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Hi guys,


Need advice about how to not be so critical of my husband. I've been married 3 years and he is a great guy (works full time so I only have to work part time, spends all his weekends with me, is very loving, cooks for me, etc). Bliss, right? Well.... no! I grew up with a mother who showed her love and tried to teach us the best way to do things by being critical. this used to drive me crazy when I was a kid but now I find myself doing the exact same thing to my husband.

Ok some examples- most of the time I do the chores round the house because when he does them I find fault in how he does them (e.g. "you need to rinse the dishes"!!!). I wish I could just shut up and not say anything but the comment is out of my mouth before I can stop myself.


He is usually pretty understanding of me but sometimes gets angry and says I am too controlling. A couple of days ago he was reading an article aloud to me and I tried to advise of how better to read! After the event I am totally disgusted with myself but at the time it just feels like I am trying to help him to do things 'better'. How can I stop this before I drive him away and drive myself crazy??



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It sounds as though you may have a parent/child relationship forming with your husband and that fact alone will eventually cause a wedge between you both.


Have you thought about attending individual councelling to help curtail your controlling behaviors? It would also help if when having a conversation with your husband that you think things through before you speak.

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Jasmine -


I think I have the same problem and after reading your post I realize that is how my mom treated me when I was a kid. I try to catch those little comments before they pop out but it is hard to do so when they tend to pop into your head so quickly without any thought.


I'm never really sure how much of a problem I have because even though my girl friend tells me that I correct her too often, she seems to correct me on a regular basis but I don't tend to think twice about it when she does it to me. Some constructive criticism is good, right? Those dishes should be rinsed!


Somehow we've got to slow down what comes into the mind before it goes out the mouth and make a more intelligent decision about whether it is important enough to actually speak the words. I'm going to work on that, slowing it down so I recognize it before it comes out.

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Thanks for the replies. theantibarbie23-haven't thought about counselling as only just really recognising it as an issue. Am hoping I can work through this alone, but we'll see. Re. parent-child relp with my husband that is a scary thought.

ratherbesailing- glad to know I'm not the only one!! Good advice about trying to slow down the thoughts. The other day when I saw my husband putting away something in the wrong place, I just went out of the room so I didn't say anything! Maybe silence has to come before something more constructive?! Really hard though.


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I have had similar issues. Even when I am not being critical... I am "just trying to help" I found it helps me to control my critical comments by not offering "advice" unless it is expressly asked for. Wait for a question... I found that they don't often come, but when they do, my "advice" is much better received. It also helped me see just how often I was critical... when I would catch the thought in my head and pause for the question that never came... it allowed me plenty of time to mull it over.


As for things not being done to your standards. Sometimes, you just need to let go and realize that things can be 'good enough'. And 'good enough' is acceptable.

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Very insightful NJRon. I figured it would mostly be nagging women that would relate to this problem, but it seems both men and women have critical or 'helpful' tendencies!! I am going to try what you suggested about waiting for advice before jumping in and giving it anyway. I think that will cut down my talking for the day by at least half!! thanks

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I'd suggest checking out the book "The Surrendered Wife" by Laura Doyle. I found it really helpful when I was trying to deal with my own shrew-like tendancies. I know there are some people who totally disagree with the book (much like "The Rules" has its critics), but like anything else, you take what you can use from it and leave the rest behind. Like every author I've read, I don't agree with EVERYTHING in the book, however, I did find a lot of helpful ideas.


If you start with the idea that your husband is basically one of the "good guys" -- not, say an alcoholic or abusive or a cheater -- then you have to come to the understanding that he's a fully capable, functional adult. He's already got a mom....and it's not you. If you want him to behave like an adult, you can't treat him like a child.


Initially that means you're gonna have to learn to bite your tongue sometimes....I mean, really, is there only one "right" way to wash the dishes? Is it worth getting into an argument over? When it comes to little stuff like that, here are your choices:


1. Accept that there's more than one way to wash a dish (or vacuum, or clean the bathroom, or dust, or laundry, etc) and just be thankful he did something to help, because some guys won't ever lift a finger.


2. Accept that you don't like the way he does the dishes (or vacuuming, etc) and take that task on as your responsibility...and don't ever complain about it again.


For a lot of things in my own marriage, I chose option 1. When it comes to cleaning the bathroom, I had to go with option 2 because I just don't like the way he cleans the bathroom. I'm funny about that for some reason, but I also realize it's not worth picking a fight or nagging him to do it my way. If I want that done a particular way, I'm just gonna have to be a big girl, do it myself, and not whine about it later.


The choice is mine -- I can appreciate his effort, or do it myself, or I can tell him he did it wrong and then do it myself all the while complaining about it. That last option leaves everyone feeling like crap, I wouldn't recommend it.


Nagging does not work. It just makes both of you feel bad and chips away at the relationship.


A lot of what Laura Doyle talks about in her book boils down to basic respect for your partner. The first step would be to get yourself to start thinking before you speak. (Like I said, initially, you will be biting your tongue....a lot.) What I've noticed is that it's (unfortunately) fairly common for basic respect to go out the window once we're comfortable with someone. I'm sure you have caught yourself saying things to your husband that you wouldn't even think about saying to a stranger or acquaintence.....I know I sure did in previous relationships.


I actually read "The Surrendered Wife" when I was single. I really wanted my next relationship to be different. I never wanted children, and it seemed like I always ended up being my partner's mother. Which was a really icky place to be. Being a "screaming shrew b****" never, ever got me what I wanted....treating my husband with the respect you'd show to an intelligent adult has worked out incredibly well for both of us.

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it never ceases to amaze me how i can look into my lovers eyes, say something or hear a comment, and instantly respond with an unkind word; without taking the time to connect in that idea of union which our ring represents. how to first recreate that union before we speak is the real challenge. we first must desire perfect honestly to each other. do we feel bonded or is there an offense which has not been talked out and forgiven. when you find out there is one, then listening til the other person feels understood is the major prerequisite for oneness. if you can tell that the spouse has a lack of trust, it must be painstakenly rebuilt by offering a record of humility in all our actions. time..time . . time

then finally he or she may respond with desire to talk, , , , or a broken heart desiring restoration.

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