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Monday, July 21, 2014

Pluck Out the Critical Eye

Pastor James MacDonald recently talked about "Five Logs on the Negativity Fire" on his wonderful show Walk in the World.

These are:

  1. Critical Eye
  2. Wrong Expectations
  3. Negative Friends
  4. Unresolved Hurt
  5. Bad Time Management
Dealing with these has the clear potential to help you live a more positive life, and sharpening them down to apply them to marriage issues has tremendous potential to improve your marriage - immediately.

We'll look at these one at a time, for the next five Wednesdays.

Critical Eye is something most couples are familiar with. When we're in courtship, and newly married, our love can do no wrong, but as time passes, we see the flaws. Sometimes it ends up that all we see are the flaws.

It's pretty easy to stop Critical Eye in its tracks. Stop being critical! When you're tempted to criticize, hold your tongue.

You might ask, "aren't we supposed to chastise and correct?" Sure, if you see gross faults, like blasphemy. But constantly reminding your mate that he or she didn't close the lid on the shampoo bottle isn't in that league.It's petty, but it gives an excuse to stick the needle in.

And we do look for excuses, so much of the time, to deliver a 'zinger' in the form of a criticism which we see as a 'correction'.

But when we stop, and reverse the process - looking for excuses to praise - we fall into the habit of kind and uplifting words.

"As a man speaketh, so is he/" Criticize, and you'll become critical. Praise, and you'll become an encourager. Which do you want to be?

Another excuse that we commonly use - and I've by no means exempt - is tit for tat.

"She criticized me, so I'm going to find something to criticize right back."

Sounds stupid, said like that? It should, because it is.

We don't have access to our mate's mind. We can't feel what he or she is feeling. The criticism that stings, coming out of the blue, may well be the venting pressure from a really bad day at work, or of physical discomfort.

We simply don't know, and we are obliged by our vows, and by Scripture, to forbear to respond in kind.

We can't control what our spouse does. We can control what we do.

And self-control is the royal road to a positive life.

This post is linked to Wedded Wednesday, a compendium of really cool posts on marriage. If you click on the logo below, you'll be taken to www.messymarriage.com, which is the springboard to a wealth of information.


  1. LOL! I love the humor with which you address this very serious issue, Andrew!

    Yes, criticism is a very bad habit to get into. And, yes, I tend to be most critical when I feel I'm being criticized. It doesn't make much sense, but there it is.

    And you're right, the best weapon against our own critical spirit is thanksgiving. When we start counting our blessings and being thankful for God blessings and our spouse's strengths, the criticalness tends to naturally fall away.

    Thansk for sharing!

    1. Joe, thanks for stopping by!

      Sometimes being human doesn't make much sense. I wonder if sometimes God doesn't feel like He's herding cats.

  2. It's so easy to have a critical eye and not realize it, but ironically easy to spot when others have it. :( Thanks for reminding us to stay alert to our words. They matter! Self-control definitely is a royal road to a positive life.

    1. Really good point, Lisa - about seeing the speck in our spouse's eye, so to speak!

  3. Andrew, I'm really loving your posts on marriage. You keep me on the straight and narrow.

  4. Shelli, you made my day. Thank you so much!