by Bob and Yvonne Turnbull
the person, whether single or married, male or female, young or
old, who likes to receive criticism, but it's nonetheless necessary to
receive in order for us to address certain areas of our lives that may
need to be changed.
In our family we have given each other
permission to bring up things that are, yes, helpful to us, but also
things that we believe are hurtful in our relationship. But along
with that permission we are both very careful in the 'way' we give
criticism. These are the three guidelines we use.
it's done in private. That also means you don't tell anybody
else before you approach the one you want to talk to. To do so
opens the door for gossip to start running amuck. Find a place
away from the interruptions. The timing of when you bring this up
is important. If either person is tired, stressed, ticked-off or
hungry, well, guess what? That's right, that causes anyone to not
be a tuned-in listener.
CHECK YOUR MOTIVE
take pleasure in giving criticism, better hold your tongue.
All of us need to be prayed up prior to talking to the person.
Ask, "God, is this something I'm supposed to bring up or is this
something You are going to handle apart from me?" Yvonne used to
feel that when she saw something in Bob that 'warranted her criticism'
that she was supposed to immediately give it. But as she started
to check her motives by talking to the Lord first, oftentimes she had a
strong leading that there were times she was to "let it go" and watch
God take care of the situation in His perfect way and in His perfect
Thankfully the Lord helps us to look at our
motives, helping us to ask ourselves, "Am I bringing this up just so I
can prove the other person is wrong and that I'm right, or am I doing
this to leave the person better than they were before?" The
latter is the motive God wants for us.
In 1 Thess 2:3 it says, "For the appeal we make
does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to
Keep two things in mind. First, it is always
important to earn the right to be heard. Secondly, have you
successfully done what you are accusing the other person of failing to
CHECK YOUR METHOD
you choose and how you say them is important. Choose your
words carefully. Emotionally charged words like the classic, "You
always" and "You never" often overstate the facts.
It's best to start out your conversation by informing
the person how their behavior affects you by using the "I"
message. A bad example would be, "You never take me out to
dinner. I don't think you really care about me anymore, you cheap
klutz." Unfortunately by the time the last few venomous words
spew out the ears have tuned out the talker. The "I" message
would work like this: "I appreciate how good a job you do with our
budget, but I have missed not being able to go out for dinner once in a
while. I enjoy getting to spend time with you alone. Can we
do something about this?" By phrasing it this way the behavior
not the person receives the criticism.
When you are explaining what the problem is offer
examples so they will better understand what you mean, as well as offer
some alternatives. A personal self-help would be for you to go
over the scenario in your mind or even write everything down before you
speak it. At the end of the conversation always end with an
encouragement - a smile - and a "Thanks."
As Goethe, a German poet, once wrote:
"Correction does much, but encouragement does more. Encouragement
after censure is as the sun after a shower."
PO Box 650518
Potomac Falls, VA 20165