For various reasons, about 2 1/2 years ago I just decided that I would no longer complain about anything that DW did. It has been very helpful in certain things and not so much in others. Anyone else ever do anything similar?
When DH and I married I also made the no complaining way. For the most part it is GREAT. There are times I have to offer constructive criticism (don’t you hate that term) I do take my time to think about how important it is to me to offer it.
It is difficult at times. Although, I feel that we do less nit picking than some of our friends and family couples.
I think there are only 2 things I have snapped and complained about.
- my DH is a economist, so VERY much a numbers guy. When we first married, he would wake me up (well bring it up while I was still waking) our budget. It was not that we were having problems with our budget, it is just he is obsessed with it. He checks our bank accounts online 2 or 3 times a day!!! He redoes our budget every time we go to the grocery store! To say the least, I would be happy to never look at an excel spread sheet again!!
- he seems to have less humility than I do. IMHO he takes to much credit for how what he says or does effects others. I feel I was raised to be a very humble person and it is hard for me to listen to him give himself, what I believe is too much credit.
After 20 years of marriage, I realized that all of my criticisms of my DH were having the opposite effect desired: he was not changing, he just became even more entrenched in his way of thinking, etc. I decided after attending the Alpha Marriage Workshop that what he needed from me most was respect and affection. So I stopped complaining.
Miracle of miracles, he immediately began doing things that I liked. We’d never really had big problems anyway, and when I took the log out of my own eye and started seeing things from his perspective, things really improved.
It’s been three years since I stopped criticizing him and they have been the best three years of our marriage. He still does aggravating things but now I just ignore it. Water off a duck’s back!
We haven’t done this, but ***I ***have tried. He doesn’t really need to. Lately when I hold my tongue when I’m about to criticize, I often find that there’s a good reason for what he’s about to do, and I would have looked foolish had I said anything. In the many years when I have said something, he has gallantly kept his mouth shut and not let me appear foolish. He’s a much better person than I am in this way.
There are still plenty of things that I find to complain about, I would say legitimately. I don’t say anything, but I do criticize mentally. That’s what I’m trying to give up for Lent. I was doing so well for the first couple of days… I’m trying to teach myself to blank my mind and think about something else. We’ll see if I’m a nicer person by Easter.
Just think of something GREAT he does when you are about to criticize.
This is probably no where near your situation. Although, I remember a few days after my grandfather passed, my grandma broke down in the kitchen while doing dishes. When she finally was able to talk to us about it, she said that when her and grandpa always did dishes, they would bicker about if the pan lids went on top of the pans or by themselves (she like them by themselves). Well no matter how many times (they were married 50 years) she told him to put the pan lids by themselves, he would always put them on the pans. After he passed, she always put the pan lids on the pans.
Complaining is not the same thing as asking for what you need.
I try not to “complain” to my DH and certainly not *about *my DH.
But, I do ask for what I need regarding help around the house, or asking if he will do something (or stop doing something).
In the areas where the “not complaining” isn’t working perhaps you do need some communication as to your expectations, your needs, etc.
Perfect example of where communication is needed: My DH does not like fish sandwiches from one particular local restaurant in town, but does like the fish sandwiches from another restaurant in town. Sometimes when I would go to town to go grocery shopping I would stop and pick us up some dinner-- if on a Friday I’d get him a fish sandwich.
For 2 years he never said anything about the fact that he preferred the fish from Restaurnt B and didn’t like Restaurant A. He ate fish he didn’t like for 2 years. He could have just told me! I am happy to go to B and get the fish there, makes no difference to me and I don’t even eat fish… I was just getting fish b/c HE likes fish. If he hadn’t finally said something he’d still be getting fish from A.
He says he didn’t want to say anything b/c he didn’t want to “complain.”
I would say that not complaining at all removes complaining about valid issues. Those valid issues remain unsolved. Tension might exist knowing those issues exist and will not be addressed - at least not in any straightforward fashion.
Additionally, resolving not to complain about anything, valid or not, may lead to a sense of resentment, withdrawal, giving up, accepting injustice, other such things which are not healthy.
Besides, we need to admonish sinners. This means sometimes we’ll need maybe not to “complain” but to say something regardless.
So all in all, I would focus on not nagging, trying not to complain but rather to address and solve problems in a loving way.
You might be surprised how effective it is to jsu t ignore and accept–even lousy fish sandwiches.
How about you make sandwiches for her?
Tonight our fourth child, only 2 months old, and our 2nd “high needs baby” was carrying-on because I wasn’t nursing or holding him. I said to DH “he’s just complaining for the sake of it!” To which DH responded:
“He gets it from you…”
I gave up “complaining” about anything for an entire Lent. It has helped me to bite my tongue and think about something longer when in the past I might have launched into a complaint. I think that it makes me a more pleasant person to be around.
The type of complaining that I gave up is that spouting off which is really more about blowing off steam than fixing a problem. I allowed myself to make one factual report if there was a legitimate problem that needed resolution (such as on the job) but no continuing to whine or merely gossip about it later.
Can I say that it was the hardest Lent ever!
Not in our house.
It really bothered me when I found out. It bothered me that my DH didn’t think he could say something about the fish sandwiches. It’s such a trivial thing, but for gosh sakes don’t eat something you don’t like for no good reason!
I was GLAD he said something and I in no way took it as a “complaint”.
But how about if in accepting that small thing, it helps to train one to accept all and provides a stable and growing relationship?
There is no way that I could mention something small like that and still be disciplined enough to hold my tounge on bigger matters, but I can accept and ignore it all.
It is hard. Why didn’t you continue it after Lent? It does finally get easier.
That’s your perogative.
Training the will is certainly important.
But, I don’t think we have to train ourselves to “accept all”. I don’t think that’s healthy and I think eventually it comes out in other ways.
I think instead that clear, frequent communication between two rational adults is a better solution than swallowing it.
I gave the fish example of a low-stakes conversation. If you can’t have that, how can you have a high-stakes conversation? And, the high-stakes conversations are the ones you NEED to have.
I think it’s a mistake to “accept and ignore it all.” I don’t understand your decision to be a martyr in your own marriage.
Is your wife so unreasonable that you are unable to discuss things with her and come to a mutually satisfactory agreement?
I understand that you think it is a mistake, but I don’t think that opinion can carry much weight if you have never tried this for an extended period. My wife is not unreasonable and I am not a martyr. When I accept things as is, they are mutually satisfactory–there simply is no reason to discuss them to get to that point. I accept them as she proposes them and it is done.
Well, in your OP you stated that “It has been very helpful in certain things and not so much in others.”
I was focusing my response on the “not so much in others” part. Obviously it’s not working perfectly and I think that’s because it’s not a solution to all issues.
If it is satisfactory to you then why did you express that it’s not working so well in some areas?
If you want to continue down this path, that’s great for you-- go for it. I don’t think “complaining” is a good thing at any time.
But, what I’m suggesting is “complaining” and “discussing” are not the same thing and that “keeping silent” is not always the best solution.
I would agree with most all of those comments. I think it is not working perfectly mostly because I am not–hard as this is to believe–perfect and very little of the fault lies with the solution itself.
I would add that “communication” is hihgly overrated IMO and is “not always the best solution.”
I have continued to avoid complaining although at times I have to catch myself. My point was that it was a very hard Lent when I first decided to do this change.