Constructive feedback – if you have the relationship for it.

March 30, 2011

in Communication, Good Marriage

Well done! © Kaarsten | Dreamstime.com

Had a number of comments on yesterday’s “Constructive criticism?” post. I fully agree that “iron sharpens iron” and that we need to lovingly critique what our spouse does. Sometimes we need to point out problems and errors, and sometimes we need to confront. However, criticising, in the now common negative sense of the word, does not seem biblical to me. Jesus was only harsh with those who were beyond hope – namely the religious leaders who had added so many rules to what God said they could no longer see God for who He really was.

The potential difficulty with speaking truth in love to one’s bride is that she may not feel very loved. If she feels over-worked, under-appreciated, ignored, taken for granted, or used, she does not feel loved. If she’s not feeling loved, you can’t really share your heart in a way that she hears as love.

Perhaps this is why some wives can’t or won’t hear from their husband – they have no reason to believe he is speaking in love. They doubt he has their best interests at heart, and are on their guard. Once this happens, any feedback, no matter how seemingly kind, will be suspect. Once damaged, a bride’s willingness to hear her husband takes a lot of effort and time to rebuild. If you’re in this situation, work at the loving part, and hold your “constructive criticism” until she can hear you. A good start is to go out of your way to praise her, thank her, and tell her why you are proud of her. Make your words something she wants to hear.

Bottom line: If your words and actions have damaged her ability to hear you, then it’s on you to fix that. She’s not being “rebellious”, she’s reacting to your wrong treatment.

Image Credit: © Kaarsten | Dreamstime.com

2 comments
Cobus
Cobus

I agree fully with your post as well. We often overlook the fact that men are the 'stronger' party in the relationship on a number of levels- definitely physically, emotionally (apart from simply not being exposed to hormonal fluctuations etc). We should therefore be cautious about doing direct comparisons between ourselves and our wives and basing our constructive feedback on this. I have a need to discuss a number of issues in our relationship soon and I will have to take into consideration that my wife is overworked and simply drained at the moment. A delicate balance between considering both spouses' needs and our strengths and weaknesses. Thanks for your ministry!

John Delcamp
John Delcamp

I agree with your bottom line 100%, I have found that the reason most wives won't take "truth in love" is because the husband is doing like Jesus described, "trying to take a splinter out of his wife's eye when he has a log in his" and it is easy for his wife, family, and friends to see his log and it is difficult for them to see her splinter.

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