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Why Using the Dreaded ‘D’ Word Could Sabotage Your Marriage

Divorce Concept

It’s a cheap shot!

Arguments or disagreements are a natural part of marriage. As much as we love our partner, we become annoyed or upset with one another probably more often than we would like to admit.

We may choose to ‘blow off steam’ toward our spouse exactly because our spouse is the one person who will love us ‘no matter what.’ However, it is never, ever appropriate to use the D-word when arguing with your spouse. And by D-word, I mean: the word ‘divorce.’

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Once a certain word is out of our mouths, we cannot take it back. And, using the highly-charged word ‘divorce’ can have a detrimental effect on your marriage, possibly causing irreparable harm. Let’s look at why that one word is so damaging to use during a heated argument:

1. It’s Manipulative.

Possibly you throw the word ‘divorce’ around in your arguments to get your spouse to just “shut-up!”

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You toss that word out, hoping the argument will come to an end and you will get your way (and avoid further argument). This is pure manipulation on your part and may get you what you want in the moment, but the issue still exists and will come up again.

2. It Causes Stress and Anxiety.

The D-word feels like an ultimatum to your spouse. Let’s face it, no one likes ultimatums. They make you feel backed into a corner by the person who is supposed to love you more than anyone else in the world.

When you throw out the D-word, your spouse may figure he better give in or risk losing your love, and possibly the relationship itself. This causes your spouse stress and anxiety when it comes to the security and permanence of your marriage relationship.

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3. It Makes Your Partner Actually Consider Divorce.

When your spouse hears the word ‘divorce’ used in your arguments, she may hear it as a threat. No matter how long you’ve been married, you should not speak about divorce unless that is exactly what you intend to do. Don’t use the word in the heat of an argument as a threat to secure a ‘win’ for yourself by getting your spouse to back down!

Threatening divorce is never the way to resolve issues in your relationship. If you use the word every time you argue with your spouse, your spouse may get to the point where she figures why not just “do it.” “Let’s just end the agony and get divorced.”

That may not have been your intent, but now it has become a reality that you didn’t think would actually happen.

4. It’s Just a Total Jerk Move.

Threatening divorce every time you fight is just mean and a textbook ‘jerk’ move. Maybe you use the word because you really want to plant the seeds of doubt and despair in your spouse’s head. Possibly you really do want a divorce, but want him to decide.

So, you go about trying to create a situation where he is so unhappy that he’ll cave and make it happen. Then he looks like the ‘bad guy’ by everyone and you’re the poor victim.

It is so important to understand that a marriage based on idle threats, manipulation, and intimidation can never be healthy and happy. As a couple, you must work together and learn how to deal with difficult issues in your relationship, even when doing so feels uncomfortable in the moment.

Stop using the D-word in your arguments and start working on your issues.

Sometimes even simple things can become huge issues when you avoid discussing them, when conversations become heated, or if you threaten to end the relationship if you don’t get your way. As long as the two of you are together in a relationship, there will be times when you don’t see eye to eye. Arguments will happen, but that does not mean you’ll get divorced.

Learn how to fight fairly and resolve conflict. If you need help, seek out a good counselor who can offer guidance and direction for a better and happier marriage.

This guest article originally appeared on If You Use THIS Word During A Fight, You’ll Damage Your Relationship.

Why Using the Dreaded ‘D’ Word Could Sabotage Your Marriage

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APA Reference
Guest Author, P. (2018). Why Using the Dreaded ‘D’ Word Could Sabotage Your Marriage. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 2, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 27 Jun 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.