You’ve been together – oh, it seems like forever. Anywhere from six months to umpteen years. And somewhere along the line you’ve developed the Evil Eye.

You know the one. That critical look you cast on your Sweetheart, that has little sweet in it and even less heart, the look that says “How can you just sit there on the couch when I’m running myself ragged in three different directions at once?” “Can’t you brown-bag it like everyone else instead of wasting money on having to buy lunch?” “You’re a grown man, why do I have to tell you ten times to take out the trash before you grudgingly do it,” and the all time favorite “You’re wearing that?!”

And so on. At first, you just think the thoughts engendered by your Evil Eye. But gradually, they seep out, and you speak them. Over and over again, figuring that once alerted to his uncooperative/unattractive/undesirable behavior, your Honey will change his ways.

Instead, Honey retreats increasingly to the couch, the Internet, or work. He talks less and less to you, conversation is replaced with grunts, and nothing has changed to your liking, other than the fact that at least you never have to say “You’re wearing that?!” because you’ve thrown out his (cherished) holey T-shirts and other disreputable garments.

Now you have even more to gripe about, as your Evil Eye zeroes in on a whole new set of annoying behaviors, and speak up you do, hoping against hope that Honey will finally get it, and change his ways, so you can change yours, be sweet and nice, and never have to nag again.

Wrong! That never works. If you want Honey to change his ways, you’ll have to change yours first.

As unfair as it may seem, the Evil Eye must go. Yup. Sorry about that. You can keep it for inspecting spots, stains and dirt, but when it comes to your Honey, the Evil Eye is history.

Nothing kills love faster than criticism, which, simply put, is a complaint that instead of seeking resolution, seeks to blame. When you say “How can you just sit there on the couch when I’m running myself ragged in three different directions at once?” you feel like you have too much on your plate (the complaint), and what you want is his help (the resolution), but instead you blame him, making him wrong. It’s really hard to get people to cooperate with you and help you when you start by making them wrong.

The more you blame your mate, the more defensive he will get. That’s just human instinct. Attack us, we fight or flee. You don’t increase closeness, tenderness, or any other of the warm fuzzies by attacking your mate. You literally drive him away.

What’s the solution? State your complaint and ask for help! “Honey, I’ve got way too much to do here. Would you please help me with the kids?” “I’ve been looking at our budget, and I think I’ve found some ways to help us save money so we can afford a vacation/new transmission. Could you please take a look at this with me?” “Trash pick-up is tomorrow. Could you please take the trash out tonight?”

And then, thank your Honey profusely. Yes, I know, it seems he should just do chores and help you without praise, but somehow we all perform better when we get strokes for doing so. Over time, you may find that he expresses more gratitude for all that you do. Wouldn’t that be nice!

Author's Bio: 

Noelle C. Nelson, Ph.D., is a relationship expert, popular speaker in the U.S. and abroad, and author of nine best-selling books, including her most recent, Your Man is Wonderful and Dangerous Relationships. Dr. Nelson focuses on how we can all enjoy happy, fulfilling lives while accomplishing great things in love, at home and at work, as we appreciate ourselves, our world and all others. Visit,