Want to know my guide for criticism? If I want to criticize, I don’t. If I have carefully thought the situation over and really don’t want to deliver the criticism but feel the Holy Spirit guiding me to criticize, then I do. And remember, as Debby often tells me, “Timing is everything.” (I’m never altogether sure what she means by that, but I hope I’m learning.)
An example of criticism in our marriage involved Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS). When I was a younger man, I tracked the first day of Debby’s period and the one week prior to the onset of PMS in my Day-Timer calendar. I used a little red frowny face for the period and a black one for PMS.
It was a good reminder for me when I got home from work and the feces hit the fan. I’d remember, This is a chemical reaction that isn’t necessarily my fault…unless it was. Debby rarely made excuses and never apologized, but one time she said, “Do you think I like being this way?”
When PMS was intense for Debby, sex was particularly annoying to her. I often acted the jerk and pushed for sex anyway. Looking back, though, sex during these times wasn’t really much good for either of us. One of the advantages of age is that sex drives aren’t quite as intense. The ability to wait a day or two makes our whole relationship, including the sex, better.
Some women feel as though they are out of control when they experience PMS. That tends to present itself as feelings of anger, peevishness, and resentment. The wise man plans and executes a strategy to support his spouse during this time. He decides not to criticize. It’s a great time to practice the discipline of not taking things personally. Besides, we both know you probably deserve much worse.