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Two Sources of Criticism


A Great Idea …

“What causes a spouse to be chronically critical?  We have discovered that there are two sources.  The first is an emotionally unresponsive partner…The other source of criticism in marriage comes from within.  It is connected to self-doubt that has developed over the course of one’s life, particularly during childhood. In other words, it begins as criticism of oneself.” (John Gottman, Ph.D., leading marriage researcher, in his book The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. p. 264)

In Other Words …

Relationships are hard for imperfect humans. When any two people criticize themselves and their partners, a cycle of negativity can grow, getting stronger and harsher as time goes on. The solution is clear: We must forgive both ourselves and our partners for being human.

How This Applies to You…

It is only a matter of time that you are going to get mad at yourself or your partner. When it happens, try laughing at yourself for expecting either of you to be perfect. As harsh judgments enter your mind, Imagine them being said by an enemy and find ways to defend yourself or your partner.

To Find Out More…

For an excellent (and free!) program on marriage, see The Marriage Garden at Arkansas Families.

For an excellent book focused on marriage, read The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman or The Marriage Garden by H. Wallace Goddard and James P. Marshall.

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