Welcome to the blog

Are you in a difficult Marriage?, Blog, Life Balance

March 9, 2020

It’s the things you don’t say that damage your relationship

The things we don’t say in relationships are the things that get us in the most trouble.

Common knowledge is that it’s the words that slip out of our mouths that get us into the biggest trouble.  But I’m flipping the script today. 

It’s those little hurts left unsaid. He forgets to say goodbye when he leaves in the morning. He doesn’t say I love you when you say goodbye. You ask for his help and he half-heartedly gives it to you. You feel snubbed, unloved and not cared for. But in every instance it’s a little thing, spread over days or weeks. And you don’t say anything because it’s little, you say. It shouldn’t matter. It’s not that big of a deal.

But see, you don’t recognize how the little cut, left uncared for becomes infected as more scratches land on the same wound. It’s just a little cut, but it leaves an opening for disease.

Don’t hurt yourself

Sticks and stones may break your bones but words can never hurt you, they say. Not true. It’s better to stay quiet than regret your words, they say. Not necessarily true. If you have nothing good to say, say nothing at all. But in following that age old advice, sometimes you hurt yourself.

I have learned in decades of working with individuals and couples and from my own experiences in relationships, that it’s the I love you’s left unsaid, the I’m sorry’s that were never voiced, but more importantly, the that’s not okay and you hurt me’s that never cross our lips, that eventually undermine relationships.

Shaquille O’Neal

I don’t watch tv generally, but I happened to catch an interview with Shaquille O’Neal about Kobe Bryant’s death. Of all the people that were being interviewed, Shaquille’s tears were flowing the most. 

The words he said hammered my statement home. He didn’t regret all of the things that he said to Kobe over the years- and he said a lot of mean things. They were teammates and nemesis. He regretted what he DIDN’T say. He regretted not telling him how much he admired him, not connecting with him, not making it right between the two of them. Not reaching out and having that phone call.

Why you need to speak the truth

Although mean words hurt- no doubt about it, the lack of truthful, honest words hurts a relationship more. That lack creates a chasm that is sometimes too vast to cross, at which point a relationship can self destruct.

Something magical happens when we speak our truth in relationships. Many think it can cause unnecessary harm, offend the other or cause them to be angry. Yes, the truth does sometimes hurt. But the truth spoken over a silent lie, heals all.

Is there something that you need to speak in truth in your relationship today?  Do it! If  you keep quiet your resentment will grow. And that resentment is impossible to keep secret. It comes out in little, horrible, ugly ways. That monster hurts deeper than truthfully spoken words. What’s cool is that your resentment magically begins to dissipate when it’s spoken.

Release your bitterness and anger

I had a client who was completely ready to leave her husband.  She had convinced herself that she couldn’t even speak to him, couldn’t be real. She was angry for so many things. And for good reason. He tended to blow up at the littlest things. He had a temper and was very difficult to get along with. I encountered his rage a few times in session and it was pretty scary. 

When she had finally had enough and confronted him in session about all the things that had hurt her over the years. Guess what? He did get very angry. He could barely stay in session. But you know what? He heard her. She needed to move past her fear of his anger because of her truth. After that session, when she learned to speak to him even when it hurt to say it, even when it hurt him to hear it, her desire to leave the relationship disappeared. They came into the next session holding hands and smiling. She had released all of her bitterness and anger by speaking the truth. Now they could work together on the issues. 

That wasn’t a one and done. She kept on talking. And she still is talking. But it’s different now. It’s not all drenched in bitterness. It’s laced with hope that her husband hears her, that her words matter. And more than that, that her truthful words can save the relationship. 

What things have you left unspoken that are damaging your relationship? Do you imagine that you can’t speak them? The best news ever is: you are wrong.

Speak your truth in love. You’ve got this!

Would you like to listen to this post? Click here to listen to the podcast version! Enjoy!

  1. Debra says:

    This is how I live. It’s called communication. This is what it’s all about . Probably why I’m still so happily married to my BFF after almost 57 years and still
    going strong . If people would just learn this !! The world would be so different. The secret is doing it respectfully, being honest and when said in love it is received in love.

    • Zoe Shaw says:

      Congratulations on a long and happy marriage! Yes, it’s called healthy communication. It’s easier when two people are healthy and on the same level. It can get pretty difficult when that’s not the case. Either way, it’s all about communication. Thanks for stopping by and giving your input!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *