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Wifey Wednesday: Complaint Free Week

This is complaint free week, so let's talk about complaining in marriage!

What do you do when you're unhappy about something in the marriage? How do you bring it up in a constructive way?

The problem many of us have, I believe, is that we either nag our husbands or we sit in stony silence. Neither is productive. I believe firmly that we must accept our husbands as they are. We must love them as they are, in the same way we love our children unconditionally. But that doesn't mean we accept everything they do. And if there is something that is really bothering you, how do you bring it up in a way that works towards a solution?

Too often we complain to our husbands. That's going to backfire, baby. Men's biggest need, you see, is to feel competent. They want to know that we think they are capable of providing for the family and being a good father and husband. When we start judging their performance, they feel undermined, and they can retreat. So complaining not only is mean; it's also counterproductive.

Here's what I would suggest:

1. Before saying anything, check your heart. Don't do it out of anger for him; do it out of concern for the relationship.

2. When you do talk to him, own the problem. Don't say, "you make me so mad when you...". Say, "I feel uncomfortable when you..." It's a little thing, but then you're claiming the problem. And then together you can work on a solution.

3. Wait until you're both relaxed to bring it up. Having a weekly date night where you just connect and talk about the family and relationship is a great way to deal with some of these issues. If he doesn't seem excited about that idea, then you make it exciting! Feed the kids dinner first, and save your dinner with your husband until 8:00 or later after they go to bed. Make it into something that looks fun!

Those are tips about the timing and the way to bring something up. But let's look at some other tips on how to avoid problems in the first place, or minimize those that are already there.

I believe most problems in marriages, from sex to parenting to money, stem from the fact that the couple isn't connecting either on a friendship level or on a spiritual level. In other words, if you want to connect better sexually, work on the other two fist. So here are some more tips:

1. Be your hubby's friend. Find things you can do together that you enjoy. If you hate that he spends so much time at the computer or watching TV, then come up with other things that the family can do that are fun. Take a walk. Take up jogging. Play soccer in the park. Go biking. Whatever. Just do stuff together, and then you're more likely to laugh together.

2. Connect on a spiritual level. If he isn't praying with you, you can take the initiative and pray together before bed. Read the Psalms before you go to sleep, or even better, Song of Solomon. When you connect spiritually, a lot of the other problems disappear.

That's it! Tips on how to stop complaining and do something constructive in your marriage. Build up, don't break down.

And so we're on to Assignment 2 in Complaint Free Week: Find a way to carve out time in your marriage to talk about the relationship, so you won't feel so inclined to complain. Get creative! Make it fun! But make it regular. Think today about how you can do that in a way that he will enjoy it, too.

I can't put in a Mr. Linky because my blog can only display one at a time, and I want to leave the one for Complaint Free Week up. So if you have some marriage advice, we still want to hear it! But you'll have to put your link in the comments. Thanks so much!

My book, To Love, Honor and Vacuum, has a whole chapter on how to talk to your husband without nagging or complaining. It's a great one to check your attitude! And don't forget to click on Sheila's Store (just to your left). I've got the books I've written, plus a ton of other picks that will help your marriage!

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At 2:36 PM , Blogger Catherine said…

Great post, Sheila! I love the complaint-free week. Here's the link to my post: Thanks for hosting this little carnival! And I'm really enjoying your blog.


At 2:40 PM , Blogger Lucy Ann Moll said…

Sheila, I appreciated this post. My biggest "complaint" problems: complaining about a loved one IN MY HEAD. I don't say it, but silent complaints drown my loving feelings. So for my complaint-free week I'm focusing on the silent ones!


At 12:42 AM , Blogger kelli said…

I tend to be silent when there is a problem. Recently I have been making the effort to connect better. These are great ideas.

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About Me

Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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