If what matters most in martial relationships is communication, what hurts most is also related to the same.
The Sting of Criticism
Some husbands find fault all the time. Some wives nag all the time. Both are equally dangerous. The problem that criticism creates is two-fold. It generates a spirit of ill-will and a sense of un-worthiness in the recipient.
It is devastating when the criticizer picks out some incident in the past and cuts open fresh wounds in the listener’s heart. Often the incident picked out will have nothing to do with the situation being dealt with. Take care to avoid such thoughtless pick of incidents when you talk.
The best way to criticize is to sandwich it between great doses of praise. The praise aspect will compel you to really find out the good things in your partner.
For example, you can say: “This curry is the best you cook. Its flavour and aroma are irresistible [Of course, it should be true. No insincere remarks or flattery should be used.]. But if you could decrease the quantity of pepper a little bit; it will be a real treat. Next time when you cook this dish, I can invite my friends to have a real taste of your Chicken Treat by the world’s best chef!”
By saying this, you would have made your point, while taking the sting out of it. And the result, good will and smiles all around.
The Sledge Hammer of Demeaning Comments
Often husbands and wives make a simple but terrible mistake. They talk of their partners in a demeaning way in front of others. Although it is done innocently it can leave a bad taste in the mouth.
Examples abound. Sometimes a husband says things like, “She doesn’t know the difference between salt and sugar.” Well it is intended as a joke. But when it is said before others it can hurt real bad.
A wife can say things like, “He always forgets to button up his shirt even though he sports a tie while leaving for office.” Kindly note the word “always.” It might have happened once or twice when his mind was preoccupied with official responsibilities. But this comment makes him feel like a failure. That is devastating.
The best way to get out of these wrong and negative communication habits is to consciously build uplifting talk patterns. Make deliberate attempts to speak out something good about your husband or wife in front of others. It restores the sense of self-worth and esteem in marriage relationships.
The Axe-head of Comparisons
From the time we are born we are compared with others. Sometimes the wounds and scars remain long into life’s remaining years.
The sad thing is that we also unknowingly carry this comparison syndrome into marriage as well. The husband may consciously or unconsciously be tempted to compare his wife with someone at his office or someone he had known previously. Sometimes these comparisons get expressed in subtle ways. “Well, she [the other person] speaks so sweetly.” The wife immediately takes this to mean that her voice is somehow not pleasing to her husband’s ears.
The wife might say things like, “Sandy’s husband just bought the latest Honda City. She says `Its a cool car!’ ” The husband might think that this comment has something to do with his poor bank balance. He starts to think that unless he can excel the other guy and buy a still better car, perhaps his wife might not respect him. The possibilities are endless.
So why not put a stop to such comparisons. If you can respect the uniqueness of your husband or wife and love him or her with all faults and shortcomings; that is the best thing that can happen.
Let me conclude. Life is too short and life is mostly about dull routines. Conflicts and differences of opinion should remind you that God has gifted you with someone who is not perfect. And he or she is married to you who is far from perfect. If you believe that God has made you one, invite him to make your imperfections an opportunity for him to truly make both of you one–truly one!
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