How well do you receive constructive criticism? How well do you offer it?
Giving criticism in love can lead to transformation, but criticism apart from love is condemnation.
This is why Rule #7 is Seek to Build.
There will be times in our marriage when we need to challenge our spouse. But how we address hurtful or inconsistent behavior is crucial. If we have a critical spirit that’s nagging and negative, it’s going to have a negative impact on our relationship. And constructive criticism requires the right motivation. If you approach your spouse’s behavior from your own perspective, just because you want things done your way, it’s easy for negativism to creep into your relationship.
But criticism will be given well if you love your spouse and want them to be accountable for the way they are living. Ephesians 4:15 tell us, “Speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is Christ.”
So how do we make sure we are receiving criticism well? It’s natural to want to get defensive and justify what we did, but we really need someone to challenge us to reach a greater potential. When Steven offers criticism of something I have said or done, his loving way of pointing this out helps me get introspective and consider my actions.
Proverbs 15:13 tells us, “He who listens to life giving rebuke will be at home among the wise.”
It can be hard to hear what we can do better, but receiving criticism is very healthy and our spouse has the greatest opportunity to encourage us to be better. We will glorify God if we seek to build.
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