Many women feel like they are walking on eggshells around their husbands – afraid to say or do anything that might be misinterpreted as criticism.
While it’s important to be mindful of your partner’s feelings, you don’t have to tiptoe around him all the time.
In any relationship, it’s important for both partners to be able to openly and honestly communicate with each other.
Do you feel like your husband always takes everything as criticism; misinterpreting everything you say?
If so, you’re not alone.
A lot of women feel this way in their marriages, and it can be really frustrating.
In this blog post, we’ll explore why your husband takes everything as criticism and offer some tips for how to deal with it.
Why Your husband Takes Everything as Criticism
There are many reasons why your husband may have this habit of taking everything as criticism.
Studies have shown that people with this relational style tend to struggle in their relationships, so much so that it leads to depression and low self-esteem.
This is because when you constantly feel attacked, it can be draining and emotionally damaging over time.
However, sometimes the feelings of being rejected are rooted deeper in childhood experiences or family dynamics.
So, if thoughts or feelings about being criticized are seriously impacting your marriage, you should consider seeking out a marital therapist for help sorting them out.
But assuming these memories aren’t interfering with your relationship, here are some common reasons why husbands take things personally:
1) Survival Instinct
First, our brains are wired to be hypersensitive to criticism.
Our caveman ancestors needed to be hyper-vigilant about threats from others in order to survive, so we’re all hard-wired (whether male or female) to pay attention to negative feedback and interpret it as a sign of danger.
2) Gender roles
Men are traditionally taught that they should be in charge and make decisions.
So, when a woman points out something that isn’t working (even if she’s trying not to sound critical), this comes across as an attack on his role as a decision-maker.
For women, it can feel like no matter what she says or how she says it, she#s being critical.
3) Fear of Rejection
Some men grow up in homes where their mothers constantly rejected them.
This can lead to fear of rejection as an adult, and that fear can manifest itself as a constant desire to judge everything his wife does – just to be on the safe side.
In other words, he might automatically assume she’s going to turn him down or reject him so he judges her behavior ahead of time – just in case.
4) Fear of Abandonment
Some men have had strained relationships with a father who was not present for them emotionally – either because the dad worked too much or simply wasn’t available.
This can lead some men to feel like they’re always walking on eggshells around their wives – fearing that if they’re not careful she’ll leave them.
5) Need for Control
Sometimes, husbands feel like their wives are constantly judging them.
A husband might pick up on subtle cues that make him feel insecure – perhaps he came home late once and she didn’t look happy to see him, or maybe she hasn’t been very affectionate lately.
This can cause some men to think, “If I’m not under her control, then what will happen?”
Logic would dictate that if they’re not in control of the relationship, it could fall apart – so they take all criticism as a personal attack against them.
6) Pessimistic View of Marriage
Some men have a pessimistic view of marriage; they tend to assume things won’t go well all the time.
Instead of thinking, “This is going to be fun!” they think, “I hope this goes well.”
When their spouses are criticizing them or acting in ways that make them feel insecure, these men automatically interpret it as rejection or abandonment.
7) Conflicting Expectations
When women get married, many of us have certain dreams and expectations about what it will be like – especially when we’re young.
Unfortunately, sometimes these dreams don’t always come true.
Some women may not marry the prince charming they thought they would or their experience of married life might not look anything like what they have imagined.
This can lead some women to feel disappointed with their husbands because he’s failed to live up to their idealized version of marriage.
When a man knows this, he can often take it personally because he assumes that if his wife is disappointed in him, she doesn’t love him anymore.
Tips for Dealing With Husbands Who Take Everything as Criticism
1. Give the Benefit of the Doubt
If your husband is taking everything you say as criticism, ask yourself: “Is this really a personal attack against him?”
One of the best ways to deal with this is to try giving your husband the benefit of the doubt.
Try saying something like, “I’m sorry I made you feel bad” or “I didn’t mean to make you feel judged.”
Deep down, most men want their wives to view them positively and will appreciate this gesture.
2. Apologize for Criticizing Him When You Didn’t Mean To Be Offensive
There will be times when you accidentally say something that might hurt his feelings.
Maybe because it wasn’t communicated in a sensitive way or perhaps because it reminded him of an unpleasant experience from his past.
Let’s say he brought up an interesting article and you responded by saying, “Is that supposed to be a joke?”
If your husband takes offense to this statement, apologize for being so thoughtless – perhaps explaining what you meant to communicate.
