We all hit points in our relationship where things do not go as planned. You find yourself arguing with your partner more often and complaining about your marriage. You struggle to find anything good about your union and instead focus on the negative.
While some complaining is good in life, there is certainly a line that can be crossed. Can you remember the last time you said something positive about your partner? Do you ever show gratitude for your marriage? When negative emotions dictate how you act in your relationship, it quickly becomes a problem. There are a few ways you can fix your habits so that you complain less, and love more.
How Complaining Hurts Your Marriage
Complaining about situations rarely makes them better, and that applies to marriages too. Regardless if the complaints are valid, they can do damage to your union. There are a few reasons why.
First, complaints are counterproductive. You likely are complaining about a problem in your marriage because you want to bring attention to it and get it solved. Complaining, though, rarely solves the problem and instead escalates it. When we complain, we send our spouses into a defensive mode. They are likely to shut down and have issues communication and problem-solving.
Secondly, complaints tend to sound like harsh critiques. When one spouse complains, the spouse on the receiving end might find themselves feeling personally attacked. They will check out and not listen to what you have to say because they think you are nagging and trying to make the situation worse. It can also affect their self-esteem because they always feel like they are never doing the correct thing.
Lastly, complaints are unattractive. Complaints suck the fun out of life, and there is nothing cute about someone who manages to find fault in everything. Those who continuously complain are hard to be around. Your partner likely will find it difficult to relax and enjoy their time with you because they are afraid you will lash out on them.
How to Stop Complaining
It takes a lot of self-work to stop being a complainer in a relationship. Someone who complains frequently will not suddenly wake up in the morning and change their ways. You will have to pay attention to how to respond to situations actively. It will require restructuring your sentences to get your point across in a productive way. Here are some strategies you can implement.
First, always choose gratitude. Choosing to appreciate the little things in life, rather than complain about the big stuff is the easiest way to start having a more positive outlook. Keep a daily journal where you write one thing that you are thankful for each day. Throughout the day, concentrate on that one thing that makes you smile. You will find it harder to complain when you focus on your blessings.
Secondly, focus on the larger picture. All the little things you nag your spouse about probably are not that important in the grand scheme of things. Is it the end of the world that they forgot to take the trash out or did not wash the dishes? While these things are annoying, it is not worth breaking your marriage down for. Pick and choose which arguments are essential.
Thirdly, learn how to communicate with your spouse. There are likely legitimate things you want to complain about in your relationship. However, you must disclose those issues to your spouse in a productive way if you want something to change. Complaints will not move your relationship forward. Learn how to talk and listen to your spouse in a nonjudgmental manner so that you both come out of the conversation feeling good about the next step for your marriage. If this is a place you both struggle in consider getting counseling to help.
Next, look for solutions to the problem before speaking up. What could your spouse do to help rectify the issues? Do they have any ideas for fixing it? You cannot expect your partner to solve everything on their own or be able to read your mind. Talking about solutions gives you and your spouse a plan of action that you can use to hold each other accountable.
Lastly, consider that there might be more significant problems at play. Any time chronic complainers are looking for attention, respect, or something else, they are not getting out of the relationship. The little things set them off, and they may not realize what is wrong. For example, the husband that gets annoyed about his wife always being on her cell phone at dinner may be upset he is not getting enough one on one time. The wife that complains about the dishes in the sink being dirty might see it as her husband disrespecting her desire to keep their home clean for the children. What broader issues may be at play that are causing you to complain so much?
Always complaining about your marriage will only leave you and your spouse feeling angry, er resentful, and frustrated. It will not solve the problems you have, but rather escalate them into even worse situations. Focus on what you need to do to make your marriage happier, and that starts with learning when to shut your mouth.