"If your husband feels loved and supported by you, it’s likely he can handle any feedback you need to give him. If you have a relationship that isn’t emotionally safe and secure, it won’t matter what you bring up or how you bring it up. Your motives will be met with suspicion."
I am easily offended.
However, when our daughter died, my wife started exploding at me the next day. I got yelled at as I repeated to her what the coroner, police, funeral director told me. yelled at when I asked her mother if she had had a good night's sleep, and became the sole target of her rage.
It's pretty easy to offend anyone in this state, especially when they're doing something that is excruciatingly painful.
I learned not to say a word to her about our daughter - not even mentioning her name - but kept getting criticized for everything from the funeral to how horrible a father I was to her.
After a couple months, I was avoiding my wife. She's now my ex-wife (she abandoned our surviving children, leaving them behind with me).
Our example may be extreme, but ...
If your husband doesn't feel safe - feels that anything said will bring on criticism or an attack or an explosion - an easily offended husband will be created, and he'll probably keep his distance from you.
Question: is he complemented on the good things he does more then it is criticized?
I am also an easily offended man. I didn't used to be. My story, I hope, is not typical. Before we married, I was complemented and told I was wise and smart. The criticism began as we drove away from the temple on our wedding day. It has not stopped. From the moment we married, I have not done anything right and have to be told everything I do that is wrong. It is to the extent that she even had to try to correct which hand I used while standing in front of the toilet - how could a woman know the right and wrong of that? Mind you, it is all done with a kind voice and sounding like she is trying to be helpful; I cannot accuse her of yelling and screaming - except when I try to correct her or tell her she is incorrect concerning something. Other than that her criticism and correction is all done with a kind and helpful voice. My children are tired enough of it that they will not visit us, and they have each promised me a room when I finally leave. Again, it's all done with a kind voice and meant to be helpful, but it never lets up and she will not tolerate being told she could improve.
Looking forward to next week's column, "There's Nothing Wrong With My Husband - What Should I Do?"
I was really looking forward to reading your answer to this, and am pretty disappointed. I have the same problem. My husband gets offended by any perceived criticism, real or not, sometimes about the most inconsequential things. I have tried finding a quiet time to gently address the issue at hand. It always devolves into him yelling about what is wrong with me. I have also tried talking about how easily offended he is with the same result. In the end, the only way to keep the peace is to pretend he doesn't make the mistakes he does, and handle everything myself. I don't feel like I have a partner, I feel like I have particularly prickly, powerful, hurtful child I have to tiptoe around.
It is all well and good to say that approaching my partner lovingly should make the difference. What should be and what is, are two different things.
It just might be that her husband would be offended because he doesn't feel good about himself, and so any corrective comment will make him feel worse. I admit that I would be offended by my husband's corrective comment because I already feel that I don't matter. HOWEVER, if he were to sit down with me in a quiet, loving manner and tell me he had something to tell me that he felt I needed to know, that would make a difference.
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