told me the truth. It was a huge wound to my heart that he lied to me about it, and I still have a hard time trusting him even though he has changed so much. I understand what you are saying about men having other guys “with whom they can be honest about other women” but if you can’t be completely honest with your wife about EVERYTHING then it seems there are bigger issues to work on. If there is an issue with the husband (or wife) looking at others all the time, then they need to ask God why they feel the need to look. There is a difference between noticing a person is attractive and actively seeking people out to “look” at. My husband and I are each other’s accountability partners, though we do have others who mentor us as well. But we tell each other everything, the good, the bad, the ugly. We understand that we both screw up, and both need forgiveness, so we try to show the grace God shows us, even if we’ve been hurt. And yes, my husband does agree with us being each others accountability partners, and he also understands that sometimes I ask because I need reassurance that he is being honest with me.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Amber, husbands and wives can be an excellent source of accountability for one another. However, I feel as though you are trying to play every role for your husband and it isn’t wise. In part, he needs someone to whom he is accountable who isn’t directly involved in the situation. While I don’t condone lying, I’m not shocked he didn’t tell you the truth. You asked a question where he couldn’t win no matter what he said. In my opinion, this is not the wisest course of action.

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