I am just convinced that some people think that walking out their marriage with a critical, negative bent toward their spouse is actually making their marriage better. If their spouse would just sweep the floor this way, do the laundry like they were told, shop at the other store or listen to their unsolicited instructions on doing life more intensely, their lives together would be filled with bliss. They can recount 100 things their partner does wrong and needs to correct and cannot verbalize 10 things their partner does that was good. Somehow, this is supposed to create a loving atmosphere at home? Not even close.
What causes people to be so negative; that encourages them to use their perceived “God given gift” of criticism; and to follow their criticism with control? It does seem that criticism attaches itself to control at the hip. Let me suggest a few possibilities. First, they believe that they know how to run the universe better than anyone else. Their way of doings things is best and when someone suggests or does something different, it is met with resistance. They really do believe they know better than anyone else. It is not a matter of a preference. It is a matter of the right or wrong way of doing things and they know what is right or wrong.
I remember a man who was so frustrated with his wife because she would never make enough vegetable soup so that they could freeze the left overs. He would let her know in no uncertain terms his disgust with this pattern of hers. “I know,” I said. “If she would just do life your way it would all be better.” He agreed and then he realized that I was being sarcastic. He did finally get the point but not until his wife quit making the soup altogether.
Second, they are filled with anxiety because they believe that if it is not done their way, the world will come to an end. The mountains will crumple, the seas will flood, and the sky will fall. They have figured that the way they do things are somehow keeping the universe in balance. Any disturbance of this balance will be catastrophic.
Third, not only do they know how to run the universe, but they are responsible for keeping it going in a positive direction. They fear being out of control and failing at their job of being Master of the Universe. That is why they walk around with their clipboard and stopwatch making sure every little detail meets their specifications. They cannot fall asleep on the job so they have to maintain their hyper-vigilance.
Last, people become hyper critical of their spouses because they really are afraid of letting them get too close. Maybe they are afraid of intimacy so they throw up quills to keep people away. I am not sure why they decided to get married but I do see them begin to unconsciously push their spouse away with their spirit of discontent. They say they want to be close to their spouse but their actions speak louder than their words.
So, for all those people who have control and critical issues… give it a rest. Control is an illusion anyway. Take it from a recovering controller. When you leave this earth, it will still spin without you. So just learn to relax a little and enjoy the ride. You will be a lot more pleasant to be around. That will probably have more of a positive influence on the atmosphere of your marriage than all your attempts to control the universe.