marriage counselor cary nc

Can Complaining Keep Your Relationship Together?


Well, this might be coming as a shock to you, but the answer is Yes. And yes, you read that right, couples who regularly complain tend to last longer in a relationship.

Now, in this article I’m going to break this down into pieces, so much that you’ll be smiling at the end.

Indeed, creating a place called home, sharing the day’s activities, and planning a future together can make a couple’s life rich and fantastic, but at the same time you know a lot of care and attention goes into building a relationship that’ll last.

marriage counselor cary nc

Recent statistics about relationships and marriages can be such a turn off that you find yourself wondering if it’s really worth it. Only about one in three marriages remain healthy and satisfying. Including couples who split, but do not officially divorce, over half of all US marriages end up in a break up.

With this, is there hope for a happy, healthy relationship?

What really makes a relationship tick and how do I make mine better…

Well, for a start – you must understand that building a healthy relationship is something every successful couple must learn. It requires some trial and error as well as trial and success processes and is an outcome of careful observation and hard work.

Saying that couples who complains to one another, about each other are less likely to split up, is just another way to let you know that the more you vent about the things that hurt you, the better chances that you’ll last longer together in that relationship. So you apparently don’t need to suffer in silence.

A whole lot of people think politeness and holding on to those little things are necessary for a happy relationship, but that’s really far from the truth as those little things can actually build up to be what you end up blowing up about. It’s clear you don’t have to hold your tongue to keep you and your significant other happy.

Okay – the fact is everyone thinks a really high threshold of negativity, where you just let things slide and let your spouse be themselves would make a relationship successful but that’s where they get it all wrong.

Successful couples are mostly those who have a really low negativity threshold. When things bother them, they speak up immediately and don’t wait till small things spill out of control.

Let me tell you what complaining does; It simply gives couples a chance to fix their problems as they arise, instead of keeping calm and enduring quiet frustrations.

Go ahead and speak the truth in the spirit of love!

Still in doubt? Well, I will make all this crystal clear in a jiffy

Now, it’s obvious we all want to be among the few successful relationships around, and to do this, we have to bear these questions in mind:

  • Do you treat your partner as a friend you turn to (rather than a foe)?
  • Do you find yourself looking for positive words, actions and intentions, from your partner and do you also show you see them?
  • Have you been generous with your kindness and do you show respect toward your partner
  • Lastly, do you bring up issues gently, in order to invite openness?

If you do all these, then you’re on for a long ride in your relationship.

According to studies of happy couples, it was resolved that the way to happiness in a relationship that is possible is:

Be yourself and be honest with your partner and hope you grow together rather than trying to control one another or be versions of yourself because you’re afraid you’ll lose the other person.

Yes, I don’t believe in “one size fit all” and although there are lots of tips that get thrown around these days, you must understand that every relationship is unique and the smartest thing to do is definitely not to try them all, but there are obviously some tips you find that are ubiquitous.

Like communication! No matter how generic it sounds, having a healthy relationship really boils down to it and when I say communication, I don’t just mean “oh we talk!” but one that involves listening and honesty. Forget about being right, as arguing in a relationship obviously means you’re honest – In fact for me, a relationship without any form of argument is most likely not an honest one.

I don’t really know about throwing things, bringing up already resolved issues, fueling old wounds and calling names, but I think you have to learn and understand that there are healthy ways to argue. Which brings us back to how complaining can somehow help you and your partner get even more closer.

Oftentimes, people mistake criticism with complaints, criticism is actually what kills passion, love and closeness in a relationship.

Every relationship needs and values words of affirmation, admiration and appreciation. Criticism is the direct opposite of these things, and at the end of the day you’ll likely want to distance yourself, seek attention outside, or even dread seeing that person.

From all I’ve said so far and to be realistic about these things you’ll agree with me that you will always have some complaints about a person you live with. But you must bear in mind that there’s a HUGE difference between a criticism and a complaint.

What’s the difference? It’s simply in how much damage it does to the relationship and the person.

As a matter of fact, complaining focuses on a specific behavior or event. It does not attack the person’s character.

Now, this is my example:

“I am really annoyed that you didn’t clear up the bedroom after you last night. Just last week we agreed we would do it after ourselves.  Could you please do it now?”

I am now going to break this into the three parts of an essential complaint which are:

  1. Stating how you feel – “Annoyed”
  2. State the specific situation, action or inaction – “Clear up the bedroom”
  3. State what you need (want, prefer) your partner to do instead – “Could you do it now?”

Criticism being the total opposite of this is global and expresses negative feelings, opinions and judgements about the other’s personality, intent or character.

Here’s an example:

“Why are you always so forgetful? You never get anything right and I hate having to clear up after you all the time. You just don’t care.”

From this example a judgment is made “that the partner doesn’t care.” Another thing is the use of “always” – this is a form of criticism instead of a specific one-off complaint, also the use of the word never.

Lastly, that statement no matter how well put can automatically turn any form of complaint into criticism.

Now you know the difference, if you heard echoes of yourself there, then it’s time to change from criticism to complaints and benefit your marriage and relationship. Yes, they sometimes do slip out in the heat of an argument but always curtail yourself.

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