As two people spend more time together, it becomes easy to start becoming critical of each other’s thoughts and actions. You have spent so much time learning the other person that they just make for an easy target when things aren’t going your way. In fact, the problem is so prevalent in difficult marriages, that Huffington Post names it as one of the top six signs that it’s time to call it quits.
“A spouse who is critical, degrading, nasty, argumentative or moody is emotionally abusive,” the site notes. “They instill fear, insecurity and doubt in their partners and can destroy your self-esteem.”
It’s a clear problem and one you have to fix if you want to save your marriage. Here’s how you can accomplish this.
If you’re the critic…
Firstly, be aware of your own negativity. By resolving to lead a more positive life — starting with your outlook as it relates to your general day-to-day — you will learn to spot criticizing behaviors as they occur. While there is nothing wrong with constructive criticism, most people blindly think all criticism they hand out is constructive when it is, in fact, not. Constructive criticism seeks to build up. If you’ve taught yourself to start looking for negativity in your own life, then you’ll be able to know the difference. When you catch yourself slipping, pull in the reins.
If you’re the criticized…
Don’t take it. This isn’t about being “above criticism.” It’s about being torn down by the person, who is supposed to be your biggest advocate. If you cannot look at that person and tell them how you feel, then perhaps HuffPo is right: it really is time to leave your marriage. But if you can sit down with your spouse and have a heart-to-heart with them about what their words are doing to you, then there is still hope. But you have to put it out there on the table. Sometimes your spouse will know exactly what he’s doing, but you’d be surprised by how often he doesn’t. Let your voice be heard, and then see if it does any good.
The only way to enjoy real change is to break the norm and do something different. If constant criticism has started to take over your marriage, bring in positivity and outspokenness. If these things don’t help, then it’s time to consider a new life apart. Good luck whatever you decide!