Wednesday, February 9, 2011
I've been enjoying Wedded Wednesdays over at The Candid Pastor's Wife for awhile, so I thought I'd join in the fun. Click over to her blog for some more awesome marriage posts.
Okay, so I have a major personality flaw - I don't take criticism well...at all.
My instant reaction is defensiveness, anger, and then embarrassment. I especially don't take criticism well from the one person who means the most to me on this earth - my husband.
Poor guy, that really leaves him in a hard spot. Even when he preempts his criticism with "Now don't take this the wrong way" or " Don't get upset but" - I still instantly get upset before he even says anything.
Mostly it's because I want him to love everything about me. I want him to be completely happy with me and think I'm better than college footballl!!! (Yes, I know I'm not...)
I don't like to admit to myself that I am not in fact perfect and do not have it all together all the time - let alone my husband! To know that my imperfectness is showing is like being naked in public.
So when he again had to point something out to me that needed a little, uh, improvement - I immediately tensed up. The excuses came flooding out. Then I played the blame game - "well I'm not perfect, but then again neither are YOU". Then I did the cold shoulder. Then I pouted. Yes, I'm quite mature.
And that was an improvement from my usual reaction!
But, in the end, I let the criticism sink in and hit my heart. Honestly, I agreed with it. So about, oh, six hours later I admitted that he may have a point and that I will try to do better at that, even though it was really his fault that I overreacted to that particular situation. Argh! Why can't I just hear it and say, yes. Yes, you are right. That was wrong of me and I will work on that. ??? What is so hard about admitting a mistake? That I am flawed. It's not like it's some big secret.
It's so important in marriage to be able to talk openly about issues and clear the air when we have disagreements. Mentally, I know this - yet emotionally, I can't handle this. It's frustrating to me. Later when I think back over the situation, I know his criticism is perfectly valid and it's something I need to work on. In fact, I'm glad he told me. But, in the moment, I just can't take it.
How do you handle criticism from those closest to you? Have you been able to handle it better over time? What helps you curb that defensiveness? Or am I alone on this one?