Never ask ‘why?’Posted on December 28, 2015 by Rabbi Manis Friedman
The One Question You Should Never Ask in a Marriage
If I had to write a book about marriage, it would be a very short one. It would consist of a single sentence:
Never ask ‘why.’
Why Can’t I say Why?
‘Why’ can be very offensive. This one word can destroy everything you strive to create in your marriage. The ‘W-word’ can even shatter marriages founded with the best of intentions.
When your spouse expresses her needs, wants, fears, likes, dislikes etc., do not ask: ‘why.’ It is not your job to find out why. Your job is to meet the needs of your spouse. No questions asked.
Asking ‘why’ is insensitive and dismissive. Asking ‘why’ means: ‘I’m not impressed or convinced until you give me a reason.’
“Oh, something bothers you? Ok, give me a reason why it bothers you and then maybe I’ll think about not doing that anymore.”
‘Why’ communicates the message that the other person’s opinions are unimportant. It trivializes your spouse’s feelings.
‘Why’ is frustrating, because most of the time, your spouse doesn’t even know why something bothers him or her. He doesn’t know why he needs it this way. It just is what it is. None of us knows why we are the way we are. So, when you force a spouse to explain why, it causes great pain and frustration.
What, Not Why:
If you really want to understand your spouse better, don’t ask ‘why.’
‘What happened? What are you feeling? What’s going on?’ By asking ‘what,’ you are asking for more information, which stimulates constructive communication.
‘Why,’ leads to a fight. ‘What’ leads to a good conversation.
If you stop asking ‘why’ and start asking ‘what,’ you will start to see an immediate improvement in your marriage.
Try it. It works.