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We tend to be tough on others and easy on ourselves. Few things are more discouraging to people that living with someone who can’t be pleased.

A speaker at a marriage seminar told this story on himself. He and the family were gathered in the den to watch a football game. His wife asked the kids, "Does anyone want a snack?" She took their orders and went to the kitchen to prepare them. The thing that bugged the husband was that she hadn’t taken his order. In a few minutes she came back with sandwiches and drinks for the kids and one for herself.

The more he thought about it the more annoyed he became. So finally he turned to her and asked, "Why didn’t you even offer to prepare a snack for me?" She said, "Because I didn’t feel like being criticized."

"What do you mean?" he asked. She said, "Every time I make a sandwich for you something isn’t right. The bread is stale, the lettuce isn’t crisp, there’s too much of this or too little of that. I just didn’t feel like being criticized tonight."

Here was a guy who was in search of the perfect sandwich, and there is nothing wrong with that. The problem came that in the process of that search he had alienated his wife. Every encounter she had with him tore her down instead of building her up. He didn’t lift her, he lowered her.

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