Think in terms of a “bank account”
You can save or withdraw money from your bank account, and similarly, you have the power to save or use word choice depending on the situation with your partner. “Nobody likes receiving criticism, and it can especially hurt when it comes from someone you love and want to admire you. If you feel you need to express a few critical words, think of your relationship like a bank account,” explains matchmaker, relationship expert, and rabbi, Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Bregman. (Here’s how to accept criticism the right way.) That means, save your criticism and deposit your compliments. “It’s essential that there be far more deposits (in the form of praise, kindness, expressions of approval) than withdrawals (in the form of criticism), lest your relationship account go into the red. If the amount you praise and admire your S.O. far exceeds the amount you criticize, when the time arises to express any disapproval, it runs a much higher chance of being received and accepted,” Bregman shares.
Don’t get defensive
Of course, you don’t need to immediately take blame or apologize if you weren’t in the wrong, but there’s a difference between seeking the truth, or rather both sides to an argument, versus automatically getting defensive. “Successful couples are deeply committed to their shared future and crafting an incredible life together. To me, this is the ultimate ‘truth’ of any given dispute between people who love each other,” says Bregman. So, it’s vital that “when an argument arises, each party adopt the posture of ‘what can we do to move our shared life forward?’ instead of becoming petty and investing energy into showing why their point of view is correct, and why the other person is wrong,” explains Bregman.