Do you blow up at your spouse? Do you whine or nag them? Learning how to gently correct your spouse can ease your marriage and make both of your lives so much more stress-free.
The corrector makes the rules. It is human tradition for parents to make rules and to enforce them. It is human tradition for people to enforce the laws which they have created to govern themselves. And these are precisely the reasons why you should never correct your spouse in public or in front of others. People do not mind being corrected, so much as they mind being usurped by someone who is their equal. Do not correct your spouse in public, for that sends both a public and a private announcement to everyone that you enforce the rules, and therefore you make the rules.
Non-emotional. Emotions bring a level of drama and heightened energy which cannot easily be undone. It does not matter which end of the spectrum you are working from. If you are a domineering jerk, then the emotions contributed are contempt, pride, narcissism, and belittlement. If you are a sniveling, apologetic doormat, then the emotions contributed are fear, submission, cowardice and servant-like qualities. Either way, your spouse will feel like a small mouse or like a barbarian. Whining, nagging and complaining bring emotions of discontentment, dissatisfaction, childishness, incompetency and immaturity.
What is the alternative? Before you correct your spouse, you need to separate yourself completely from your emotion, bitterness and resentment. This may actually make some problems disappear entirely. Often, words are left unspoken and resentment builds because the problem continues and you are left feeling out of control. After you have identified any personal issues which may be clouding your judgment, you must perform a step which often seems unnecessary. This step is to confirm what you believe is going on. It does not matter how sure you are of yourself, you must sit down with your spouse and ask them questions to make sure that their opinion, viewpoint or position is clearly defined. This will wipe out a whole new set of misunderstandings. Now you are ready to begin correction.
Never allow the subject to be about them, as much as you can make this happen. If the roof needs fixed, talk about home repairs and what you can do to help out or free up some time for them so that they can get the job done. If it is much more personal and a question of inappropriate flirting, then you must still excuse their behavior, assuming that they did not mean to hurt you. “Hey Jeff, I know you are always outgoing and charming to everyone around you, so you may not have realized how this affects me, but I thought your interaction with Kelly had a little too much flirting in it. Again, I know you are like that with everyone, so I know you did not mean to cause any trouble. I just wanted to make you aware of my perspective.”
Make sure that you are not coming across as accusative, but rather as informative and clear-headed. This will go a long way toward building a much less stressful relationship.