For the next three days, pick six fights with your wife. That’s a total of eighteen arguments. Here are eighteen suggested squabble starters. Although I’m sure you can come up with several unique to your own marriage relationship.

“I’m thinking you wear a little too much makeup.”
“I’m thinking you need to wear a little more makeup.”
“Didn’t we just have this same thing for dinner last week?”
“Let me know when your ‘creative cooking’ kick is over.”
“Did you see the new women’s fitness center that just opened down the street?”
“You know, these mugs you bought don’t fit in the dishwasher.”
“Two hundred channels and this is what you’re watching?”
“Did you see what your son did? Why do you let him get away with that?”
“Actually, I’m not really hungry. I had a late lunch. I had to go over a proposal with Amber from marketing.”
“Did you really need another pair of shoes?”
“Your way is not really wrong, but my mom used to do it this way.”
“How much was that haircut again?”
“You always. . .”
“You never. . .”
“So which is it tonight? Are you too tired, too distracted, or too crampy, or do you just have your regular ten o’clock headache?”
“You never, ever put the top back on the toothpaste. It’s really unbelievable.”
“What happened to your skinny jeans?”
“How old was your mother when she started going gray?”

A word of caution before you begin this experiment. Don’t. Do not go there. Do not repeat any of these malicious statements. Because your wife actually cares about what you think, she is too easy and too vulnerable a target. And life is too precious.

Reading through the above list, I’m guessing you easily came up with your own versions of squabble starters, didn’t you? And that’s the point. These kind of troublemaking thoughts creep through our minds on a daily basis. You could quite easily start a petty argument during every conversation you ever have with your wife. And that petty argument could easily escalate into a barrage of words and accusations that are not even true. And that barrage of words and accusations could easily escalate into several days of silence and cold stares. And those days of silence and cold stares could easily escalate into threats of ripping the family apart.

Am I exaggerating? In some cases, that’s exactly how a marriage falls apart. It’s not one big thing. It’s an exhausting and divisive avalanche of little, hurtful, inconsiderate words and actions.So again — don’t go there.

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When those snappy little retorts, complaints, or innuendos pop into your head, leave them there. Just say no. Don’t allow any of those potential fighting words to reach your tongue. Disaster averted.

Now here’s the real experiment. For the next three days, say six nice things to your wife each day. I’ll let you make your own list.

Let me know how it goes.

52 Things Wives Need from Their Husbands. Copyright © 2012 by Jay Payleitner. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, OR. Used by permission

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