Skip to content

Why not “Why”

Communication is Complicated

Communication is one of the biggest reasons couples seek help. Sometimes there are big communication gaps between the two of you and sometimes changing one small piece of a conversation can make a big difference.

For instance, take the word "why." Think about the last time you were in a conversation with your spouse and you heard the word. How did you feel? How did you respond?

“Why” in and of itself isn’t bad. Phrased in the right way it can be used to genuinely ask a question and explore details of a situation. But it’s so easy to phrase as an accusation. I can tell you that the word “why,” especially when used in an argument, can make me feel immediately defensive. Here are some examples of how a “why” sentence might start.

Couple Discussing Bills


“Why did you…..”

“Why would you ….”

“I don’t understand why you…”


Whether your spouse means to or not, sentences like the ones above can make you feel questioned. They might make you feel like whatever you did or didn’t do, didn’t measure up. It wasn’t good enough.  As a result, you feel like you need to defend yourself.

If you feel this way, chances are your spouse feels defensive too when you question them with “why” sentences.

Tips for Your Next Conversation

Next time you have a conversation with your spouse, remember 2 things:

  1. Try to give your spouse the benefit of the doubt. Just because it sounds like an accusation doesn’t mean it is. You are partners after all. You are on the same team.
  2. Don’t let the heat of an argument get the best of you. Try to phrase things without using the word “why” and see if it changes your conversations. It takes thought and practice but it will be worth it.

If you found this helpful but you need more support for your marriage consider our Online Marriage Coaching.