When you were single and dreamed about your future spouse, you probably envisioned all the qualities and traits you wanted. It never dawned on you to think about the things that would annoy you in a partner. Perhaps there were basic generalities that were a no-go that related to politics, religion, or other moralistic driven opinions; however, the way they chewed, put their dirty dishes away, and made the bed were not elements of concern. It could be a possibility that you assumed everything would fall into place once you were married.
Fast forward to present time. You’re married and the honeymoon phase is over. You’ve said ‘I do’ and maybe to your surprise, things got real. Now the newlywed bliss has faded away and the daily reality of coexisting has taken over.
There are a few facts spouses must accept and come to terms with. In some instances, reciting these as affirmations will be beneficial. Before you can come to terms with the annoying things, your spouse does, you must understand:
- There are no perfect people. Everyone has flaws – yes, even Beyoncé and Henry Cavill.
- You can’t change people that don’t want to change.
- Always be honest and communicate with your spouse, but remember everyone has feelings and is allowed to have initial reactions.
- Change takes time.
Now that you know the terms you must accept, here are a few tips on what to do about your spouse’s most annoying traits.
Never demand change.
Take a deep breath, and truly accept that you cannot demand change – from anyone. Your spouse is your equal. Walk your feelings back and think about how you would want your spouse to approach you about a change. Have a calm conversation (no matter how big or small the issue is) and don’t partake in a reactive conversation. For those who don’t understand reactive conversations, these discussions occur when and because of the issue at hand. For example, if your spouse doesn’t consistently put his/her dirty clothes in the hamper, you wouldn’t discuss the issue as you place the clothes into the hamper.
Ask yourself, how would a change make your life easier? Sit your spouse down and express why the issue is so important to you. Explain the benefits of changing. Propose ways your spouse will potentially benefit from making a change. But, always preface your request with a positive remark on something your spouse does right. It’s important to always provide balance – this way your spouse doesn’t feel like you’re nagging him/her.
Pick your battles.
No one wants to live in a household or be in a relationship where they are constantly criticized for their every movement. Have an honest conversation with yourself, can you get over this annoying trait and/or habit? In a relationship you need to be willing to bend, compromise with your spouse, and meet them halfway. Are you being petty? Your views may benefit from discussing the annoyance with a counselor or close friend.
Ask yourself if there is a way you can help your spouse with the issue without being overbearing or coming off as overbearing. For example, if your spouse isn’t the best at remembering household chores and errands, maybe it would be helpful to have a shared list of tasks on a shared app or posted on the fridge. Or perhaps your spouse isn’t great at cleaning – if that’s the case, clean as a team, and complete everything together. A teamwork approach will give you the opportunity to show your spouse how you like things to be completed, and your spouse will appreciate your duo approach.
Consider any underlying psychological issues.
Sometimes behaviors or reactions have a deeper cause – and they require a more sensitive approach when being addressed. Underlying depression or anxiety can sometimes show up as a shortened fuse.
It’s important to be sensitive to your spouse because there are several emotional issues that may be uncontrollable without assistance. If annoying habits are somehow associated with a deeper issue, continue to have open and honest conversations with your spouse. Recommend counseling and meditation to help them with any issues. The key is to be patient and understand that the annoying habits are probably out of your spouse’s control.
Ask your spouse how they would like to receive reminders.
Instead of taking it upon yourself to implement reminders or expressing sarcastic reactions, ask your spouse how they would like to be reminded. For example, if your spouse consistently leaves the toilet seat up, ask them how they would like to be reminded to put it down. Maybe it’s as simple as putting post-it, with the reminder, on the bathroom mirror.
Consider having a conversation about reasonable manners and what each person views as proper. Remember, your spouse was raised differently and has experienced different events than you’ve experienced. You shouldn’t issue blame or make your spouse feel like less of an individual because they do not do things the way you do.
Continue the conversations.
Continuously talk to your spouse and let them know about the things bothering you. However, remember to praise the things they do that make you happy. Having a strong platform for communication is crucial for every healthy marriage. Establishing a strong connection and honest communication will help your relationship when you face tough obstacles and pressing issues.
Take the time to reconnect with your spouse. Be honest about how their annoying habit is affecting you – whether it’s a huge turn-off or it stresses you out. Give your spouse the room to change their ways and the space to potentially make mistakes.
The reality is no one is perfect and there will be different things, throughout your marriage, that your spouse does to annoy you. Nonetheless, it’s important to talk through everything and remember no one is perfect.