It was the end of a stressful weekend, and my nerves were frayed thin. The kids had been crying, the laundry piles were endless, yet my husband relaxed and nursed his man cold with copious amounts of hot tea.
By the time Sunday night rolled around, I was on edge and was annoyed by every single thing my husband did.
He crunched his food too loud and I rolled my eyes with each bite.
Annoyingly, he slurped his tea, which left me brimming with irritation.
His constant need for more Kleenex and hot beverages left me exhausted as I juggled my other responsibilities.
The weekend left my feelings raw and I felt like a martyr wife and mom. I proudly wore my mounting responsibilities like a badge of honor and left a trail of frustration behind as I moved from task to task.
As I locked myself in the bathroom for a few minutes of peace, I realized the error of my thoughts and actions.
While I felt justified in my reactions, it wasn’t long before the Holy Spirit was tapping on my heart and convicting me of my feelings of annoyance…
How to Deal with Your Spouse’s Annoying Habits (and Stay Happily Married)
Realize your own need for a Savior
It may be easy to judge and pick apart someone else’s shortcomings, but the minute I open my Bible, I’m reminded of my own need for a Savior. In the light of a perfect and holy God, suddenly I don’t feel so justified or righteous.
The truth is, I’m a sinner, too, and in desperate need for the saving grace of Jesus to redeem my tarnished soul. As much as the flaws of my spouse may leave me annoyed, we’re both two imperfect sinners living in a fallen world.
What a gift to know that every single one of our missteps are forgiven and covered by God’s amazing grace!
Realize your attitude is sin
As hard as it was to admit, my attitude, no matter how justified I felt, was sin. I was harboring anger and resentment, and as a result, I was rude and abrupt with my family.
I had to first repent of my attitude and ask the Lord to forgive my irritation. Next, as humbling as it was, I needed to ask my husband’s forgiveness. I even needed to apologize to my kids for the irritation they sensed in my words and actions.
While it’s not comfortable to realize you’ve stepped outside of God’s commands, it’s a blessing to know you don’t have to be a slave to sin! God is faithful to meet you in your weak areas, including poor attitudes, and will provide strength for those moments you’re wrestling with the flesh.
Address the sources of stress if necessary
Just as it’s not easy to see our own issues as sin, it’s never easy to approach someone else about their shortcomings. After many botched attempts, I finally discovered the correct way to approach my husband about habits that grate on my nerves.
When I want to discuss an area or habit that annoys me, I:
- Approach him without anger or resentment. If I am angry or have my defenses up, he doesn’t hear me and my message will be lost.
- Bathe my words in love and humility.
- Ask him gently to work through these habits and explain why they bother me.
- Treat him with respect. (And even share what I do love about him!)
- Pray that he will hear my heart.
These printable Core Conversations for Your Marriage have been a safe way to start awkward conversations in our house. I know they’ll bless your marriage, too!
Pray in tough moments
I’m pretty sure I will never be a fan of people slurping or chewing with their mouths open. But in those moments I feel my blood boil and my anger rise, I can always stop and pray.
God is faithful to help me conquer my feelings and irritations. Connecting with God in prayer is the perfect way to battle raging emotions before I lose control.
Serve and love despite the flaws
My husband isn’t perfect and I have a choice to make each day. I can love him and serve him despite his flaws. Or I can harbor anger and resentment over what annoys me. (And trust me, he has to do the same with me!)
Serving someone isn’t a popular concept in this modern world. However it helps focus our eyes on the sacrificial love Jesus poured out for us at the cross.
Taking the 28 Days of Blessing Your Spouse Challenge is a simple way to put Christ’s love in action. It’s also a great way to show unconditional love to the one that you love most.
How do you put your spouse’s less than admirable qualities in perspective?