There is one word that does more harm to marriages than almost any other word in the dictionary, and yet I hear couples throwing it out over and over again. They shout it at the top of their lungs. They say it up while throwing their hands up in the air. They whisper it under their breath. They say it casually or critically. No matter how it is said this one single word has the power to tear, to wound and even to stop people in their tracks.
This one powerful word is DIVORCE, and I believe that it is one word every couple must eliminate from their vocabulary! I’m not talking about doing the action; I’m talking about the repeated threats “Fine we’ll get a divorce!” the defeated sighs “I guess we’ll just be divorced then” and the constant accusation, “I guess you just want a divorce.”
A Great Big Highlighter
Before we can stop people using this word we have to understand how it crept into our conversations in the first place. Often the person throwing around this word doesn’t really want the end of the relationship to happen. They are not actually looking to bring about the action; they are using this word as a great big yellow argument highlighter.
Remember back years ago when you were in high school and studying for some difficult test. You would read endless pages of material and try to highlight the important parts. You used a highlighter to make the important things jump off the page.
The word divorce does the same thing in an argument. It forces everyone to stop and pay attention. To take notice and tell your spouse in no uncertain terms “I don’t like where this is going.”
While “divorce” makes a good highlighter you don’t recognize the damage that you are doing when you bring out this big gun.
In every marriage there are doors, doors of opportunities to exit the relationship. Healthy marriages make every effort to lock these doors and throw away the key. Every time you use the word divorce in an argument or exasperated sigh you are taking one step closer to this door.
As you say the word you might actually never think it is a possibility, and yet simply allowing it to escape your lips moves the door from locked to unlocked. Continued use will actually open the door wider each time. (concept borrowed from re|engage curriculum)
Delete the D Word
Make a pact that you won’t say the word divorce. Take it out of your vocabulary. If you need a big highlighter in an argument then find another method. There are actually much better highlighters out there. Next time you feel the divorce word creeping up stop and say, “I’m scared, I love you and I don’t want us to treat each other this way.” It will work better without any of the nasty side effects that throwing divorce around will have.
Ask Forgiveness and Lock the Door
Have you been using the D word? It’s time to take it back and lock the door, but that doesn’t happen by itself. You might need to go to your spouse and ask their forgiveness for throwing this word around in your marriage.
Have you thrown this word around? What have you do to take it out of your vocabulary? Let us know in the comments!