“He slurps his soup, bites his fingernails and always leaves his dirty clothes on the floor. I expected the relational challenges of marriage, but my biggest problem is that I can barely stand to be in the same room with the man!”
I wonder how many marriages are derailed by the little things. Living with someone will certainly bring out every annoying habit. Even if you know you are being petty, you can’t stop yourself from being annoyed, can you?
Mike and I just celebrated 21 years. Have we annoyed each other over that time? You bet! I can give you a list of the things I do that can drive my husband crazy. And, yes, I’ve made a mental list of his annoying habits too. I can honestly say that we are no longer annoyed with each other—at least most of the time. I hope it won’t annoy you if I share three of the breakthroughs I’ve had on the journey to an irritation-free marriage.
1. In year 2 of marriage, I began to understand why I was annoyed.
Your husband’s annoying habits are not the primary reason why you’re annoyed with him. Irritation is almost always the symptom of something much deeper. Annoying habits are sort of like background music . . . sometimes you don’t even notice them but other times they become incredibly distracting. So what makes the difference? Why did you used to think his quirky laugh was cute but now it drives you crazy?
My growing irritation with my husband around year two was rooted in intimacy and identity. As we were becoming “one,” I deeply disliked anything about Mike that I didn’t think represented me. For example, I would never be late, so I resented the fact that he was always running late.1