Criticism In Relationship: Psychological Effects, Examples, And How To Deal

Last Update on March 12, 2024 : Published on March 13, 2024

Criticism is one of the most toxic things one can have in a marriage or relationship. Even Gottman’s theory discussed that criticism in a marriage can be so damaging that it could lead to divorce. Criticism in a relationship or marriage takes place in the form of jokes, bullying, or shared laughter but slowly it becomes so toxic and excessive that it is counted as emotional abuse

Well, when it comes to marriages or relationships, love and respect should be exclusive instead of criticism, criticism in any form (be it little, humorous, sarcastic, or any other type) should be a big no! One of the greatest ways to deal with criticism is to end criticism in the beginning only but somehow, most of the couples end up being the victims of criticism.

Criticism generally begins by pointing out everything you do, for example, a lot of couples complain, “My partner points out everything I do wrong.” In this blog, we will be taking a deep look at criticism in relationships, psychological effects, examples, and how to avoid criticism in a relationship. So, let’s get started! 

Effects of Criticism on Marriage/Relationship

Constant criticism in a relationship can be destructive especially when the intentions are negative, humiliating, belittling, or sarcastic. Such negative patterns can create misunderstandings in the relationship.

Criticism can make you feel less worthy of all the love, put you in self-doubt, or impact your self-esteem directly. Excessive criticism might lead to destructive criticism which should be a big no in a relationship. It also might lead to nitpicking in relationships.

It’s also important to note that criticism in a marriage/relationship is considered as one of the four predictors of divorce, according to Gottman’s theory of relationship. Below listed are some of the effects of criticism: 

Examples of Criticism 

Examples of criticism in a relationship or marriage can be seen in various forms. For example: 

  • Insults may include name-calling
  • Constant pinpointing everything in a negatively descriptive language
  • Excessive usage of adjectives such as thoughtless, uncaring, or stupid
  • Judgmental passing of comments such as, “Do you even care about me?” 

Signs of Excessive Criticism 

Criticism in marriage or relationships is not only some harmful comments or statements but it’s the constant judgmental face that throws us into self-harm. Here are some signs of excessive criticism in a relationship: 

  • Belittling your partner’s qualities constantly
  • Frequent complaining 
  • Constant anger while listening to other partner’s problems 
  • Partner withdrawal 
  • Screaming or yelling 
  • Creation of obscene statements while discussing certain actions

How to Deal with Criticism in Marriage/Relationship? 

No relationship/marriage is perfect, however, together; we can make it successful, healthy, and understanding. Below listed ways will help you avoid or deal with criticism in a relationship effectively: 

1. Promote active listening mutually. 

Active listening is one of the effective ways to avoid criticism in a marriage or relationship. Whenever your partner passes criticism, stop them right there, and gently ask them why they are doing so. When they start expressing themselves, listen without interrupting, correcting, or arguing, let them express their emotions first, and then you can share your points. Follow the same rule mutually. 

2. Recognize differences and acknowledge them. 

If your partner has been treating you differently for the past weeks or months, ask them directly or try to recognize “What’s wrong”, sit together, discuss mindfully, and correct your issues mutually. Remember, the relationship becomes successful only when you two are ready to fix each other! 

3. Take ownership of your actions. 

In most cases, criticism takes place when the other partner repeats the same mistake again and again without acknowledging their issues. If that’s the case, correct your issues and communicate with your partner accurately so that they can also acknowledge their faults. 

4. Share your perspective mindfully.

When someone passes sarcastic comments continuously, it directly impacts our self-esteem, and self-worth and throws us into self-doubt! Share your issues with your partner and let them know that you’re not okay with such behavior and let’s just fix it together. 

5. Set healthy boundaries and expectations. 

Set limits, healthy boundaries, and realistic expectations when criticism arises in your relationship or marriage. Keep your mental health sane and let them know that you’re doing it all because you really want to take this relationship to the next level. 

6. Think about the issues related to criticism.

Let’s take a deep road to criticism… have you ever asked yourself what’s the connection between criticism and your relationship? Why is your partner making you feel low every time you want to do something for them? Is this healthy? Are you at fault? If not, is it okay to stay with someone who does not share the same values? Is it harming your mental health? Answer such questions honestly, and reflect accordingly. 

7. Take a look from both sides.

No relationship is perfect and sometimes it’s better to look from both sides and think about the criticism as feedback. If your partner is passing criticism in the form of feedback, try to take it constructively. 

8. State facts constructively.

After deep analysis, if you think that the criticism passed is incorrect and should be communicated, do it constructively. While speaking with your partner, state facts and let them know that you want to do things together and when criticism is passed constantly, it makes you feel demotivated. Herein, be honest with your partner and effectively communicate your issues. 

9. Take some ‘me-time.’

Handling criticism from partners can be very negative for mental health. Therefore, take some time off and avoid nagging. Instead, give yourself some time to navigate the situation, make the right decision, and avoid giving harsh reactions to your partner. Instead, do things that make you happy at the moment. 

10. Practice self-forgiveness.

In order to address the situation constructively, practice kindness and self-forgive your partner or yourself for the mistakes you both might have made. Treat each other with generosity and let bygones be bygones, focus on the present! 


Frequent criticism in a relationship impacts the relationship negatively. Not only this, but it also makes partners feel under attack and less worthy. A person criticized constantly may find criticism on a regular basis demoralizing and hurtful. Therefore, it’s important to stop it or avoid it before it starts impacting mental health and relationships.

Criticism should be treated as a deal breaker and must be avoided at all costs. Before criticism turns into abuse or lifetime trauma, learn to deal with it. In order to make your relationship successful and healthy or to learn how to avoid criticism in marriage/relationship, you can also connect with a professional couple’s therapist or counselor. 

To connect with a certified and experienced relationship counselor, click below: 

try Couples Therapy 

I hope this blog helps you understand how to deal with criticism in a relationship or marriage. Comment down and share your queries through the same. 

Do not forget to share this blog with other couple friends out there! 

For more such content, connect with us through all social media platforms. 

Thanks for reading!

About The Author

Aayushi Kapoor
Aayushi Kapoor

Aayushi is a Content Creator at Calm Sage. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Food Technology and a Master's Degree in Clinical Nutrition. Her constant interest in the improvement of mental health, nutrition, and overall wellness embarked upon her career as a “full-time educational writer.” She likes to make an asynchronous connection with her readers. Her mantra for living life is "What you seek is seeking you".

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