The ideal marriage contains healthy communication between two partners; however, the capacity for these channels isn’t always clear and open.
The reality is every marriage experiences its challenges at times, and many people have had to endure their mate’s sarcastic remarks and/or complaining at least now and again.
Unfortunately, some people are in situations where negative comments are consistently directed at them all the time.
Living with a spouse who seems to always find fault can be difficult and painful. It’s important for your emotional and mental well-being to find ways of handling the situation.
Regaining harmony is possible when both parties equip themselves with the tools to communicate clearly and respectfully.
Why is your spouse so critical?
It can be both helpful and hopeful to realize that most of your spouse’s critical comments have little to do with you. That may be hard to believe when the comments are always aimed in your direction. It is important to keep in mind that some people think their way is better while others genuinely believe that they are being helpful
The truth is that anyone who finds fault with others is usually unhappy with themselves and their own lives. They cope with these undesirable feelings by projecting them onto their partner.
If your spouse is mature enough to look in the mirror and admit the true reasons for the anger, your marriage will change for the better.
If not, you still need to understand the dissatisfaction is most likely not about what you do or don’t do, and if you weren’t there, chances are someone else would be hearing comments.
Set boundaries for yourself
When all is said and done, there’s no excuse for bad behavior. Your spouse has a responsibility to treat you be respectful of your feelings and to treat you with care. When that doesn’t happen, it’s time for you to take action on your own behalf.
It’s been said that setting healthy personal boundaries is like building a strong fence around your house—it keeps your property safe. Part of taking care of yourself is not letting anyone take away your sense of self-esteem. That’s where boundaries come in.
Setting boundaries doesn’t mean shutting other people out of your life, it simply means that you will be thoughtful about whom and what behaviors you allow in to save yourself from unnecessary hurt. If you are faithful to sustain your fence, it will teach both you and your mate a more healthy way to live.
How to communicate your boundaries
Clearly setting boundaries can be hard, but with practice you can learn. Practice with the following strategies:
Use “I” statements. This keeps the focus on you, and will sound less like an accusation leveled at the other person.
Don’t engage with your partner while they are irate. Don’t try to talk them out of their mood, just inform them that you recognize that they are upset and will speak with them when they’re more level-headed.
Use a softer tone. If you yell or cry, your spouse may only hear the emotion and miss the point you want to make.
Stay positive. Setting a boundary might not feel good right away, but it is a healthy thing to do for both of you.
Don’t try to force the outcome. Your words might be received well, or your mate could react with anger. That is not your responsibility. Be sensitive but stay firm.
Take a step back from your immediate feelings
It’s hard to separate from strong emotions, especially negative ones, but speaking or acting out from a place of hurt will most likely only keep you and your partner engaged in a painful conflict instead of helping each other move on.
Depending on the context, sometimes it is best to let the remark pass rather then make a scene. Take a deep breath or a nice refreshing walk to give yourself a moment of clarity before confronting your partner.
What not to do when dealing with your spouses’ criticism
Avoid the urge to fight back. Countering from a reactionary stance sends the message that there is something to prove to your spouse.
Don’t take the blame for your partner’s unhappiness. Reclaim your identity by becoming less dependent on their approval.
Don’t set yourself up to be criticized. Not delivering on promises and putting others down is a sure fire way to invite criticism.
Don’t focus entirely on the negatives. Obsessing over the negative will only compound the issues between you and your partner. Practice balancing the negative with positive thoughts and tendencies.