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How Complaining Hurts Your Marriage

by April Sanders

When a man mentions that he has a complaining wife, he often evokes the image of a nagging shrew. The same is true of a complaining husband. The reality, however, may be different. The spouse's complaints may be valid: Sometimes issues need to be brought up in a marriage in order to solve them. That being said, complaining usually does more harm than good if it isn't done carefully.

When Complaining Is Negative

Complaints can hurt a marriage if they are always negative, and the nature of complaining usually means that this is the case. If the complaining spouse is always focused on the negative aspects of life, he or she is more likely to see them, which creates a vicious cycle of more and more complaining. Negativity in a marriage is emotionally draining, and constant negativity and complaining on the part of one spouse might make the other spouse simply give up trying to be positive. This does not make for a happy marriage. Instead, if a spouse feels tempted to complain about something, he or she should see if there is a way to put a positive spin on it or a way to solve the problem instead of endlessly complaining about it. For example, if a wife is frustrated because her husband just flat-out hates mowing the lawn and never does it, maybe she could solve the problem by hiring a teenager who needs the money instead of constantly complaining. Or, she could offer to do it herself if her husband agrees to a trade: She mows the lawn and he washes the cars.

When Complaining Is Critical

Complaining can become personal if the complaining spouse is critical of the other. Such complaints can be seen as a personal attack, and they can lead to depression and self-esteem issues in the spouse that is on the receiving end of them. This hurts a marriage for two main reasons: The complaining spouse is focused on the bad rather than the good, and the other spouse likely feels as if he or she is being attacked. Instead, the focus should be on the problem, not on the character of the spouse. Instead of saying to his wife, "You are so lazy! Why don't you ever put your shoes away in the closet?" the husband could ask his wife if she would like to purchase a new shoe organizer to help with the issue, or perhaps go through the closet together and donate some of her shoes to the needy.

When Complaining Is Unattractive

Complaining can suck the fun right out of just about any event -- and it can even make the complainer look unattractive. Nothing is sexy about someone who finds fault with every little thing, even if some of the complaints are justified. Sure, the meeting was long, and the boss is a horrible leader, but a wife who complains about these things to her husband over what was supposed to be a nice dinner out will quickly kill the romance. Instead, she should find joy in the moment and save the complaints for later -- or never.

When Complaining Is Counterproductive

Complaining is often meant to draw attention to a problem in the hopes that a couple can work together to solve it, but often the opposite happens. One spouse may become defensive and refuse to even consider a solution. This sometimes happens when the complaining spouse complains to others outside a marriage. A spouse should never complain about his or her significant other to friends and family -- especially if the family members are the parents, according to MSN Living. If a wife complains about her husband to her in-laws, chances are they will defend their son, and suddenly you have a marriage divided and people taking sides. Complaining to others outside a marriage pulls a couple apart rather than bringing them together.

About the Author

I can write in a wide variety of styles, from academic to humorous (see links to my blog above).

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