Recipe for Happy Marriage: Secret Tip
I love watching cooking shows so I thought it would be fun to title this post: Recipe for Happy Marriage and throw in some cooking lingo.
And cooking lingo wouldn’t be complete without identifying the secret ingredient! Today, we are focusing on…criticism.
This is one of those ingredients you want to avoid in your recipe for happy marriage…
When criticism is included in the recipe, arguments can spark and defensiveness can take over. Or, one partner can begin to shrink within themselves in an effort to keep the peace or in an attempt try and please their spouse.
While these self protective behaviors (defensiveness and going within) are part of our ability to defend and protect ourselves, they can also begin to tear apart one’s self esteem.
What does criticism do?
Blended into criticism are often character insults where it becomes about attacking who your spouse is as a person.
And when a marriage includes daily servings of criticism, it can be devastating to the health of the marriage.
What’s the recipe then?
Instead, opt for:
- Daily cups of affectionate behaviors
- Big handfuls of empathy when stressors are high
- Several cups of openness and curiosity when talking with your spouse
- Spread on a foundation of friendship
- Garnish with laughter, fun and loving kindness toward each other
Recipe for Happy Marriage – Examining Criticism
Just like when you are sifting through dried beans to remove any debris or pebbles before cooking, the same needs to happen with your relationship.
Meaning, the first step is to examine what’s currently happening in your relationship:
- Examining criticism in your marriage
If you struggle with being critical of your spouse, ask yourself the following:
- When am I critical?
- How frequently is it happening?
- What am I observing that it’s doing to my spouse?
- How am I feeling after I criticize?
- Am I critical because I:
- Want to control my spouse?
- Want to change my spouse?
- Desperately want closeness and become critical when I don’t get it?
Recipe for Happy Marriage – Alternatives to Criticism
With all things, awareness is the first step. If you take the time to reflect on the above suggestions, you can gain understanding of how criticism shows up for you.
The next step is start to see all the ways you might also be critical of yourself. Many times, when someone is highly critical of their spouse, they are also critical of themselves.
- Is it possible to soften that internal critical voice?
- Is it possible to approach it (approach yourself) with compassion instead?
Once we can begin to look within and begin to heal parts of ourselves that need healing, we can then begin to make the journey toward ending criticism all together. And instead, learning how to talk with your spouse about your needs. And learning how to respond from a place of loving kindness versus closed off rigidity.
This can be extremely freeing but can also be difficult to do without professional help. So if you’re finding you want some help, please contact a trained professional.
*Blog is intended for educational and informational purposes only.