“I think cursing is a bunch of malarkey.” – Brian Wilson (co-founder of the Beach Boys)

Foul language is all around us. Years ago television and radio had to conform to censorship standards; there were things that could not be said, things that could not be shown. Now it’s pretty much anything, anytime.

And we are the poorer for it.

The use of bad language does a couple of things; first, it lets us off the hook as far as thinking is concerned. We can pull a nasty phrase out of the box, and use it like a “message” t-shirt, to express attitude but not much else.

Second, it ups the emotional ante in an argument, because most of us are still pretty sensitive to being sworn at. And there is a residual sense of guilt in using bad language.

I wonder how many marriage arguments became much worse than they had to be, because one or both parties started using foul language?

If you want to stop, it’s not hard. It’s like breaking any habit.

  • Make the decision, first. Say it our loud – “I will not use bad language.”
  • Be aware of what you are saying, even when you hit your thumb with the proverbial hammer
  • Limit watching TV and movies that make bad language part of the “normal world”
  • Have an accountability partner, someone who will tell you when you’ve slipped. Preferably not your spouse; that can, under some circumstances, feel like nagging. Go outside the marriage on this one, to a friend.
  • Don’t beat yourself up for failing, and don’t for a minute think, “Oh, I din’t swear for a month, and now I tripped and said #@$*%, and I’ve ruined my good run!” There is no run; there is only each moment.

It will take time to get out of the habit. Trust me. I’ve been there.

But what price a cleaner world?