Finding fault in a relationship is often a sign of another problem. Although many wish for one easy answer, there is no magic formula when it comes to solving problems and building a healthy marriage. The bottom line is that without strong communication, the relationship will suffer. What many spouses do not realize is that the communication efforts should be twofold. Take time to communicate in the relationship and time for individual reflection. When you feel good about you, it is easier to show up in the relationship as a secure, reflective and appropriately responsive partner who is less likely to find fault.
How to Stop Finding Fault
Stop making assumptions. Especially when feeling hurt, many people project their own thoughts and feelings onto the person causing the hurt feelings. Instead, ask your spouse or partner to sit down with you. Describe what you are feeling and ask for clarification. Most often your interpretation of the offending behavior will be off-base.
Look for the positive intention behind the behavior. Sometimes, even though intentions are good, the behavior or actions are not. It is easier to stop finding fault when you give your spouse or partner the benefit of the doubt. If you can't find it, ask.
Be honest with yourself about holding onto past resentments. Where resentment is allowed to fester, fault is almost sure to be found. Why? When you feel resentful it is impossible for the target of your resentment to get anything right.
Take a silent moment to ask yourself about the real source of your frustration. This step takes courage; you may find feelings you would prefer to remain hidden, such as jealousy or insecurity. Don't worry, both of these feelings are normal, but they must be managed. If you find they are the reason behind your fault-finding, keep the focus on you until you are ready to have an honest conversation about how your feelings impact your fault-finding.
Initiate a conversation with your spouse. Your primary intent will be to understand the feeling or motivation behind the behavior you find fault with. Avoid being defensive or angry. Instead, adopt the tone of an interested or curious listener. You may just learn something that transforms the way you relate to each other.
Determine if it is time to end the relationship. Sometimes, always finding fault is just a sign that the relationship is passing into a new phase. If divorce is on the horizon, avoid framing the transition of your relationship as a failure. This new phase does not erase the joy you shared, nor does the transition mean you won't be able to have new joys and experiences going forward.
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Barbara Gibson is a long time advocate for survivors of domestic violence. A graduate of Georgia State University, Gibson has written professionally for 20 years. Her hobbies include reading and running. She has completed more than 35 races including several half-marathons and a marathon.