When you and your partner are open to self-improvement, constructive criticism can actually strengthen your relationship.
Over time your partner's annoying habits or unacceptable behaviour can wear away at your relationship. Having a healthy partnership means that you should feel comfortable with speaking up when something your man does bothers you. We speak to psychologist Anelle Naude-Lester about criticising your man without causing the fight of the century.
Why is it important to speak up when you're unhappy about your partner's behaviour?
Not addressing problems in a relationship (hoping it will go away or get better, etc) will ultimately make the problem worse. We do, however, have to consider the importance of the issue: is it really something that could alter the connection in a negative way, or is it something you could live with? If you feel that the issue is too important to ignore, you need to talk about it.
What is the best way to give constructive criticism without upsetting your partner?
If he gets angry, what should you do?
For some reason we attach such negative labels to anger, when in fact it is just as a legitimate and real emotion as any other (hurt, shame, sadness or guilt). If communicated well, in the absence of violence or abuse, acknowledging anger can be very meaningful and helpful in a relationship. Often what we perceive as anger is not so much anger, but underlying hurt or disappointment. If we run away from, or try to avoid the anger, we might never get to the other emotions.
When your partner reacts with anger, keep in mind that it might be hurt, fear or disappointment you're dealing with. A good question to ask would be: "What is hurting you right now?" rather than: "See! There you go again, I can never talk to you!"
How can you learn to take criticism well?