Proverbs 25:12 – “Like earrings of gold and an ornament of fine gold is a wise reprove to a listening ear.”
When Karen and I were first married, I was the apple of her eye … perfect in every way. But it didn’t take long for reality to set in; and she wanted to make some major changes in my life.
After living together for a little while … the rose colored glasses that saw a perfect spouse fall to the floor and shatter. You both begin to see some things you’d like to change in each other.
But be careful! You’re entering a mine field. Neither of you believe you have to make any changes; so giving anything that looks like a criticism to your spouse could start a “cold war” or even WW III.
So how do you share constructive criticism with your spouse in a loving way?
I’d like to suggest 5 steps to giving positive correction, or wise reproof to your spouse:
Step 1 – Check the attitude behind your criticism or reproof. Are you giving it as a “gift” to your spouse to help him or her become a better person? Or are you doing it out of displeasure or anger?
Step 2 – Affirm and build up your spouse before you share the critique. What are the positive things you’re seeing in his or her life? Then talk about the changes you’d like to see and close the time of correction with another positive and loving affirmation.
Step 3 – Make sure you address the problem and not the person; stay away from missile words like “you always” and “you never.” Attacking the person is nevergoing to work the way you want it to … so always attack the problem.
Step 4 – Work together on a blueprint, or plan, for how your spouse can improve. What does the intended outcome look like? Paint as specific a word picture as possible so both of you will know what it looks like, and when you’ve succeeded!
Step 5 – Pray together for each other and your plan of action.
If you follow these steps, you’ll be well on your way to being a wise reprover!!