What is the difference between a criticism and a complaint in a relationship? Well, there is a BIG difference. Criticism is the first horseman of doom. In a relationship criticism attacks the core of your partner. It attacks their character and who they are, not the behavior that they are engaging in. In the long run, criticism creates a wedge of animosity in the relationship. Having animosity makes it more difficult to forgive, care, and appreciate in a relationship. If you ever wondered why saying something like "you never pick up after yourself" or "you never think about my feelings" has the opposite effect on your partner, then this is the reason. Criticism in this way does not motivate your partner to change their behavior. It simply shuts their ears off each time you start to say something. Criticism sends a message to your partner that you don't care for their feelings or acknowledge them.
What to say instead: Express specific behaviors that bother you and request or tell your partner what you would want them to do instead.
Criticism: You always make decisions without me. You are such an inconsiderate person!
Say instead: When you changed our plans without talking to me first, I felt hurt. I would like for us to talk about changing our plans together next time.