I am always fascinated by relationships, and I aim to help people develop healthy relationships that always thrive.
One of the ways I have helped some individuals and couples having relationship challenges is by identifying the behaviors that were responsible for the shortcomings in their relationships.
In some sets of couples, it is a negative pattern in their interactions.
In the marriage of Tara & Kay, they haven’t spent 10 minutes in my office before I was able to identify one of the deadliest viruses called criticism in the way she interacts with her husband.
Her conversations were laced with criticism instead of complaint, she used a lot of generalizations lines such as ‘he never, he always.’
I was able to walk with Tara & Kay after identifying this by helping them differentiate between criticism & complaint.
Don’t be mistaken, it is normal to have complaints about one’s partner, but the complaint should not be poised as criticism, because criticism is one of the silent killers of passion and romance in relationships.
1. A complaint focuses on a specific behavior or event while a criticism focuses on the person and attacks the personality.
2. A complaint has three parts:
1. Stating how you feel
2. Being specific about the situation/event of concern
3. Mention what you want/need/prefer.
Here is an example.
Criticism: “Why are you so forgetful, I hate hanging your towel for you, always. You don’t just care”
Complaint: “I am upset that you didn’t spread your towel after use in the morning, could you please remember to do this before leaving the room next time?”
Criticism: “Why do you put your family above me? I always come last on your list. Are you avoiding spending time alone with me?
Complaint: “I need you to check with me before inviting anyone over for the weekend. I wanted to spend the weekend alone with you this week. I want us to schedule a weekend for just the two of us next week.”
Criticism is very common in relationships. So, if you can identify with this, don’t assume your relationship is headed for the gutters, you can break the pattern and wire your complaints in the right way.
Identify which is a complaint or criticism in the below exercises.
1. There is no hot water in the heater. I am upset that you didn’t turn on the heater when you got back. Could you please do that next time?
2. Why can’t you ever remember anything? I told you a thousand times to always put on the heater once you arrive home from work, and you didn’t. You are always so careless.
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