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August 18, 2022

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KatDecember 29, 2017

Great article, this works well for relationships in general.

Kay RookhuyzenDecember 29, 2017

This was such a matter-of-fact article and a timely one--always. The principles of kindness and compliments hit me right in the heart. Thanks!

Now divorcedDecember 28, 2017

Yes, everything in this article is so true. I was treated just like the husband in this scenario during our 25 years of marriage. When I tried to explain why I was unhappy in the marriage, he flipped everything around. He said he felt like HE was walking on eggshells because I was too sensitive and too easily hurt, and it was too much to ask to have to be nice all the time, to watch what he said, the tone of how he said it. He insisted that there wouldn't be good communication between us if he couldn't just be himself around me (almost always irritated, quick to tell me everything about myself that bothered him).

TerryDecember 27, 2017

This excellent article struck some cords. Growing up, I remember my mom telling us kids - in front of our dad - how her and dad argued a lot when they first married. Then she said that the arguments reached the point that she decided just to give in to him no matter what. My dad's reply to that? "Well, she had to learn who the boss was". Even as a kid, that did not sound right to me, and I vowed that I would not be that kind of husband when I grew up. So glad I made that decision.

CynthiaJanuary 31, 2017

One of your best, most useful columns, Joni. Thank you! Great reminders! Great place to start!

KimJanuary 30, 2017

Dear Hubby, If you implement on your end, there will be no need to start a conversation with your wife at all. The beautiful thing is that over the course of a short while, she will just feel more loved. She will notice the difference in you. She will notice the difference in how you make her feel. Her defenses and reactions will naturally come down and she will either reciprocate or start the conversation with you...where you can then share this amazing article you read and how you realized what a beetle husband you could be and you know she deserves that and...poof! You're a hero and she decides to give it a try too. Then when you see her trying, you are super loving and grateful and you now have the marriage you've always wanted. Not perfect. She will be tired and frustrated some days. You will be the same. But luckily on those days, the other partner will be all practiced up on how to show you love. And things will roll much better!

KJanuary 7, 2017

Dear Hubby, Here's my suggestion. Show your wife the article (print it, email it, whatever). Tell her you're sorry for the times you've criticized her and you'll try to do better. If you're lucky, she'll read it and decide she can do something to improve her own behavior. If you feel belittled, you could point that in in the moment it happens. Maybe ask if you can approach the situation as equals.

HubbyJanuary 3, 2017

I would love to present this idea to my wife (I will implement it on my end), but I know her reaction would likely be to be offended... How do you have that conversation without sounding accusatory?

rickDecember 5, 2016

62 years old. 37 years of marriage and this made a difference. thx for the insight.

JulieNovember 18, 2016

Laurel, Having read all the prior post to yours, I felt a little sad at such harsh comments directed towards or inferred on your exchanges with your husband. We all have those moments, and I appreciated your explanation as to the situation that prompted the authors comments. Had I not heard your side I might have wondered what went on that prompted the article. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us, it must have been difficult to read through the posts and know so many had harsh words without your explanation of the situation.

LaurelNovember 17, 2016

I'm pretty sure I'm the wife/mom in your story, barring a huge coincidence. I appreciate your charity in acknowledging that "it could be any number of things."  Like you said, "Wouldn’t we all love it if someone gave us the benefit of the doubt when we make mistakes?" and I feel like you did that for me. There were probably a million little factors that led up to that exchange, and I'd like to explain the bigger ones: 1st: Flying is nerve-wracking for me.  My husband knows this and was kindly doing everything he knew to help.  My tone with him was awful, and I apologized for it.  We both have anxiety-triggering situations that call for more patience from the other spouse. 2nd: It's true that I was inflexible about the stroller. I had to hold the baby in my arms for about an hour prior and was in pain.  When I saw the hubs fold up the stroller, I panicked.  I hoped to use the stroller to relieve the strain on my back as long as possible, up until the very bottom of the airplane steps.  The baby ended up back in the stroller for a good hour before we got on the plane. 3rd: We are both unemployed and have been for most of the years he's been in grad school.  We have been living off of student loans and savings for that time and will need to continue to do so until he starts work. (We were flying out to a job interview.)  Getting through this time has given me a mindset that $3 for bottled water is an extravagance, especially when it would be free after a wait.  (Plus, breastmilk is free!) With all that said, I LOVE your suggestion.  I think it would have gone a long way to get us through that frustrating experience.  I am going to work hard to remember to do this.

JMDNovember 17, 2016

Such a great article, and great comments, too! I can certainly see a lot of the dynamics that existed between me and my ex-wife in it. It really comes down to pride, doesn't it? It's that belief that we are right and the way we do things is the correct way, rather than acknowledging that there can be multiple correct ways to do something (transport a stroller, for example). If our relationships are to survive, we need to accept that another's reasoning is every bit as valid as our own, and even when they aren't, the relationship should be more important than nitpicking them about everything.

