No one likes to hear someone complain about them! But what if our outlook on a complaint could be shifted. What if we tried to see every complaint as “constructive criticism” even if it was not given in a constructive manner. When our spouses complain…it is usually because something has happened more than once and given them reason enough to complain. If they keep complaining about the same thing… it’s probably because you didn’t listen the first time and nothing has changed.
In my own marriage… I try to complain in a constructive way! Let me see if I can explain… I try to point out things to avoid future issues. If he doesn’t know something bothers me… how can he avoid doing it? I think women sometimes think that men think like us… and that if we huff about something he will get the clue. Well ladies, he won’t! He is not one of your girlfriends who speaks the same women talk that you do. So… if he does something that bothers you…politely ask him if it would be a huge deal if he did it another way… or maybe not at all? It depends on the issue. Whatever happens be sure to listen to him. And be open to him doing the same to you. Maybe even invite him to do so and DO NOT bite his head off or he won’t ever feel the freedom to do it again! We want to be flexible in our marriages and help each other grow… and we want the other to be happy! Below are some steps on handling complaints from Dr. David! 😀
First, ignore complaints at your own peril. While you may not like your mate’s complaints they will rarely simply go away. In fact, if they do ‘go away,’ they are likely going underground, only to resurface in the form of resentment, stonewalling, distance, depression and ultimately, emotional and physical leaving.
Second, every complaint has at least a kernel of truth to it. While none of us likes to hear complaints, they contain vital information. Rarely, if ever, does our mate complain about nothing of importance. We may try to dismiss it as frivolous, ‘ridiculous,’ or ‘wild,’ but this is denial and defensiveness on our parts. These complaints come from a place of woundedness or unhappiness in our mate. There is wisdom embedded in the complaint.
Scripture tells us that God examines our heart: “God searches the heart and examines the mind” (Jeremiah 17: 10). What if we were to take on that same attitude with our mate, listening intently to their heart and mind? What are they trying to say to us? Why are they telling us what they are saying?
Third, every complaint is an opportunity. Not only are complaints not something to ignore and avoid, but they are to be embraced and considered. We must, with a non-defensive heart, listen to what they are trying to say, albeit not always in the best way? What is their concern? Are you listening and trying to fully embrace them and their concern? Are you asking for even more information?
Finally, utilize their complaint as an opportunity for change. Thank your mate for sharing their concerns. Reassure them that you are listening and deeply care about their concerns. Let them know that their concerns are landing in a soft place, a place where you will examine them and prepare for needed change. Reassure them that they can share any concerns with you in the future.
Every complaint is an opportunity for change, a chance to not become defensive and turn the tables on them. This is a chance to show you are big enough to hear concerns and change. If you are willing to face issues head on, and change, you will win your mate’s heart and anchor a healthy relationship. With an open heart and willing attitude, growth occurs. This is a winning attitude!
via Every Complaint is An Opportunity, Dr. David, Christian Marriage Help and Advice.