Couples therapistDr. Lauren Cookexplains the words she loves to hear partners use and the ones she wishes they would avoid.
- Embrace “can” and “would”- Dr. Cook says using these words shows “a level of intentionality and care rather than assumption.” Asking your S.O. “Can we afford this with our budget goals in mind?” isn’t about asking for permission, it’s showing thoughtfulness and creating more openness, so you feel like you’re working as a team.
- Avoid “should”- And on the flip side, the word “should” brings up perceived judgements or comparisons. Saying “We should have a bigger house by now” sends a message that they’re inferior. Dr. Cook points out that the word “should” doesn’t instill confidence in a relationship.
- Steer clear of “hate”- Obviously, if you’re yelling “I hate you!” at your partner, there’s trouble in the relationship, but even using this strong language in little ways, like “I hate this food” can bring hostility. When you need to express frustration, anger, or disappointment, Dr. Cook suggests challenging yourself to be mindful of caustic words of negativity and complaints in your relationship.