We found some baby birds in our yard last week. Really new baby birds. They looked like they’d just popped out of their shells. No feathers. They were lying on the ground waiting to be something’s dinner.
We could see the nest in the tree. Undisturbed.
“What kind of self-respecting mother bird would throw her babies out of the nest?” I thought. They didn’t even have feathers yet.
What a creep of a mom. I was really disgusted with her.
We took them into the house, warmed them, fed them, and took them to an animal shelter the next morning.
I asked the lady at the shelter why a momma bird would throw her babies out like that?
The shelter lady said she most likely didn’t. She said they’d probably fallen out during the storms we’d had last week.
And birds–unlike mammals–she explained, have no way to pick up their babies and put them back in the nest. They don’t have hands.
Well … that’s different.
Then I felt kind of bad. I acted all critical of that momma bird without even thinking about what might’ve happened. I didn’t have the whole story. I didn’t give her the benefit of the doubt.
Even criminals get a trial.
I felt bad. I left a donation at the shelter.
I know, I know. It’s a bird.
Here’s why I felt bad.
The momma bird incident made me think about how quickly I sometimes bash my husband … without having all the facts.
I treat him like I treated that momma bird.
Am I alone in this?
Do you ever judge your husband without all the facts?
Do you chastise him for coming home late or for not taking out the trash or for loading the dishwasher the wrong way?
Do you make snide comments without knowing his intentions? When he messes up, do you just tell him like it is?
Do you think you’re doing him a favor by being honest?
Being judgmental is critical. And criticism is like poison to a marriage. When you criticize your husband, you’re basically telling him he’s defective.
You’ll shut down intimacy fast.
No one likes to be criticized. It’s hurtful and demoralizing.
Do you ever judge or criticize your husband and call it “constructive feedback?”
Sometimes critical people delude themselves into thinking they’re being helpful by giving “feedback.”
But they’re not.
There’s a difference in criticism and feedback.
- Feedback builds up. Criticism tears down.
- Feedback looks to the future. Criticism focuses on the past.
- Feedback encourages. Criticism discourages.
Criticism belittles and suggests there’s only one right way to do things: yours.
How do you distinguish feedback from criticism?
- Focus on improvement. Instead of, “Why can’t you remember to pay the bills?” try “Hey, how can I help with the bills?”
- Encourage change while building confidence. Instead of “You’re so stupid. You’re the reason we’re in this mess” try “We can work through this together.”
The best way to stop criticizing is to be grateful.
Make a list of all the things about your husband you’re thankful for
I hate to admit it, but too many times I’ve kicked my husband out of the nest without an explanation.
What would our marriages look like if we took the time to nurse them like I nursed those baby birds?
Instead of criticizing and focusing on our husband’s flaws, let’s try to focus on being grateful and loving them instead.
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Known as the Not So Excellent Wife, Sheila Qualls shares eye-opening revelations that inspire wives to thrive in relationships and in life.
After 32 years of marriage, she knows what it’s like to have a happy marriage and she knows what it’s like to have a hard one. Five years into her marriage and on the brink of divorce, she learned the secret to turning her man into a loving husband.
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