In everyday life, criticism poses a challenge for most people. Everybody is afraid of hurting another in the name of criticizing or confronting them about an issue.
But when the dust has settled, we blame ourselves yet confronting a loved one can save a relationship than taking oblivious actions.
My good friends Herman and Joan met in Form 3 in high school. They became good friends and their relationship grew deeper every other day but it had a twist during the long vacation.
They developed intimate feelings for each other and decided to become lovers. For the last 3 years, Herman and Joan have been inseparable.
“Almost every body, our friends and families knew we would get married to each other one day. In fact I was also beginning to imagine our wedding day soon after Campus” said Herman.
However, as I write this the Herman and Joan pair is no more! It was Herman who broke the news to me when we “bumped” into each other at a shopping mall in Kampala a few days ago. I could not believe my ears. Apparently it was Joan who called off the relationship.
“When Joan went to the university, she joined a clique of girls .She became so close to these girls and wanted to spend most of the time with them,” said Herman.
“Suprisingly, it was only Joan who was in a serious relationship with a boyfriend, something that made me feel insecure about my girlfriend’s relationship with her friends. They kept inviting Joan to come alone for outings and for a long time I didn’t really consider it to be a big deal.”
But my friends kept telling me to discourage my girlfriend from hanging out with her friends, because they knew them as notorious girls. My friends said Joan’s friends had Sugar Daddies for boyfriends and that she could get influenced.
I felt bad about it but decided to remain silent and calm. I desperately convinced myself that Joan would never do such a thing. But Joan left me for a Sugar Daddy,” he lamented.
“Joan left me without a word, something that made me feel devastated. I never wanted to hurt her, so I always kept quite most of the time even when I felt uncomfortable with her behaviour after she had joined that clique of girls at Campus. For all this time, I was afraid of telling her that I didn’t like her friends because I thought it would hurt her. Joan has completely refused to talk to me and I have given up,” said the heartbroken Herman.
What a sad story! One thing I have miserably failed to understand about love relationships is this: How two people truly in love can fail to communicate to each other about their fears, worries and hopes. Perhaps somebody out there will help me out on this.
According to Psychologist, M. Scott Peck, the author of The Road Less Travelled, loving spouses must repeatedly confront each other if they are to share a meaningful, mature and strong relationship.
“No marriage can be judged truly successful unless husband and wife are each other’s best critics,” he advises. The same holds true for any intimate relationship.
Apparently a mutual loving confrontation is a significant part of all successful and meaningful human relationship. Without it, the relationship is either unsuccessful or shallow.
If anybody is in love, they must concern themselves with the art of confrontation or positive criticism in the most effective way.
Confronting a beloved one is of great value if done in the appropriate way. It can save a relationship if done in the right way, at the right time and in the right place.
Surely you are not going to confront your beloved at the table or after a long day at work, unless one of your nuts has been let loose in your head.
If he loves smoking a cigarette like a cat loves milk, do not confront him on a Monday evening and say, “stop smoking, I hate it!” You may not like a “Shut up!” for an answer.
If we want to be heard, we must speak in a language that a listener can understand and on a level at which the listener is capable of operating. The way you confront your partner equally matters.
They are two ways to confront or criticize another; instinctively or spontaneously. One party has to be certain that the other is right or with a belief that one will arrive at it after a thorough self examination. Apparently the first way which is instinctive is the way of arrogance quite common in today’s affairs.
“I am right, you are wrong” statements that reap sour grapes. Confronting anybody in this manner is usually unsuccessful producing more resentment than a positive change in a person.
On the other hand, the spontaneous way (with a belief that one is probably right) is the way of humility which is not common but ideal specifically when confronting a beloved.
It is more likely to be successful because it is a genuine extension of oneself. As a matter of fact, for the truly loving person, the act of criticism or confrontation does not come easily.
“To fail to confront when confrontation is required for spiritual growth represents a failure to love equally as much does thoughtless criticism on condemnation and other forms of active deprivation of caring” says Psychologist M. Scott Peck.
Genuine love recognizes and respects the unique individuality and separate identity of the other person. If you truly love somebody, valuing the uniqueness of your beloved means, even as you confront them, you will not pass on judgment or accuse them.
If we are to love, we must extend ourselves to adjust our communication to the capacities of our beloved. To error is human.