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Posts Tagged ‘Irritating Habits of Spouses’

(This post is in response to a friend who asked, “Could you write about how to deal with those little aggravations that cause such trouble in our marriages?”  Here are my thoughts!)

Tremendous trifles–that’s what my sociology professor called the irritating habits of spouses that can drive us crazy.  Things like…

  • Allowing odds and ends to pile up on the kitchen counter, and never putting them away
  • Leaving lights on in vacated rooms
  • Hitting the snooze alarm five times before actually getting up
  • Checking messages during a dinner-date
  • Rarely being ready to leave the house on time

Tremendous trifles present choices, don’t they.

1.  We  can  choose our attitudes.

Will we dwell on the negative or will we focus on the positive qualities of our spouses?

Paul’s advice about our thought-lives (Philippians 4:8) can be applied to how we think about our spouses:

“You’ll do best by meditating on things noble…the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse” (Philippians 4:8, The Message).

Years ago, I completed a Bible study on marriage,  specifically written for wives.  The author recommended writing down all the positive traits of one’s husband.  I surprised myself by filling a page with more than a dozen qualities I admired about Steve.  As I wrote, my heart filled with refreshed love for the generous, thoughtful, hard-working man God has given me.

That familiar scripture above is accompanied by a promise, which also applies to marriage:

[Meditate on the best], “and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into most excellent harmonies” (v. 9, also from The Message).

Doesn’t that sound like the perfect marriage?  Two people blending together in perfect harmony!

2.  We can choose our responses.

Will we complain every time a light is left on?

Or, might the best choice be to just turn off the lights ourselves?

Yes, flipping a switch is a no-brainer for some folks, but for others—the creative and/or problem-solving types?  They seem to struggle with such mundane matters. Turning off the lights just isn’t in their skill-set, no matter how much they may want to remember.

So if saving electricity is important to you, it may be wise to flip those switches yourself.

Your motto can be:  “Love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8b)!

3.  We can choose to discuss the issue.

Does that mean we blast away when the pressure builds?

Or, will we ask the Holy Spirit to guide the conversation and provide wisdom and grace to share honestly but kindly?

Begin with a careful choice of time and place.   It’s best to discuss important matters when both parties are well-rested and well-fed.  A private location is also a must.  Perhaps the corner booth of a pleasant restaurant would offer a setting conducive for  heart-to-heart conversation.

And then limit the discussion to one matter.  An overload of negativity will sabotage the discussion.

Try a praise-then-prompt approach.  That’s a teacher-tip I learned in college, but it works in any conversation when you want to present a serious request.  Share with the other person at least several traits you appreciate.  Then ask if it would be possible for him/her to turn out the lights!

Each choice above gives us the opportunity to express our love the First-Corinthians-Thirteen Way.

Love is patient (when the clutter-pile grows),

Love is kind (when the mirror is splattered),

It is not rude (when she finishes your sentence),

It is not self-seeking (when he wants to watch a football game),

It is not easily angered (when the cupboard doors are left open–again),

It keeps no record of wrongs (when she leaves the sponge in the sink–again).

Love always perseveres.

It takes perseverance for a stable, mutually fulfilling relationship to grow.   Happily-ever-after marriages  don’t just happen.   They are created carefully, moment by moment–in the choices we make.

(photo and art credits:  www.homelifesimplified.com , http://www.lifestyle.ca.msn.com , www,jagran.com , http://www.justalittlebreezy.com )

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