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Two sources of criticism

July 5, 2011

A Great Idea …


“What causes a spouse to be chronically critical?  We have discovered that there are two sources.  The first is an emotionally unresponsive partner…The other source of criticism in marriage comes from within.  It is connected to self-doubt that has developed over the course of one’s life, particularly during childhood. In other words, it begins as criticism of oneself.” (John Gottman, Ph.D., leading marriage researcher, in his book The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. p. 264)


In Other Words …


Relationships are hard for imperfect humans. When any two people criticize themselves and their partners, a cycle of negativity can grow, getting stronger and harsher as time goes on. The solution is clear: We must forgive both ourselves and our partners for being human.


How This Applies to You…


It is only a matter of time that you are going to get mad at yourself or your partner. When it happens, try laughing at yourself for expecting either of you to be perfect. As harsh judgments enter your mind, Imagine them being said by an enemy and find ways to defend yourself or your partner.


It’s possible that your partner is emotionally unresponsive. Even when that is true, you can step out of the defensive mode, and you can be responsive to your partner.


To Find Out More…

For an excellent (and free!) program on marriage, see The Marriage Garden at Arkansas Families.

For an excellent book focused on marriage, read The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman or The Marriage Garden by H. Wallace Goddard and James P. Marshall.

  1. July 7, 2011 10:51 am

    Being positive is the only thing that has kept my husband and i together but he needs professional help, since at best of times he suddenly kicks off and do serious damage to everything we both worked so hard to keep, but he refuse to see anyone and since he left home three months ago and only come to visit when it suites him thinge are going from bad to worse.

  2. July 7, 2011 10:59 am

    Being positive is the only thing that has kept me with my husband so far. but he suffers from self distruct and suddenly for no reason at all he lets me down he gets me waiting for most important matters without apology and he just carries on till I dont want to see him or know him. I have seen a marriage guidence but he refuses to see them. He likes me to put up with him eventhough he left home three months ago and only come to visit when it suites him.

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