Re­la­tion­ships

… and I do things that frus­trate him. We just got mar­ried last year, and I’ve been won­der­ing: is it bet­ter to give him con­struc­tive crit­i­cism or just try and sup­port him to keep the peace? – Aisha, 26

Glamour (South Africa) - - Contents -

“My hus­band has habits that an­noy me. Is it bet­ter to give him con­struc­tive crit­i­cism or just try and sup­port him to keep the peace?”

“I’ve seen thou­sands of mar­riages end, and it’s rarely be­cause of one huge is­sue. It’s usu­ally lit­tle things that sep­a­rate cou­ples emo­tion­ally un­til re­spect is lost.

Di­vorce is death by a thou­sand pa­per cuts, and the habits you de­scribe may be pa­per cuts. Con­struc­tive crit­i­cism can be like a slap in the face – a lov­ing slap still hurts and it isn’t the best way to get him to stop. Rather praise the good things he does to re­in­force be­hav­iours you want.

You’re newlyweds, so now is the best time to set good habits!” – James J Sex­ton, di­vorce lawyer “I lean to­wards con­struc­tive crit­i­cism, rather than to­wards stay­ing silent. Your voice should be heard! Just know that if you open up about is­sues, you have to al­low for crit­i­cism to be di­rected at you, too.

Also, it’s not an ei­ther -or sit­u­a­tion; shar­ing how you feel doesn’t mean that you no longer sup­port some­one. If your part­ner can’t tell you when you’re be­ing an­noy­ing, who can?” – Kara Brown, writer

“I think it’s im­por­tant to pick your bat­tles in any re­la­tion­ship. My goal is to find a bal­ance be­tween ‘see some­thing, say some­thing’ and bit­ing your tongue so hard that you give your­self an un­in­ten­tional pierc­ing.

If the habit harms your spouse or will drive you in­sane over time, you may want to share your thoughts, but do so kindly. I like to leave gen­tle re­minders – like a note on my hus­band’s Crocs that says, ‘Why do you hate your­self?!’” – Melissa Rauch, ac­tress

“No one looks for crit­i­cism. If you tell him he’s mess­ing up, he will de­fend him­self. In­stead, ex­plain the rip­ple ef­fects of his habit. Walk him through what he does in a non-judg­men­tal way, so he can con­sider the con­se­quences of his ac­tions.

Don’t turn your frus­tra­tions into an an­gry row; that’s when you’ll make your worst ap­peal and he won’t be mo­ti­vated to change.” – Sarah Ben­nett, coau­thor of F*ck Love: One shrinks sen­si­ble ad­vice for find­ing a last­ing re­la­tion­ship (Touch­stone Books; R344)

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