During our four years in marketing, Keelie and I have learned that people are leaning more and more on personal ratings to determine purchases. Now, a 5-star review on an Amazon product is helpful, but a big thumbs up from a friend will basically seal the deal. That’s because people trust the opinions of their friends, family, and others they respect more than they do an anonymous reviewer.
What does this have to do with marriage?
If we want honest input about a product or service, we go to the people we love and trust. Do we do this in our marriages? Do you ever seek out the feedback of your spouse?
Don’t neglect the person actually getting the “service or product.” They’re the best source of real information if they’re brave enough to give it. If you’re considering this, here are some ideas for you to keep in mind.
Solicit a review
It’s important in business to ask for honest feedback. “Rate us on Yelp!” “Review us on Google!” You want to know what you’re doing well and what you need to improve.
The same is true of marriage. Every now and then, we have to be vulnerable enough to ask our spouse how things are going. Now obviously I’m not saying that you need to ask your spouse to give you a rating out of 5 possible stars. But you can ask questions asking for honest input.
- How do you think things are between us?
- Are you happy with our marriage?
You can also be specific:
- Do we talk enough?
- Are you happy with our sex life?
- What’s your favorite part of our date nights?
The important thing is to get a conversation started. It may be awkward at first, and that’s ok. If you make this a regular part of your marriage, it will become more and more natural. It can also head off problems before they get too big.
Believe the review
If your spouse gives you negative feedback, you have to listen to it and accept it. Their feelings are valid. If you deny them and just say, “You’re wrong!” then they’ll be less likely to be truthful in the future.
The flip-side of this is that you have to believe the good feedback too. If your spouse says you’re beautiful, believe them! If they say you’re good at this or that, say thank you! Don’t ever downplay a compliment, especially from your spouse.
Whether it’s good or bad feedback, be ready to accept it graciously.
Make changes according to the review
You not only have to believe what your spouse says, you need to act on it. Asking their opinion and then doing nothing about it is pointless. Follow through is key. If the feedback is negative, address it. If it’s good, celebrate! Oh, and make sure to keep doing whatever it is they complimented you on.
Not everything your spouse says is going to be 100% accurate. Their comments may be completely off base. If so, you can gently show them what they’re missing. If they’re right, then you have to make the change. Either way, acknowledge the feedback as valid. You have to start by asking yourself honestly, “Is this criticism accurate? How do I need to change?”
Advice to the reviewing spouse
If your spouse comes to you looking for your input, rejoice! Be glad they are that interested in a healthy marriage. But also, remember they are really putting themselves in a vulnerable position. Respond accordingly.
Be gentle and kind. If you have something negative to so, do it gently. Don’t take the opportunity to chew them out. They’ve come to you in good faith. Reciprocate that.
Be truthful, in love. If they want honesty, give it to them! Don’t hold back to spare their feelings or avoid a fight. This is your chance to broach a hard topic. Take it! However, do it with love. Remember, be gentle and kind.
Be willing to change your review if you’re wrong about it. If you point something out and then realize that you were wrong, let it be known. You may discover during the conversation that your facts were wrong. Maybe you misjudged their motives. Whatever it is that makes you see that you were wrong, fess up to it.
One of our big themes here at LHA is communication. If we aren’t talking, we aren’t growing. Be courageous and proactive enough to get vulnerable with your spouse. Seek an honest review of the relationship. Make improvements where necessary.