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When is it OK to express your negative feelings?

One of the hardest questions we face as married men and women is “when to keep quiet and when to let it out?” Clearly we can’t talk about everything and we also can’t talk about nothing, so what is the right thing to do?

There are times when it is both necessary and helpful to express negative feelings of criticism or disappointment. The Torah teaches us that when we are upset with anyone we need to express our feelings, but when we do express, it must be done is such a way that is constructive and does not cause embarrassment and then only in private. When done correctly we are promised that there will be peace and harmony in the home.

The first step to doing this correctly is never to allow your negative emotions to carry you away and into a storm of yelling, name calling and accusations. Bite your lip, calm yourself and set a time a day or two later which both of you agree on. Often you won’t feel the need to talk about it by then, that is fine too.

If you do still have a need to express yourself, then start discussing the problem by giving each other the opportunity to be understood. First understand their perspective and feelings on the issue. When you both feel fully understood, then you can start to problem solve.

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