Kindness Challenge Week 1 & "Complaint" vs. "Criticism"

In this week's video, we talk about how kindness doesn't have to be hugely sacrificial, nor does it have to present itself with great extravagance. We're sharing some of our own acts of kindness...and how we knew our partner would appreciate them. We're also talking about "complaint" vs. "criticism." You're right—we're not supposed to be complaining OR criticizing our spouse this month, but chances are even though we aren't saying things, we're probably still thinking them. Watch the video below and then hop down for some definitions and idea on how you can figure out if you're complaining or criticizing.

(Knot Project note about Gottman's book, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: We don't love the term complaining. Instead of complaining, as noted in the video, we use the term "feedback." Giving feedback to our spouse doesn't need to register in our heads as something like, "Oh, he's just complaining." That makes what our spouse is saying seem or feel less valid.)

Gottman's characteristics of complaint (or constructive feedback)

  • Focuses on specific behavior.
  • Has three parts: 1) Here's how I feel; 2) About a very specific situation; 3) Here's what I want/need/prefer

Gottman's characteristics of criticism

  • Global in scope.
  • Expresses feelings/opinions about the other's character or personality
  • Often contain the words "always" and/or "never."

Sometimes, we don't even realize what we're saying when we're in a (heated) disagreement. This period of 30 days is for obtaining from saying negative things, but when negative thoughts arise, we encourage you to write them down in a journal or notebook. After a few days, come back to the thoughts you scribed. Evaluate your words: Are you giving constructive feedback (voicing a legitimate complaint) or are you attacking the very character of your spouse? 

Don't worry if you realize you're criticizing—Gottman says this is a very common issue. But spend some time re-writing and re-framing what you would say so that you can begin to practice healthy communication.


Did you know The {K}not Project is on Pinterest? Here you can find articles and videos from our series (past and present). You can also find resources to help with addictions and prayer.

(Yes, it's still a work in progress, but, hey, what isn't??)

3 Ways to Steward Money Well (without being a control freak)

3 Ways to Steward Money Well (without being a control freak)

Organization, clean lines, matching baskets, tidy boxes—these things bring me great joy. 

Every paycheck, with a click of the "record pay" button in my budgeting software, the entire amount gets distributed across rows and rows of envelopes.

The dollars assume their positions. I know what I can spend and where. It's nice and orderly and the money obeys the boundaries I set for it.

But because it is the way life happens (two kids in braces at the same time???), my envelopes are hardly ever overflowing with money. In fact, it seems, more often than I would like, the needs are overflowing. And when the incoming needs outpace the outgoing amounts of money, my sense of orderliness and calm flies out the door and, in my anxiety, I invite in chaos.

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