Marital Spats – Why it’s Crucial that YOU get the Last Word!

Posted by: Shel 14 Comments

                It is crucial to have the last word in a marital tiff.  It’s control. It’s power. We all know that the one who speaks last wins. The Last Word Road Sign with dramatic clouds and sky.

            The following conversation really took place. I have removed the real names of the speakers. Not to protect anybody – I just didn’t have the time or space to put in the name of each and every person who has participated in a version of this dialogue.

            YOU:               You always have to have the last word.

            SPOUSE:         No I don’t – you do.

            YOU:               There you go again – just stop talking.

            SPOUSE:        No – you stop talking. You’re not making  

                                     any sense anyway.

            YOU:               Fine. I am done talking to you.

            SPOUSE:        Good, because I’m sick of hearing you talk.

YOU:               See? You always have to say just one more thing.

                          You can’t stand  not having the last word.

            SPOUSE:        No, you’re the one who has to say just one more


                                                And so it goes.

You want to win this spat? Do you want to ensure that yours are the last words – the words that end the argument? Here are two options:

Say “I’m sorry” or “You’re right.”

Either choice is very likely to end the conversation. Either choice is likely to result in two winners.

Know any other argument enders? Let us know in the comments section below.


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  • Once I finally started to grow up (sometime in my 30s), I began to realize that apologizing for MY part of the argument was much less painful than parting ways/going to bed while still angry. Great post, Shel!

    • Shel Harrington

      Thanks, Sonia. I agree with you about going to bed while angry – it can be a real setup for long term conflict.

  • I understand that suddenly whipping up one’s shirt and showing the “girls” can bring a sudden halt to the bickering (not saying I do this…) That action could also lead to something else… 🙂

    • Shel Harrington

      Oh my, thatis rather, um, creative . . .

    • James

      I have now properly introduced my girlfriend to this blog…and recommend she give special attention to the comments

  • Sheri

    “You’re right, I’m wrong, I’m sorry.” Can be delivered in a number of different tones. Nothing anyone can really say to that.

  • Diane

    So very true! I find leaving the room real quick so I can at least pretend I didn’t hear anything more after my comment. 🙂

  • Gina Kishur

    Brilliant Shel. I suspect my business would be greatly reduced if having the last word was a little less important.

    “I love you too much to argue” is my favorite. It just has to be said with sincerity, and without sarcasm.

  • That’s too funny and unfortunately so true. How about, let’s agree to disagree. Or, ZIP IT, is always good. 🙂

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