Does criticism dominate your arguments? Research conducted by Drs John and Julie Gottman suggests it’s one of four predictive factors of relationship failure.
Let’s face it we all have complaints about our partners which can create opportunities for criticism! However, a simple shift in response can significantly influence the outcome of disagreements and help you stay connected with your partner!
Let’s take a closer look at how criticism may appear in relationships.
Firstly criticism has a harsh overtone and secondly criticism is typically a personal attack on character or personality.
An example of criticism may look something like this… “Why can’t you ever remember anything? I told you a thousand times to fill the car with petrol, and you didn’t. You’re always so careless.”
Criticism is common in many relationships and often results in a defensive response from your partner.
An alternative to criticism is complaint…complaint has a softer overtone and keeps the focus on the event or action as opposed to perceived partner inadequacies. A complaint usually has three parts (1) How you feel, (2) About whatever the issue is, (3) What you need/want/prefer. An example of complaint may look something like this…“There’s no petrol in the car. I’m upset that you didn’t fill it up like you said you would. Could you please deal with it tomorrow?”
Tip - conversations which start negatively usually end the same way!