Learn to Say These 2 Words and Heal Your Marriage

BY: - 16 Jan '14 | Best of BMWK

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Words are powerful. They can make or break a relationship. For some people, it’s really difficult to tell their significant other “I love you,” or “I’m sorry,” or even “I was wrong.”  But, I’m not writing about those phrases today. In my experiences of ministering to women and couples, I’ve found some of the hardest words for spouse’s to say to each other are “I’m hurt.”

When you love deeply and sacrifice daily, you’re bound to need this phrase in your emotional vocabulary. The critical question is this: will you say “I’m hurt” when the need arises? Will you be vulnerable enough to expose your soul in ways that you never have before? Saying “I’m hurt” is really powerful because there is a different type of hurt that accompanies intimate relationships, unlike mere friendships or associations. When you share your mind, body, and soul with someone, it opens you to a degree of hurt that requires heightened trust and vulnerability.  Maybe you know the type of hurt I am talking about:

That gut-wrenching hurt.

That socked in your stomach type of hurt.

That I didn’t see that coming type of hurt.

That I can’t believe you did that to me type of hurt.

That I don’t know if I can take it kind of hurt.

When it’s difficult to breathe, and you are ashamed to tell someone, and you start to question if your relationship is a lie. . . yep, that kind of hurt.

Healing begins when you know your spouse “gets” your hurt. That’s why it’s so important to speak the hurt so you can heal. The last thing you want to do is harbor hurt in your marriage.

I’ve been there and felt that. Have you?  I can recall three specific experiences in my 18 years of marriage when I felt that type of hurt. I won’t share them with you because some experiences between a husband and wife should remain sacred. But, you don’t have to know all of my business to understand what I’m talking about; you, unfortunately, may be experiencing your own hurt right this moment. And, your response to that hurt is what matters most.

In all three instances with my husband, I had to summon the courage to bare my soul and expose the wound by saying some of the hardest words I’ve ever had to mouth: “You hurt me.” Why were those words so difficult to say? Because they speak to my vulnerable places and expose my wounds. And most people don’t like exposing their wounds, not even to their spouses. We fear our weaknesses will be used against us. So, instead of saying, “That hurt me,” we find ways to mask the hurt and pretend we aren’t in pain.

  • We lash out in anger when we are really hurting deep inside.
  • We seek revenge when all we want is for our best friend and lover to acknowledge the hurt.
  • We give the silent treatment because the hurt chokes the very breath out of us.
  • We may even act as if nothing happened and then explode days, weeks, or months later.
  • We argue about everything else other than the real issue at hand: how much we are hurting inside.

“Dammit, that hurt me.” Yes, those were my words to my husband. With tears streaming down my face and my heart in the pit of my stomach, I summoned the courage to say, “That really, really hurt me.”

It was something about those words that he heard. I could see it in his face. The details of the situation didn’t mean so much anymore. Who, what, when, where. . . who cares at this point? Our eyes and hearts were connecting on a deeper level, and I could see in his face these words:

Baby, I never meant to hurt. The last thing I want to do is hurt you. 

I knew if my husband could take away the hurt he would. In that moment, God allowed me to see the man who would sacrifice his life for me. Only then was I able to truly forgive and begin to heal.

Healing begins when you know your spouse “gets” your hurt. That’s why it’s so important to speak the hurt so you can heal. The last thing you want to do is harbor hurt in your marriage. Nothing good can come from that. But when you open your heart and open your mouth and allow the words “I’m hurt” to penetrate your spouse’s soul, your marriage will be on the path to a deeper more trusting intimacy.

What words do you have a difficult time saying to your spouse? 

About the author

Dr. Michelle Johnson


Dr. Michelle Johnson is the founder of Alabaster Woman Ministries, an online international women's ministry. She is a wife, mother, writer, speaker, teacher. Through her daily blog, online radio show, and video Bible studies, Dr. Michelle encourages women and married couples to make God the center of their lives.


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11 WordPress comments on “Learn to Say These 2 Words and Heal Your Marriage

  1. Contrail Allen

    As a man and after reading this article, it took me back to the time when my wife had expressed those exact words to me. I applaud you for sharing one of your experience of life’s many lessons as it has caused me to reflect and stay committed to the changes I’ve made in my life. There’s not enough education in the world that can prepare anyone for what we experience in life. However, I believe that belief, love and trust are the tools people need to exercise in order to navigate a married lifestyle towards a life of righteousness. In my opinion, this is turn will reflect on children to make a promising generation in the future. I enjoy reading the many articles from BMWK. Be blessed! -C.A., USN

  2. Lisa

    Thank you so much…I have said those words so many times to my beloved. Although I love him deeply, he has continued his behavior. We have been separated almost 4 years. We communicate almost daily, I have been in counseling myself and have missed my husband everyday. We do argue about issues not related to anything of importance. I enjoy BMWK and it helpful in many ways.

  3. Mrs. HeartBroken

    I understand everything you said. I am at a time in,my life right now were I’m really hurting & it seems as thou the pain will never stop. Me & my husband are not together at this time & I still love him. People tell me to let go & on but my heart won’t let me. Yes he hurt me & I prayed on it & I have forgiving him. An he says he sorry & he still love’s me. What do I do ? LOST !

    1. Dr. Michelle Johnson Post author

      Mrs. Heartbroken. So sorry to hear about your struggles. Hurt is real. And so is healing. Regardless what happens, you must work on yourself and seek healing and peace within. Your change begins with you. So continue to work on yourself and pray for your spouse. No matter what, don’t allow the hurt to hold you hostage. You can heal!!!

  4. Crystal

    I have found your article to be very interesting! Currently my husband and I are going through a storm in our marriage(trying to work through Infidelity on my part to be honest) We both are suffering pain from things that he has done and now what I’ve done. We had started a online marriage enhancing program but we are stuck because I lived with harboring my hurt for some years and my husband is still hurting and he brings up ever detail of my infidelity on a daily basis whereas we are up all night and we cry, shout, and harbor more resentment and pain. I told my husband that my feelings had changed but I wanted us to try to work on different things in our marriage but he feelings that because my feelings have changed, there is no use of working on it and we are considering parting ways. We truly haven’t given the rebuilding a chance because we are stuck in “hurt” mode. I love my husband and want a change to get those feeling back. At this point I don’t know what to do! Your advise would be a blessing!


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