Two No-No Words
"But let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No.'"1
Without a doubt one of the major causes of conflict in relationships is poor communications. And two of the most damaging "no-no" words in interpersonal communications are "you always" and "you never" as these are almost always false statements.
The husband who repeatedly says to his wife (or any family member), "You never do such and such, or you never do thus and so," is almost always expressing an overstatement, and never builds a bridge for resolving the conflict at hand. Or the wife who repeatedly says to her husband (or any family member), "You always do such and such, or you always do thus and so," is also almost always expressing an overstatement, and in so doing, builds a barrier between herself and her loved one.
This type of accusation is usually an unfair criticism from an unhappy, and sometimes angry, person who is projecting his or her own unresolved issues onto the other person.
When misunderstandings occur, it is much wiser, more creative, and more loving to express how one feels without accusing the other person for the way he or she feels. When I am upset and start a sentence with words such as, "You always …" or "You never…" I am blaming the other person for the way I feel, while in reality nobody can make me feel the way I feel without my permission.
It is important to acknowledge the fact that my feelings are always my responsibility. Furthermore, to the degree that I overreact, my feelings are always my problem. The most loving way to respond when our feelings are hurt is to start our sentence by saying, "I feel hurt …" or "I feel sad, lonely," or whatever it is I am feeling. This way I am being honest with my emotions; am taking responsibility for them; and am not blaming the other person for the way I am feeling. By taking this approach, we have a much greater chance and opportunity for resolving the conflict or issue at hand. Remember too, that feelings are neither right nor wrong, it's the way that we handle them that counts.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to always be open and honest regarding my reactions and my emotions; never blame anyone else for the way I respond or feel; and always accept responsibility for these by communicating how I feel in an open, honest and loving way. Please help me to always be like Jesus in every situation in which I find myself. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus' name, amen.
1. Matthew 5:37 (NKJV).