Even if you're not the most positive person, listening to a husband who constantly complains and criticizes everyone around him can be an enormous drain on your mental and emotional energy. At times, the exhaustion you might feel from living with a "glass half empty" person can make you just want to give up on the relationship altogether. Luckily, there's good news: walking away isn't your only solution. There are several practical approaches to dealing with a pessimistic husband that will leave you both feeling more upbeat.
Don't Take It Personally
A negative husband will rarely take all of his pessimistic energy out on his spouse, while showing a sunny face to the rest of the world. If he criticizes you or complains about things in your life together, try not to take it personally. Remember, he does this to everyone, writes Psych Central contributor Donna M. White, LPCI, CACP. Don't allow your husband to bring you down or cause you to feel badly about yourself. Remembering that no one can make you feel something will help to lighten the stressful burden of living with a pessimistic husband.
Find The Root Of His Negativity
When figuring out the best approach to help your negative husband lighten up, examining the possible causes of his pessimism is a good place to start. Constant negativity generally stems from one of three fears, explains Journal of Consumer Psychology associate editor Raj Raghunathan, Ph.D., in an article for Psychology Today. These are fear of disrespect, of not being loved and that something bad will happen. Once you understand which fear is eating away at your husband, writes Raghunathan, you'll be better equipped to treat him with compassion and to deal with him in a mature, rather than passive, manner.
Confront Your Husband's Negativity
It's important you make your husband aware of how you feel. On her website, psychotherapist Debra Holland suggests sitting down with your husband and being direct with him about how unhappy his pessimism is making you. Follow this admission by telling him that not only will you no longer tolerate his constant negativity, but that you'll be instituting some changes in your own behavior, as well. Holland recommends implementing a system in which you refuse to reward his complaints and criticism. This involves ignoring his negative comments and refusing to do something for him if he complains about the result. Be consistent with your tough love until his behavior changes for the better.
Try Some Positive Activities
Try increasing the positivity in your relationship by incorporating some fun activities focusing on eliminating negative energy into your marriage. In an article for hitchedmag.com, motivational speaker and author of Be Nice (Or Else!) Winn Claybaugh suggests creating a "Caught Ya!" board. Whenever your husband does something nice, write him a little thank you note (and have him do the same for you). Claybaugh also recommends volunteering at a charity together, and trying to increase the laughter in your marriage. Think of fun activities that would make you and your husband happy, and ask him to get on board with you.
A New York native, Carrie Stemke is an avid writer, editor and traveler whose work has covered many different topics. She has had a lifelong fascination with and love of psychology, and hold's a bachelor's degree in the subject. Her psychology research articles have been published in Personality and Individual Differences and in Modern Psychological Studies.
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