You already know that communication is everything when it comes to a fulfilling and long-lasting partnership. And you also know that screaming at your S.O. to just put the damn dishes away before you break one over their head is probably not the quickest way to happily ever after. But what about the smaller stuff, i.e., the daily back-and-forth where you can choose to use certain words that strengthen your bond...or ones that slowly chip away at it? We tapped couples therapist Dr. Lauren Cook about the words she loves to hear—and the ones she wishes we would stop using.
One important note on the why-can’t-you-just-put-the-dishes-away conundrum before we get to it: Fighting isn’t necessarily a bad thing, says Dr Cook. In fact, it can be incredibly productive. “What's worse is when couples stop fighting altogether if they have a disagreement because it can be an indicator of apathy. Once a couple reaches a state of apathy, it can be harder to revive as this can be a sign that one or both partners does not care as much about the health of the relationship.” Instead, it’s about fighting in a healthy way, which you can do by using (or staying clear of) the words below.