How many times have you wanted to point out your spouse’s mistakes or experienced the same done to you? How does it feel? Whenever you feel the need to highlight your spouse’s mistakes or indeed anyone’s mistakes, remember how you feel when it is done to you. You do not need someone to point out your own mistakes. When they do so, you feel hurt and to some degree you feel animosity towards them. Sadly, all too often this leads to hostility and conflict creating unhappiness at home.
Param Pujya Dadashri says, “People’s home lives have become ruined. Life should not be like this. It should be full of love; where there is love, one cannot look at mistakes. If you want to point out your wife’s mistake, you should also be able to make her understand. If you offer her a suggestion by saying ‘Maybe we should do it this way’, she will accept it and be glad you advised her. Some men will kick up a big fuss even over not having sugar in their tea. All I say is ‘For heaven’s sake just drink it in peace’. Surely she will find out when drinks the tea. She will even ask you why you did not ask for any sugar. People do not know how to live their life in the home. One should not, in one’s home, point out anyone’s mistakes. People nevertheless do this, do they not?”
If you can overlook many of your wife’s shortcomings or mistakes, then she will be impressed with you, but instead you accuse her of making mistakes when she makes none. Many men complain about issues regarding women’s responsibilities and chores; it is all unnecessary.
You should refrain from pointing out other people’s mistakes as the urge stems from your ego and thus will only end up hurting them. They are already cognizant of their mistakes. Instead, keep the intent not to hurt any living being with your thoughts, speech or actions! Do not look at other people’s faults, focus on how to improve yourself and how to come out of your own flaws! Param Pujya Dadashri says, “You have to improve yourself if you want to improve others. No one can be improved. Those who try to improve others are all egotistic. If you improve yourself, the other person will improve without fail”.
If they make a mistake and you point it out, what do you get in return?
Take this railroad for example; there are so many different functions going on, so many signals being fed from so many directions, that it is a department all by itself, and therefore mistakes are inevitable. In the same way, there may be mistakes in your wife’s department. But, if you start pointing out these mistakes, she will do the same to you. She will start to complain, “You do not do this,” and “You do not do that.” She will get even with you.
If you find yourself in a situation where you have to caution your spouse about their behavior then you can caution them keeping this understanding given by Param Pujya Dadashri in mind.
"You indeed have to caution, but you should know how to say it. As you don’t know how to say it, as you don’t know how to interact, the cautioning is done with egoism. That is why, you should do pratikraman afterwards. When you caution that person, he will indeed feel bad, but as you do pratikraman for him over and over again, then after six months, twelve months, your speech will unfold in such a way that it will sound sweet to the other person. At present, a ‘tested’ speech is required. You have no right to speak ‘untested’ speech. If you do pratikraman in this way, then no matter how bad it is, it will become better."
Questioner: My wife feels bad if her faults are pointed out to her, but she also feels bad if I do not say anything!
Dadashri: No, no, no, she will not feel bad. If you do not point out her mistakes, she herself will tell you that the soup is salty and why did you not say anything? That is when you tell her that you do not have to say anything about what she would have found out eventually. Instead what happens is, 'This soup is too salty!' and there will be a look of disgust on your face. Is she not able to see this mistake herself that you have to cause discord? Why hurt her unnecessarily? She will think to herself, 'don't you think I know that? He is always criticizing me. He hurts me all the time'. Our people deliberately point out mistakes that are minor and easily apparent and that is the reason why this life is so full of clashes. What do you think? So what is the objection in thinking a little on this point?
Questioner: If we point out such mistakes, then she would not make the same mistake again, would she?
Dadashri: Oh ho! So that you can have a reason to preach! Yes, there is nothing wrong in pointing out the mistakes. What I am telling you is that you point out their mistake, if only they appreciate you doing so, 'It's a good thing you pointed out my mistake, I was not aware of it'. Sister, do you appreciate it when he points your routine mistakes?
Dadashri: What is the point in showing her the mistake, which she is already aware of? If there is something wrong with the cooking, then will she not know this when she eats the meal herself? So there is no need for us to say anything. If she is not aware of her mistake and then you point it out to her, she may appreciate it. It is only Indian men who do this. When I used to live on the third floor of a house in Santacruz Bombay, tea used to be brought up to me. Some days they forgot to put sugar in the tea. I would drink it, telling Dada within, 'Sahib, put some sugar in this tea', and so Dada will do so. So I will drink the tea even if there was no sugar in it. Interference was not my nature. Then later on they will be rushing around to bring the sugar. I would ask 'Why did you bring sugar?' They would say 'Why did you not ask for sugar, the tea was not sweet?' I would reply, 'Why do I need to tell you?' Do you understand what I am saying?
Reference: Book Name: Harmony in Marriage (Page #35, Paragraph #3, Page #36, Paragraph #1 to #6)
1) Do not keep control over household affairs. The one who keeps control has to wander around. The unusable money [torn notes, ruined coins] are offered as homage in prayer rituals! ‘Live’ as a ‘friend’ with the ‘wife’. You are her ‘friend’ and she is your ‘friend’.
2) From the time one gets married he tries to improve his wife, but neither of the two improves till death. Instead, if you would have tried to cut vegetables, it would have been done (with success). So do not try to improve the wife. She may try to improve us [men] but we should not try to reform them.
3) Do not try to improve anyone, but try and improve your own self. Even the Tirthankars (Omniscients) had not done egoism of improving others, they had come just to give the gift of liberation.
4) One who does not allow discord [with the wife] to happen even for a minute is considered a [true] husband. Look after this relationship in the same way that you would not allow the relationship with a friend to spoil. If you do not look after your relationship with your friend, then the friendship will break.
5) If the other person makes a mistake, it has no value; but if a clash occurs (with someone), there are serious consequences. God does not exist where there is clash.
6) If we clash with anyone, then it is our own weakness only.