da612d48c5d849e0ce7290b16298b152with permission by Cheri Gregory on Happy Wives Daily Blog

Every January for the last seven years, I’ve taken the Complaint-Free Challenge: one whole month without complaining.

Of course, this has not meant ignoring legitimate problems. Will Bowen, author of A Complaint-Free World, makes a clear distinction between complaining and problem-solving. Complaining is making energetic statements focused on the problem at hand rather than the resolution, while problemsolving is speaking directly and only to the person who can resolve the issue.

Complaint-Free: Who Me?

The first time I tried the Complaint-Free Challenge, I discovered how rarely I used true problem-solving techniques. My mouth seemed set on negative auto-pilot. I griped endlessly out of habit rather than choosing my words with care.

To become more aware of my complaining tendencies, I started each day with a purple “Complaint-Free World” bracelet on my left wrist. Each time I caught myself complaining, I changed the band to my other wrist.

I soon became conscious of one specific complaining habit involving my husband.

Every time Daniel came into my home office, I’d stop working and start complaining. This habit was so automatic that the moment I’d hear him walking downstairs, I’d feel irritated and find something wrong to report the moment he walked in.

This is ridiculous! I thought. What’s going on here? Why do I drop what I’m doing and fabricate a complaint whenever Daniel appears?

Finally, after some soul-searching and a good laugh at my own expense, I realized what I was doing:

I was trying to reconnect with my husband. 

We’d been apart for a while, and I was trying to re-engage with him. Of course, the method I was using was counterproductive; my complaints often resulted in disagreements or Daniel retreating in haste.

Once I recognized my true desire, I tried a new approach. I replaced all my complaints with one simple word:


It worked like a charm.

3 Reasons I Aim to be Complaint-Free Wife

1.  I am more pleasant to be with. Daniel stops by to see me far more frequently, and with far less trepidation!

2. I am happier. I’ve found that what I hear, I take to heart. And since I hear myself 24/7, complaining words and thoughts cause a cacophony of “baditude” in my heart. Less complaining has created space for peace, quiet, and contentment.

3. I’m more grateful.  I used to think that I’d get around to gratitude when I didn’t have so much to complain about. When I intentionally quit complaining, I suddenly had time to notice and point out all the good. The more appreciation I expressed, the more I noticed things for which I was grateful. As gratitude became my new default, complaining naturally died off.

I recognize that going complaint-free isn’t for everyone. But I’ll tell you from experience that each time I take the Complaint-Free Challenge, I become more the happy woman–and happy wife–I most want to be.

A Couple of Complaint-Free Resources:

Ready to try the Complaint-Free Challenge? 31 days is a long commitment…how about starting with just 3! What could you learn about your complaining habits with your husband by choosing to be complaint-free for the next 3?

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