Critical people don’t just criticize others, they’re also critical of themselves. These tips on how to stop criticizing your husband are inspired by a reader’s comment and question.
John Gottman, author of The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship Expert, is a researcher who specializes in how couples communicate. He says being critical is not evil, and that it often begins innocently. It can be the expression of pent-up, unresolved anger. “Problems occur when criticism becomes so pervasive – or one partner is so sensitive to it – that it corrodes the marriage.”
If you want to learn how to stop criticizing your husband, you’re not alone. Read books about creating a healthy marriage, and keep growing yourself emotional and spiritually. And, learn from others! Here’s an interesting comment on my article How to Cope With a Critical Husband. “My husband often accuses me of being critical of him, but I’m not doing it intentionally and I don’t see how I’m being critical,” Lisbeth says. “Everything written is written for people who need to deal with critical people, but I haven’t found any articles on how to stop criticizing your husband. What advice can you give me? I’m willing to learn, I just need a teacher.”
What do you already know about how to stop criticizing your husband? Before you read my tips, pause for a moment. You know more than you think you do – you’re smarter than you realize! Tell me what you think – I welcome your big and little thoughts in the comments section below.
How to Stop Criticizing Your Husband
My first two tips describe how I stopped being critical of my husband. The next two tips are from John Gottman’s research on how couples communicate, topped off with my own spin and flourish.
Think about how kind or critical you are to yourself
I was consumed with self-hatred and self-criticism for most of my life. I grew up with a schizophrenic mother, I was in and out of foster homes, and I never learned how to accept or love myself. My mom loved me and wasn’t critical of me, but she neglected me. She didn’t connect with me emotionally, or give me much affection.
As a result, I was insecure. My insecurity grew into self-hatred and heaps of self-criticism, and affected all my relationships. I didn’t get married until I was 35 years old – and every day I thank God for leading me through a year of counseling before my marriage! I learned how my childhood affected my relationships, and how to approach marriage in healthy ways. I learned that the more critical I am of myself, the more critical I am to my husband and others.
What about you – are you kind or unkind to yourself? Are you gentle and loving, or harsh and condemning?
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To stop being critical of your husband, stop criticizing yourself
If you’re searching for tips on how to stop criticizing your husband, I suspect you also tend to criticize yourself and others. Or, maybe you go easy on yourself but you’re hard on other people. I’m most critical of the people closest to me. The less I know them, the kinder I am to them. That’s so sad! I should be kindest to those I love most…starting with me.
Learn how to treat yourself with compassion, kindness, and gentleness. Start by reading How to Stop Criticizing Yourself.
Practice the most common tip on how to stop being critical
Gottman says that one way to avoid criticism is not to start the sentence with, “You always” or “You never” or just plain “You.” This is pushing blame onto your husband and saying he or she has a personality defect.
Instead, start by saying “I am” or “I feel” to show that you are upset with something that happened. Trust me, this isn’t an easy tip on how to stop criticizing your husband! You’re breaking a pattern that was established long ago – perhaps in your childhood. But, with time and effort it is possible to change.
Be truly grateful for your husband
My husband is a gift and a blessing from God. God matched us for a reason, He brought us together for a purpose, and He loves both of us as if He created us for a purpose (which He did!).
Knowing that Bruce and I were meant to be together – not by the random universe but by God Himself – makes me think about him differently. I don’t want to be critical of the man God brought to me. I can’t condemn or judge the husband God gave me. Bruce is God’s child, he’s a wonderful husband and a good man in every sense of the word.
What do you love about your husband? Make a list. Focus on his wonderful qualities, and the gifts he brings to you. Think about when you first met him, what drew you to him. Consider the home you created together, the family, the memories.
Instead of mindlessly hurting and criticizing your husband, focus on the reasons you love and enjoy being with him. All the energy you use to find flaws can be used for love, not criticism.
A question for you
What would life be like without your husband? Give yourself a few minutes to consider how you’d feel and what you’d do. Revisit this thought every time you struggle to think about how to stop criticizing your husband.
If you believe your life would be better if you weren’t married, read How to Survive a Loveless Marriage.
Your comments on how to stop criticizing your husband are welcome below. While I can’t offer advice, I do read every comment. I encourage you to respond to other readers’ comments if you feel led, and to share your experience of how to stop criticizing your husband. Writing often brings clarity and insight, and can help you process your feelings.
“Everything we judge in others is something we don’t want to face in ourselves.”
My next article is about getting over a breakup. Make sure you sign up below for my weekly email to receive new articles, because I write about a variety of ways to blossom.