criticism:It has no place in a healthy, God-honoring marriage.
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” - Ephians 14-29
It’s not cute.
It’s not okay.
And it’s not something that a healthy marriage
should allow to enter the walls of their relationship.
Criticism is deadly.
a zero-tolerance policy for criticism in marriage is a great place to start.
When allowed into your marriage,
criticism will actively eat away at the intimacy
between you and your spouse
it’s a betrayal of trust and access.
It’s a misuse of the unique position
you have in your spouse’s life.
When we enter into criticism,
we are misusing the position
we have with our spouse.
Instead of using our access
to build them up with our words,
we are choosing to tear them down.
At its core, criticism is a betrayal of trust.
We’re choosing to attack the person
we have vowed to defend.
Criticism is destructive to your marriage
because it erodes intimacy
It is the glue holds spouse’s together,
and without it,
a marriage will drift apart
until there’s nothing left
but a semblance of a relationship that used to exist.
When we criticize our spouse, we are taking advantage of the special access they’ve given us into their heart. That access is designed to help us become more intimate, to become one and love each other deeply. But when we criticize them, we are instead using that access to hurt them more deeply than anyone else can.
Engaging in criticism repeatedly leads to emotional pain
Criticism is an insidious behavior that comes into our marriage and eats at the core of our identity. Few things will shut down intimacy quite like being criticized or controlled, and it is capable of immobilizing your emotional health and personal growth, especially within your relationship.
Criticizing your spouse
is different than offering healthy feedback on a situation.
In order to isolate criticism,
we need to know what it is and what it isn’t.
Criticismfocuses on what’s wrong. (“Why can’t you pay attention to the bills?”)
Feedbackfocuses on how to improve. (“Let’s go over the bills together.”)
Criticismimplies the worst about the other’s personality. (“You’re stubborn and lazy.”)
Feedbackis about behavior, not personality. (“Can we start by sorting the bills according to due date?”)
Criticismdevalues. (“I guess you’re just not smart enough to do this.”)
Feedbackencourages. (“I know you have a lot on your plate, but I’m pretty sure we can do this together.”)
Criticismis coercive. (“You’re going to do what I want, or else I won’t connect with you or will punish you in some way.”)
Feedbackis not at all coercive. (“I know we can find a solution that works for both of us.”)
When put next to each other, the differences are staggering.
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up…”
Choosing to criticize your spouse actually says more about yourself than it does your spouse.
“Criticism is the only reliable form of autobiography,” ~Oscar Wilde
“Criticism tells you more about the psychology of the critic than the people he or she criticizes.” Dr. Steven Stosny
Repeated criticism often comes from a critical heart that is dealing with unresolved hurt.
“For the mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart.” Mathew 12
Confronting criticism in your marriage has less to do with your words and more to do with your heart. Allow God to show you the value and love He has for you. Criticism can only be defeated when we do the work to heal the heart conditions that lead to a critical spirit.
Once we are confident of our value in Christ and the unwavering love of our father, it allows us to move forward without the need for criticism. For it no longer does any good for us to tear someone else down.
Imagine if the natural overflow of your heart was to speak encouragement to your spouse instead of criticism.
That could change everything.
use your position to encourage, inspire, empower, and love powerfully.