Complaining is feedback, it is not criticizing. There is a place for complaints in a marriage.
There will be issues or differences in every marriage, and there will always be a need for adjustments to be made – all through the life of a marriage. If these are unaddressed, they just pile up until the couple drowns in them with bitterness and resentment.
It is important to express the existence of a problem. How would a spouse know what needs to be changed? Without feedback as to how spouses are affecting each other, those adjustments are impossible.
It is all about how to bring up those adjustments that are needed. A complaint is simply alerting a spouse to the fact that what they’re doing, or not doing, is having a negative emotional effect. It’s feedback.
A complaint is not a criticism. A criticism adds a disrespectful judgment to a complaint. The difference is in the attitude and mindset, and the words and actions that come from there.
🤔When we criticize someone (or something), we’re saying “Here’s what’s wrong with you/it.”
When we complain, we’re saying “I’m not happy about this.”
🤔Criticizing puts more attention on the person/thing being criticized.
Complaining puts more attention on the person expressing the issue.
🤔Criticism focuses on their character. When we use criticism, we make it about a person’s self. “Are you too lazy to pick up your towel?” is a criticism.
Complaining focuses on a person’s behavior. When we voice a complaint, we identify a specific behavior that we’d like someone to change. “I don’t like when you leave your towel on the bathroom floor” is a complaint.
Avoiding or failing to express our adverse reactions can lead to unresolved issues and resentment. Share feedback – as complaints, not criticism. (It may be semantics, it’s really about the attitude and the words.)