Nurture vs Criticism in Relationships: Where Do You Stand?

Criticism in relationships. Is being nurturing a better way?

Criticism in relationships is common when one of us feels hurt by or dissatisfied with behavior from our loved one. Learn about how we can move from reflexive criticism to something that can help us feel closer with those precious to us.

Criticism in Relationships Is Often Automatic and Damaging

Criticism in relationships hurts

Every one of us has a choice on how we respond to life. Yes, we are not automatic, unthinking machines that just react without thinking, although most of us are automatic human machines sometimes in our life.

Usually these are the times when we create the most difficulty for our relationship, when we respond to criticism, or harsh words or something unkind without thinking.

I know I do this. Something has been said and I feel deeply and take offence. I usually blurt out the pain even before I realize I am doing it, so sometimes I am on automatic too. But I have been learning there are better ways for me to respond, and maybe there are better ways for you to respond too.

Criticism in Relationships Hurts, Since It Comes From Those Closest to Us


All of us feel better when we are nurtured. All of us feel better when we are told soft, tender things from our mate. All of us crave these moments and most of us want more of them.

Well, if we want these moments, what about our mate? Do you think they might want these moments too? That is what I have been working with lately. Even though I might see something as hurtful or critical, I am searching in my heart how to respond in a nurturing way.

Sounds like the opposite of what we should be doing, doesn’t it? But think about this for a minute. All of us have been criticized. And we know the sting of being blamed as well. It hurts. It feels like we have disappointed someone we care about, not been our best selves, or created something else that is not good enough.

Criticism in Relationships Can Damage How We See Ourselves and Live Our Lives

Criticism in relationships can erode our self image and make life harder.

Getting criticized or blamed has a lot to do with our self-image too. If we receive these behaviors a lot, we might even suffer from low self-esteem. We might start to think that we are not good enough or valued or important.

So criticism and blame can affect how we manage our life. So if we know this, why would we want to do this to someone we love? If we know how it feels to us, let’s do something different to stamp out the effects of feeling blamed.

Being Nurturing Instead of Criticizing Can Help You and Your Loved One Feel Better and Closer

Moving away from criticism in relationships, to a more nurturing approach, can help you feel closer.

And this is where nurturing comes in. What does it cost you to let something go and tell your partner you are there for them and love them? Would the world stop spinning? No, nothing would happen except you would feel better.

This is not an automatic behavior. We as humans react to hurts with hurt. But I am suggesting you think about how you can keep the peace and harmony in your relationship, by just doing something different.

Use your tender heart and carry a feather. Say something wonderful to your partner, and leave your bat in the closet where it belongs.

Get Help Reducing Criticism in Your Relationship

Read a Book About Relationships

'Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship.' A book by Linda Nusbaum.

Learn how you and your partner can communicate without resorting to as much criticism, by reading Linda’s book Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship. It might just help you communicate in a more nurturing and supportive way, helping the two of you feel happier and closer in your daily lives. Give it a read.

Get Couples Counseling

Come in for couples counseling. Couples counseling can help you and your loved one get the most out of your relationship. It'll equip you with coping strategies and tools for communication that can help you argue less and love more.

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