Heather EadsNovember 17, 2016

My husband and I just went through a marriage course. During it, I felt like I was getting worse. But at the very end, my eyes were opened: I had been feeling all of that anger, bitterness, disappointment all along. I am sure he interpreted my negative emotions as I was disapproving of him. Long story shorter, this article sums up how I want to treat my spouse. He must be the more mature one of us, because he has already been treating me better... Thank you for posting this article, because it is a gold nugget of wisdom!

CraigNovember 16, 2016

I am currently separated, headed towards divorce after 19 years of marriage. Looking back at my own relationship I think I am in some ways like the husband in the story. Over time, despite me thinking I was doing well to be a kind and considerate husband, I think my willingness to accept treatment that I didn't really like contributed to the distance between us. I remember hearing a story about my twin brother once (who is still happily married). He was driving somewhere with his family and his wife got angry with him, yelled at him, and may have called him something not nice. He turned to her and said something to the effect of "Never talk to me like that in front of our children". Then he pulled over, handed her the keys and said "You drive", and then he walked home. I recall that when I heard the story it sort of horrified me that he would talk to his wife like that. Now when I look back at my own marriage I think one of the mistakes I made was being unwilling to say when I felt hurt. I don't know if my brother's approach was the most appropriate, but I've come to feel that if you find yourself on the receiving end of such behavior just 'taking it' isn't the way to deal with it. I think you can stand up for yourself and still be kind ... of course that is the tricky part that I haven't yet been able to figure out.

RogerNovember 16, 2016

It is so easy to see the faults in our spouses without truly addressing our own. It is up to ME to make the compliments and stop the criticism. And it is up to ME to continue, regardless of my wife's response. TODAY, I need to do this. No more excuses.

KarenNovember 15, 2016

I'm so thankful for all the people here saying they are guilty of this and will try to change. I'm soooo sad to see others who say, "I wish my spouse would to this, because I'm the victim in our marriage." It's never one-sided. The point of the article is that if you change YOU, your marriage will improve. If you're only 10% of the problem, then fix that 10%, and watch how things improve more than you expect.

DavidNovember 15, 2016

I'm the guilty party in this instance, and will give it a try. Thank you for sharing!

LoisNovember 14, 2016

To the distance daughter in law I know it may be hard to do. But when she criticizes you. Just say to her. "That really cuts deep do you really feel that way about me?" Perhaps she is unaware that she's criticized. And hopefully she will be able to recognize her rudeness and apologize and more than that change her actions towards you and others

DaveNovember 14, 2016

Would love to see this implemented in my marriage.

MattNovember 14, 2016

Oh if only our wives could see the damage they do when treating their adoring husbands as children. I've put up with type of behavior for years. A kind word or encouragement would take me to the moon and back. Those came less and less frequently until there was polite silence and soon a request for divorce. My heart is breaking as I tried over and over the past several years to communicate and honor our marriage vows. Today is our 17th anniversary and we will both igore it as just another day. As we fight over who gets what in the house and bank accounts. True communication is the key to a long and successful marriage.

Common SenseNovember 13, 2016

Excellent topic that needs to be addressed and shouted from the rooftops. I'm a divorced LDS man who has talked to countless LDS women who put up with this for 20+ years and Finally couldn't take it any longer and ended their marriage. To see this type of criticism in a marriage is so ugly. Two points about this: -- TIME is rarely/never the answer to resolving this type of problem. If this is entrenched in your marriage relationship, it won't get better. Unless you're willing an committed to truly solving it with outside help. Record yourself talking to your spouse. It might be enlightening. The second point is that many men (definitely not all), especially LDS men are raised to respect women, and when this happens, it's not a fair fight. They feel like they are abusive or using their position to put their foot down and try to stop the demeaning behavior - and they rarely know how to do it correctly. I think there's more men that do this than women, but as a man, I know that there is a behavior that can grow from this where it's a lifetime of trying to continually please the wife, in hopes that some day she will love him. Much like a child trying to gain the favor of the cold and unloving step mother. So ugly, I can't be in the same room when I see this, and yes, most of the time, the offender is clueless. Thanks for the great message.

JodyNovember 12, 2016

I was thinking that it would also be helpful to manipulate your thoughts to be complimentary in nature. Often things might not be said but critical thoughts are formulated. This article is so awesome!

Craig MorrisNovember 11, 2016

My wife does this frequently. I call her on it occasionally asking why she must be critical of inconsequential things. Her response is that I shouldn't take it personally, she is just trying to get things done the "right way" and I should focus on what we are trying to accomplish and not her criticism. "Don't make this about our marriage" is her go to line. If you want your husband to regret marrying you, this is a good way to go about it.

