In the next chapter of our new book, Snap Strategies for Couples: 40 Fast Fixes for Everyday Relationship Pitfalls, Dr. Pepper and I talk about how criticism has no real place in a relationship, not even if the intentions might be benign. Enjoy the introduction!
There's no such thing as constructive criticism. Don’t think your partner will appreciate it or learn from it. Negative commentary about your partner is going to sting and separate both of you. There are other ways of influencing one another. We show how to influence your partner in ways that help the relationship grow in a positive, happy climate. We suggest the motto “The person is not the problem; the problem is the problem.”
Criticism is a complaint with an edge, a sharp edge, meaning that it usually cuts a piece off the other person. Criticism that is masked with humor or “just trying to help” generally fools no one. It almost always ends up wounding your partner, the relationship, or both. There is plenty of research that shows negative judgments, even when nicely phrased — “Honey, you just don’t get it. I love you, but you are no math whiz” — generate defensiveness and resistance.
It’s hard not to complain about things your partner does or says that offend or irritate you, but listing or highlighting their deficits not only drives you apart it is useless at effecting change. However, you don’t have to live with the problem behavior. There are some very effective ways of motivating your partner to please you.
As always, for the other pages of the chapter and the rest of the book, order here!