Making It Right When I (Accidentally) Made Him Feel Like He Couldn’t Do Anything Right

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. She was so critical of her fiancé. She rolled her eyes, talked down to him, and I could see in his demeanor that he felt frustrated and defeated—like he couldn’t do anything right.

I went home that night and told my own fiancé that if I ever speak to him like that, to call me out on it immediately. That couple gave me a perfect example of what could happen if my own tendencies were to go unchecked.

In fact, I could think of a recent example when I reacted exactly like that woman. Bear with me as I explain.

In the past year my fiancé Josh has discovered a deep love of plants, flowers, and pretty much anything he can try to grow. But at some point, the apartment he lives in, and the one I will be living in soon, became overrun with plants. They were literally scattered all over the floor in various areas of the bedroom and living room because he had run out of spots to put them.

One day I came over after work and was so fed up with the disorder and chaos of the tropical jungle that is about to be my home. I made my disapproval very clear as I walked around trying to organize everything, huffing and puffing as I told him this had to change before I lived there.

And I realized how unfair I was being. It’s not my home yet, so it wasn’t my place to organize it how I wanted it. More to the point, I could have handled my frustration very differently. I went back to him to apologize for my behavior. I then calmly asked if there were ways we could display and organize his plants better for when I move in after we get married.

He listened to me and agreed that the plants had gotten out of hand. And the apartment is slowly starting to look more like a home now.

In the end, Josh was open to my support in organizing the plants, but how I originally handled it wasn’t fair or productive. I’m realizing that I can be more critical and condescending than I intend, making him feel like he can’t do anything right.

Watching that woman and her fiancé, I saw how Josh might feel in those moments when I let my type A tendencies get the best of me. It broke my heart when he finally addressed how my words and actions unintentionally hurt him, and it’s something I’ve consciously worked at ever since.

I don’t want to be that woman. I know my fiancé is kind, considerate, and capable. That’s why I’m marrying him. And I want my words and actions to always reflect that love and respect I have for him. 

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