7 Habits of Highly Defective Marriages: Part 4 Criticism

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Three weeks ago, we started a new series of seven blogs designed to recognize unhealthy habits. If you missed the last three weeks check out our first THREE Highly Defective Habits:

Habit #1: Spiritual Continuity.

Habit #2: The Single Life

Habit #3: The Fun-less Couple

Here we go…#4 on the list of my 7 Habits of Highly Defective Marriages:

Defective Marriage

Habit #4: Criticism Floods

crit·i·cal/ kritikəl
adjective: expressing adverse or disapproving comments or judgments
Synonyms: disapproving, scathing, fault-finding, judgmental, negative

Luke 6:37:38 “Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults—unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don’t condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang. Be easy on people; you’ll find life a lot easier. Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity.” 

Of all the ways there are to die (not that I’m looking for one), drowning has got to be ranked up there as one of the most miserable ways to go.  Yet I find there are so many spouses drowning their spouse by flooding them with criticism.
You and your husband/wife have the ability to overwhelm each other with such critical (disapproving, scathing, fault-finding, judgmental, negative) words that it can cause an emotional shut-down.  That emotional collapse can result in a detachment within your relationship. When one of you brings on a sudden barrage of criticism, you leave your spouse feeling shell-shocked.  The results: disengagement and often, over time, leads to contempt.
Defective marriages have at least one individual that constantly speaks with a critical tongue. Criticism, if not handled is a form of emotional violence.  It’s used as an attack against the character of the other. The tongue is an open faucet that will beat down your spouse leave your partner broken down, gasping for emotional and mental “air.” In most cases, they’re going to be reaching out to something or someone for a fresh breath to breathe into them.  What is sad is the breath they need should be coming from their spouse.
The Gottman Institutes says criticism is “a wish disguised…a negative expression of real need.” What needs to be done is to shut off the valve of criticism and YOU take responsibility for change.  Instead of unloading all blame, you begin to own the wish/need and help shoulder the responsibilities at hand. Critical spirits fractures the oneness between you and your spouse.  Introspective and humble hearts heal and fortify your marriage.
According to Luke 6, stop “picking on” your spouse with criticism.  Shut off the valve.  Give your marriage some air and let the introspection and humility breath life back into your marriage.  If you do, watch life come back into the eyes of your husband/wife.
Stop being defective.  Stop being so critical.
Thanks for letting me ramble…
(for more on criticism, check out my post from last year called “The Bold and the Beautiful“)

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