Confronting your spouse about an important issue that must be addressed is a very difficult thing to do. And if it is not done properly and with love the results can take your marriage in the wrong direction. But when it is done right it will add a greater dimension of intimacy in your marriage.
On our post, How Do You Handle Constructive Criticism? I talked about the importance of handling constructive criticism well and the value it can add to your marriage. On this post I want to be very specific about how to confront your spouse without causing more damage to your relationship.
So here are some important do’s and don’t for giving constructive criticism without hurting.
Do: Prayerfully consider what you want to say before you say it. And surrender to the Lord any selfish agenda that you may have. It is amazing how much selfish motivation can be revealed when we surrender our hearts and our will to the Lord.
Don’t dwell on negative criticism and allow resentment to set in.
Do: Confront your spouse with the issue as soon as you can after you have prayerfully dealt with it. Deal with the situation as quickly as possible.
Don’t erupt from built up pressure because you have prolonged the inevitable.
Do: Be empathetic. Receiving criticism is a hard thing to do even if it is meant to be constructive. So one thing you must have when giving criticism is the grace to be empathetic. Which simply means to think before you speak on how you would like to be told the things you are about to say.
Don’t sweat small stuff. Somethings are just not that important and should be left in the place of accepting your spouse just the way they are without trying to change them.
Do: Keep your love unconditional. Make your message clear that your love for your spouse does not waver based on their behavior.
Don’t use your love for your spouse as leverage to get them to change. Love should never be withheld at certain times and given at other times as a means of manipulating change.
Do: Speak only for the purpose of building and never for tearing down. Remember why you are saying what you have to say. This is not for your selfish gain, this is for the good of your marriage and has your spouse’s best interest in mind.
Don’t speak critically out of retaliation. Paybacks never help in any situation, especially in marriage.
Do: Remember you’re the one that is in the best position to give your spouse this valuable feedback they need to mature and grow. You have been chosen by God to be in your spouse’s life for His purpose and development in your spouse’s life..
Don’t let your spouse down by withholding valuable input. Even when it is difficult to receive your spouse needs your loving feedback that is looking out for him/her and is not against him/her
Do: Choose your words and your tone carefully. How you say something goes a long way in delivering the message you want to present.
Don’t miss the opportunity to say what you need to say by saying it the wrong way. Be gentle, supportive, encouraging, and accepting while at the same time presenting the issue that must be confronted.
Do: Consider your own ways and how much grace you want knowing you have many flaws and you fall short of God’s best, just in different ways.
Don’t be like the Pharisee in the temple who thought his righteousness was so much better than the sinner who was in the room with him, (Luke 18:9-14).
Question: Are you willing to confront your spouse in love while laying aside any selfish agenda you may have for the good of your marriage? Feel free to share your comments.
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