Jacob SmithNovember 11, 2016

sounds just like my wife, I will be defeated pretty soon and looking for love again. :(

A Distant Daughter in LawNovember 11, 2016

I know this has to do with marriages, however, as I read this, my mother in law came to mind. I personally feel like that husband when I am around her. Not that I am elbowing her right now,but all those feelings of worthlessness came back and she entered my mind while reading this article. Because I read this and not her, does anyone have any suggestions on what I can do to help her see how it makes me feel when she belittles me?

Been ThereNovember 11, 2016

Great article by Ms. Hilton. I have experienced first hand every example of this kind of behavior and millions more. Ms. Hilton, perhaps unknowingly, perfectly described behavior of a Verbal Abuser. A prevalent hideous yet little known emotional and psychological condition that causes Abusers to verbally attack, disrespect, deride, demean, criticize, disapprove, discredit, insult, curse and debase those that they love in an efforts to control, manipulate and have "power over" others because of their own deep seeded untreated damage. The psychological and emotional trauma this inflicts on victims can be horrendous and is often described as "crazy making" because the abuse has no correlation to reality. Anyone is this situation should google "verbal abuser" and learn all that they can and seek any help possible. The abuser always denies any abuse and always blames others for their own behavior.

MegNovember 11, 2016

Sadly, I tried this last night in front of my 11 year old daughter. At the end of my heartfelt compliment to my hubby in the middle of a sticky situation, she blurted out, "But......" and waited for the criticism to come. I realized my fault in not only criticizing, but often giving a dig even after a compliment. Thank you for waking me up! I'm going to work on this.

Lorena HolmsteadNovember 10, 2016

I live with a man who personifies the supportive person you are describing. I try every day to give the same back to him. It makes for a peaceful, joyful, deeply loving relationship. I'm so grateful for it. This advice WORKS. And Al, who commented earlier - you only fail if you give up trying. Things like this take practice. It's OK to fail and get up and try again. :)

Tom OwenNovember 10, 2016

I just read it, I just tried it, it was easy, it worked!!!

HalNovember 10, 2016

Great article! I'm trying to see/hear myself through the eyes/ears of my wife and family. I think I'm being kind and thoughtful, but sometimes my family sees me as being critical. It was constant criticism from my first wife that destroyed our marriage because I just took it until I was reduced to believing I was totally worthless as a husband and father. Fortunately, my second wife and I openly discuss our feelings and how our actions and remarks affect each other. We can still do better, but we're doing quite well.

RobertNovember 10, 2016

Wow! What a great article Joni! Terrific insights as usual. I'm definitely going to try and see if this works. Now if I can only get my wife to read it ...

RachelleNovember 10, 2016

Joni, you always nail it!! Such a great reminder. Thank YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!

BradNovember 10, 2016

I know how that husband feels. I have gotten to the point of just asking my wife what she wants all the time so that at least I won't do something the "wrong" way. The sad thing, I can now see myself treating my kids that way and not letting them the opportunity to do things their own way. I need to change that ASAP!

DeeNovember 10, 2016

I need to wake up, thanks for making me aware. I donʻt want to be his mother, I want to be his fun wife.

AlNovember 10, 2016

What a practical remarkable idea. It sounds like a radical change to me in my life. I'll try it. I often think of positive things to say after cooling off. Doing it real time is a huge challenge. I'll try it. My marriage is the most important aspect of our life. I suspect I'll fail though.

AndrewkNovember 10, 2016

Wow! So awesome. Wish we could make this a conference talk/Combined lesson. How many marriages/relationships could be helped? Thanks for this!

Shirley GriffinNovember 10, 2016

Wise words, Joni. Some of us have a hard time suppressing our critical thinking, which should never be unleashed on most people, especially those we love. You live what you preach--it's obvious to all of us who know you and Bob!

SharonNovember 10, 2016

Thank you for the article, while reading it I realize I am sometimes guilty,especially when I am tired. I am going to try and think of a compliment, , I guess I can still learn even after 50 years of marriage

Grown WomanNovember 10, 2016

Very, very important piece. I am that stroller baby, all grown up. My mother was non-stop in criticism and disapproval of our kind-hearted dad, and the results were devastating. We had no sense of the family unity, security or joy, and later when tragedy struck we could not cling to each other as "there was no 'THERE' there," (Gertrude Stein's words). Despite all the work Mom put into raising us, we disliked her because even as toddlers we understood that her treatment of Dad was cruel. We also vaguely resented HIM for tolerating it rather than leading our family out of maltreatment and into loving behavior --in reality, he was just walking on the eggshells mentioned in the article. To this day that lack of security causes me problems I must constantly work to overcome, and the bleed-through has cost my own kids. Please reread this article weekly until you no longer see yourself in it.

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