Sticks and Stones


Sticks and stones may break my bones. But names will never hurt me.

I disagree with this. Words are powerful. They can cut like a knife, they can traumatize you, they can destroy a marriage. There are loaded words that only serve to hurt, control, scare or intimidate those who are close to you. Three words are particularly harmful. I don’t allow them to be said in my home.

Today I read an article by Julie Orlov. It describes the three words and how Janet used them to harm our relationship.


Never implies a sense of hopelessness and finality. When you use “never,” you’re telling your spouse that they are no good, will never be any good and that there’s no hope for change. It’s an all-or-nothing phrase that does not lend itself to listening, compromising and creating good will.


Always implies a sense of rigidity and righteousness. When you use “always,” you’re telling your spouse that they are wrong, you are right, and that there’s nothing that can be done about it. It’s also an all-or-nothing phrase, and it does not lend itself to understanding, learning, or healing.


Divorce. Threatening to divorce, suggesting divorce as an option, or accusing your spouse of destroying the marriage will lead to just that. A divorce is a very serious decision, and using it as a weapon or method of control creates anxiety and despair. It’s not conducive for effective communication, conflict resolution, problem solving, or intimacy.