Avoid “You’re” Statements

We have to watch the language we use (or do not use). Yes, those dirty little deal-killing words pop up when we least expect them, and most of us are unaware of the devastation they bring.

Surprisingly, one of the worst offenders is you are, more commonly spoken as you’re. It makes you – the person being addressed (now at the end of a figuratively pointed finger) – see the pirate’s flag of attack. No other single word or phrase will result in faster or harder retaliation than the accusing you’re. Your spouse will quickly bring out the big guns in retaliation the moment he or she hears any of the following:

You’re not cooperating.

You’re always argumentative.

You’re never happy.

You’re the problem.

You’re, you’re, you’re . . . 

Use this nasty little contraction, and you’re destined to be your own worst enemy. You’re sure to be in a lot of trouble before you even begin and you’re adding unnecessary difficulty to an already difficult situation.

Make I statements, not you statements. For example, do not say, “You are nuts if you think I am going to pay $4,000 a month.” Instead, say, “I am seriously jolted by the $4,000 figure. I think I might be a little stunned.” You will still be voicing your disapproval, but you will not be antagonizing your spouse.

The essence of this subtle difference is that I statements say, “I’m the one with the problem,” but you statements point the finger and imply that the other person is the one with the problem, which puts them on the defensive.

Remember the old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?” There is a reason why certain sayings last for generations. They have proven themselves true, time and time again. Sometimes it only takes a few well-chosen words to change the tone and direction of divorce negotiations – and prevent pounds of pain.