3. Remember, It’s Not About You
Sometimes men equate their wives’ negative opinions of them with their own inadequacies.
In other words, when his wife thinks negatively about him, it can feel like a judgment on who he is as a man.
Try to remember that your husband isn’t thinking about things from your perspective.
He’s worried about what you’re thinking about him.
Whenever he gets defensive or reacts strongly to something you’ve said, don’t take it as a personal attack against you.
4. Don’t Force Him to Change
You might feel frustrated that your husband doesn’t do everything the way you want him to or respond to you the way you want him to.
However, if he’s comfortable with the status quo, it’s important for you to respect his right to live by his own standards.
You can ask him to consider your perspective – but don’t try to change him.
You can’t force an adult to change.
That’d be an effort in futility.
In fact, it’s even frustrating to try to change anyone.
Imagine someone trying to force you to change.
While being told what to do makes men feel insecure, trying to control them can result in a counter-productive reaction.
Hence, he tries even harder to do things his way and resists any attempt at changing him.
5. Take a step back and try to see things from your husband’s perspective
Your husband is probably unable to see things from your perspective.
You explain yourself over and over again, yet he misinterprets everything you say, taking it as criticism.
It may be difficult, but try to see things from his perspective.
How does he feel when you correct him?
Does he feel like a child being scolded by his mother?
Is there a point he’s trying to get across but you are not getting it?
perhaps there is an element of truth to what he is saying and he’s frustrated that you are not seeing this from his perspective.
I’m not suggesting that you never correct your husband but not considering his point of view can make him feel defensive and angry.
6. Don’t use “you”
For instance, if you say things like, “You forgot to do the dishes again.”
Your husband could say, “I did not forget, I was too busy”.
And this might turn into an argument and nothing would get resolved.
Instead, try saying something like, “Could you please do the dishes?”
Also, instead of saying, “Why don’t you pick up your socks?”
Try something like, “I’m wondering if we can make an agreement about where to keep our socks.”
It is a subtle difference but important.
Instead of telling him what to do, you are asking him if he’d like to do something (pick up his socks) along with you.
It’s more about working together instead of being critical.
Or maybe he leaves his dishes in the sink.
Instead of, “You didn’t rinse your breakfast dishes before putting them in the sink,” try “I noticed you left your cereal bowl in the sink this morning. I’d really appreciate it if you could rinse it before putting it in there because that helps me to clean up more easily.”
By making it a request rather than an accusation, it eliminates the possibility that he will feel attacked and respond defensively.
And if he doesn’t want to do them at the moment, he can say no without feeling guilty.
7. Use humor
Humor is helpful in navigating difficult conversations and making situations less tense.
This doesn’t work for every situation, but it’s good when you want to make a comment that might otherwise sound critical or judgmental.
I use this often and it works!
Not only in marriage but in other relationships as well.
8. Don’t Get Defensive
Another good idea is not to get defensive yourself when your husband picks up on some kind of criticism.
Instead of saying something like, “No, I wasn’t”, try empathizing with his feelings instead.
Even if you don’t agree that you were being critical, understanding how he feels will help him relax around you.
9. Find common ground and compromise on issues when possible
When you find yourself in a conversation with your husband and you’re trying to express how you feel, try taking responsibility for what might be causing the problem too.
This helps him see that you’re not just making things about how he’s always wrong and that you also take some of the blame.
10. Focus On What You Want Instead Of What You Don’t Want
Think about your goals rather than your man’s shortcomings.
The universal law of attraction works both ways: if you want something, such as more attention from your husband, focus on wanting it instead of focusing on why it might be absent.
Stop thinking about what he isn’t doing and start thinking about what you want from him.
Approach the situation with a positive mindset instead of a negative one.
11. Take Time Out If You Need to
Some relationships are so emotionally fraught that even the slightest bit of disagreement can quickly escalate into an argument where one spouse feels accused or inferior.
In these cases, it’s best for both spouses to take time out when they feel emotional so they have a chance to calm down before trying to talk things out again.
10. Try couple counseling
If the two of you are constantly butting heads or if your husband is not willing to let go of this perspective, try couple counseling.
A couples therapist will help you gain a deeper understanding of your relationship dynamics, learn how to provide honest and unbiased feedback about your feelings, and understand patterns of behavior from both of you in heated situations. Going to therapy will create a safe space for both of you to learn coping skills and ultimately improve your relationship.
A marriage counselor might be able to help resolve some of these issues and give you new ideas on how to communicate better with your spouse.