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Criticizing Your Husband Too Much? How Do You Want To Be Treated?

Updated on August 18, 2011

Your husband attempts a home improvement, and it goes horribly wrong. He buys  something for the house that he thinks will be useful, but it’s not a wise purchase. He gets lost, or losses something. He makes a mess. He picked a shitty restaurant. He buys you a gift and it’s the wrong color or the wrong style. He accidentally deleted all your vacation photos.

How do you react? Are you his friend and partner, or are you his biggest critic?

How Do You Want To Be Treated?

Ladies, let me start the explanation by giving you an example of how this would translate into a woman’s world.

Say you’ve gained weight. Imagine that moment when the two of you are getting dressed to go to a formal event, and you go to put on your favorite formal dress that’s been hanging in the closet, only comes out for special occasions… and it doesn’t even come close to fitting.

He sees this. He says, “Honey, would you be mad if I said I just don’t really feel like going? Let’s stay home instead. Let’s put on our sweats and rent a movie.”

Or, he says, “Hey don’t wear that dress, everyone’s already seen that. You want to stop at Macy’s and buy something new? I’d like to get a new tie. Come on, it’ll be fun, we can go right from there. We’ll just miss cocktail hour that’s all.”

In these examples he was your partner. Your friend. Your teammate. Your hero. He tried to give you an out-clause. He saw you were entering into a pretty shitty moment, and instead of making it worse, he tried to make it go away.

You know you’ve gained weight. You’re putting on your formal dress and it is 2 sizes too small. Do you really need your husband at that moment to tell you how much weight you’ve gained? Do you really need him to look at you, make a face and say, “That’s a shame, that was such a pretty dress.”

How Do You Think He Feels?

Ladies, it’s the same thing when you’re standing over him pointing out a flaw or a screw-up. Women want to be criticized and corrected about as much as men do. How do you react? Are you his friend? Or are you the Gustapo?

You’re on your way to the special event. He’s driving, and he’s lost. Are you complaining? Are you bringing up how late you are?

Are you saying things like,

“You should have made that turn I pointed out.”

“You should have checked with mapquest.”

“You always do this!”

Now go back to that moment when your dress didn’t fit. Did you want to hear things like, “You should be exercising more.”

“I didn’t think you needed that dessert last night!”

“You always do this!”

I’m not saying he shouldn’t care about your health, and I’m not saying you can’t help him with his direction. I’m saying, there’s a way you should treat a partner, and there’s a way you definitely should not.

You could have said, “Hey lets leave an hour early since we always seem to get distracted.” That shows you’re a team and you aren’t blaming him for anything. If he gets lost you could just laugh about it. Really, is this worth getting upset over? So what if you're an hour late. The people you’re going to be late for aren’t as important as the partner you’re going home with. Making him feel bad shouldn’t be your goal.

Maybe a nice Valentine’s Day gift for him would be a GPS. Just make sure when you give it you’re not critical. Imagine how you’d feel if he bought you a treadmill.

It's Up To You

Women tend to be the ones that set the emotional tone for the household. Men tend to mirror the mood you set. If you are hyper critical and always ragging, you will see the same come back at you from him. But if you show him your support, show him he’s your best friend and you’ve got his back no matter what, you will see him wanting to reflect the same feeling to you.

Remember, he’s not your child, he’s your partner. He’s supposed to be the most important person in the world. His feelings should matter.

If there’s something he’s saying or doing that you’re taking offense to, the odds are he may not even realize it’s a sensitive subject or that he went too far. Before marriage, his closest relationship might have been the one he has with his brothers. Brothers joke and tease. His frame of reference on how to be close to someone may not be as mature as yours. Instead of freaking, just tell him. Communicate.

Next time you’re eating at your mother in law’s, whisper to him, “I will make you a deal. I will stop complaining about your mother’s cooking if you stop teasing me about my big feet. Deal?” It's a little joke, it's a little funny, but it plants a seed. It breaks the ice on your sensitivity to a subject. He will think about that later. When he asks, let him know you think he's funny, but you can be over sensitive about your feet and you'd rather he just not pick on you about them.

Mommy-mode

He doesn’t want to feel like he’s failed you. He wants to be the man, the provider, the protector, the hunter. He wants to have some feeling of importance to you. There are ways you can guide, help, offer advice and keep a happy mood without making him feel criticized.

