5 Things to Remember to Avoid Criticizing Your Wife

Criticism in marriage is never a good thing, and it’s my biggest regret as I reflect on my first few years of marriage. Early on, I had heard repeatedly that communication is the key to a successful marriage. So, I needed to communicate the things she did that I deemed “not OK.” Right? Wrong.

Yes, good communication in marriage is important. Criticism in marriage is the very definition of bad communication. No woman wants to be married to a guy who feels it is his duty to judge her. We certainly wouldn’t want that if the shoe were on the other foot. Here are 5 things to remember to help you avoid criticizing your wife.

1. You can be hard to live with, too.

Like you, your wife is under all sorts of stressors. From kids to work to chores to you, the struggle is real. When your wife messes up, ease up. Don’t care quite so much about things like her leaving her towels on the floor and her way of slurping through every bite of her cereal. Give her the grace you need now or are going to need soon.

2. You don’t like unkind people either.

Shaunti Feldhaun—Harvard graduate, social researcher, speaker, and best-selling author—revealed in a massive study that kindness is the most important thing in a marriage. In her 30-Day Kindness Challenge, we are instructed to say something kind and do something kind for 30 days. You know how to be kind; you do it every day. You don’t like it when people are unkind to you, so don’t be unkind to your most important person.

3. You’re weird, too.

Every couple has at least some differences, some have a lot. Maybe you think your wife is not stressed enough about the things that stress you. Or maybe you are stressed because your spouse is too stressed about the things that don’t stress you. Maybe you think she is weird about money, parenting, in-laws, or chores. But remember, there are some things that make you weird, too.

4. You can be not fun, too.

I fully understand that life can get serious. How in the world could we ever forget? The reminders are everywhere. So try to be at least semi-fun. You don’t have to do stand-up, but at least do silly. Lock your wife out of the house and make her dance before unlocking it. Go behind the couch and pretend you are walking down nonexistent steps. And if your wife does or says something that is a five on the funny meter, laugh like it’s a nine.

5. You are not God either.

Let me take the pressure off all of us. No matter what we believe about God, we are not God. Instead of judging your wife, step back, step away, and pray. Yes, even if you don’t think you know how to pray or that you should. It takes a whole lot of pressure off our spouse when you don’t expect her to be God-sized. Like us, our wives are having a tough enough time being human-sized.

Sound off: How do you avoid criticizing your wife?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “How do people respond when you criticize them?”