Imagine he spills something in the kitchen. Do you laugh, do you make it a joke, do you say hey don’t stress that, and offer to help clean it up? Or do you start yelling at him like he’s 6? Imagine if your new neighbor stops by for the first time and spills something. Do you talk to her like she’s a clumsy idiot? Or do you politely say not to worry about it and just clean it up as if it wasn’t a big deal.

Honestly think about that. Your husband is supposed to be the most important person in your life. Why wouldn’t you treat him as nicely and politely as you’d treat a total stranger?

The odds are if he’s a little sloppy, or bad with directions, or always late, or a little clueless about some things, he was that way when you were dating. You married him anyway. It wasn’t a big deal back then. It wasn't a deal breaker.

Don't let yourself get stuck in Mommy-mode. You don't behave that way with strangers, you don't need to behave that way with him. When you two were dating, you weren't hyper-critical. Go back to that headspace, where you wanted him to be happy around you, where you wanted him to feel good about himself. Rekindle the way he reacted to that support. It's probably the reason he married you. It's a good place for both of you to be.

This hub

was written by Veronica for Hubpages. If you are reading this anyplace else, it has been stolen.

All text is original content by Veronica. All photos are used with permission. All videos are courtesy of youtube.com.

Send me your relationship questions and dilemmas. Maybe I can help.

Comments

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  • profile image

    dkeough 

    6 years ago

    I consider my husband my best friend. We have loads of fun and get along except when it comes to me asking for help around the house or for him to do things differently. I have fibromyalgia and am always tired. He does dishes and cooks but leaves such a mess. I tried to tell him what would help me in a nice tone, never accusatory. Well, that doesn't work. He tells me that he does everything wrong. He views suggestions as a personal attack. He is very forgetful and I do EVERYTHING for this man. But he makes me work harder. Even if I comment on a mismatched shirt and tie he lashes out yet he asks for my advice on his outfits. I am to the point where I feel like just cleaning up after him and never opening my mouth for help. That is not fair to me but neither is having an argument and feeling like we are back in our first year of marriage and not 21 yrs married. I thought as a team, I could as him for help or suggest a different way that would benefit the household. He loves being home however, whenever I ask him to tweak something he will cutting say that he feels like he is at work, which he hates. I don't understand. I am a loving wife, never call him names, shower him with love, compliments and gifts often because I love him. But he can't take critique even when I say WE and not HE. I even rehearse before I open my mouth since I know what sets him off and it doesn't work. I feel fatigued from always doing everything and him always forgetting but not being humble enough to just say, "I will try that next time, honey." Instead I get the eye roll, a big sigh and "I suck at everything". So tired...

  • profile image

    pamiacono 

    7 years ago

    Thanks for this! I didn't even realize I was criticizing until I read this! I guess I looked at criticism more as a personal attack, which I'm definitely sensitive about (ie. pointing out flaws, or name calling, or bad choices). I didn't realize I was criticizing when I was correcting or simply not appreciating. What now? I feel like a jerk! :(

  • Veronica profile imageAUTHOR

    Veronica 

    8 years ago from NY

    Debbie,

    You made my day. Thank you so much for taking the time to leave this comment. Thanks for passing me on to some people you know. Wouldn't it be wonderful if one of them runs a magazine or newspaper or big websites and hires me as their relationship advice columnist! ;) One can dream...

  • profile image

    Debbie 

    8 years ago

    Wow, I can't believe there are so few comments. This article was a huge eye opener to me, and I saw myself and my last boyfriend in this article. It even inspired me to write him an email and apologize (we're still friends, but thankfully on different continents). I think a lot of women would recognize themselves in this article if they were honest with themselves.

    I love your advice, Veronica, I've been following faithfully for a couple of months (came across it when searching for open relationships, I think), I agree with almost all of your views on relationships, and have pointed a couple of people to your hubs.

    dc

  • thims profile image

    thims 

    8 years ago

    Thanks, at least from this husband! Great article. Those Green Drinks look very appealing.

  • Veronica profile imageAUTHOR

    Veronica 

    8 years ago from NY

    Thanks JeanMeriam!

  • profile image

    JeanMeriam 

    8 years ago

    Thanks for the hub Veronica. Very useful advice.

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