I can very clearly remember the day I first met Chris. We were both young and at our first day of orientation of college. He was cute and had a sparkle in his eyes. As I got to know him, I learned that he was energetic, loyal, passionate, and an amazing storyteller. Fast forward to almost 12 years later, and those qualities, which were so endearing at the time, now can be seen more like “loud, stubborn, obsessive and exaggerative. Honestly, I tend to, more often, describe him in the first term, but there are some days (weeks? Months?) that I would lean towards the latter.
And you know what? I know I can be annoying too. I am indecisive, anxious, I over think things, and I am constantly playing devil’s advocate. I like to think that those are part of what makes me so darn likeable, but depending on the day, Chris might tend to disagree.
After 8 years of marriage, we’re anything but experts, but we’re also not completely new at this anymore. Relationships take work and communication. If you are trying to simply read an article about what to do to get along with your partner better (or how to get him or her to get along with you better), this isn’t going to do it for you. But if you’re finding yourself irritated with your spouse and having a hard time working through it without picking a fight or questioning yourself, you might want to keep reading.
So here are 6 things I’ve learned during my marriage that have helped me work through feelings of annoyance. Again, these are the things that worked for me. With time and patience, you can figure out what works for you too, but patience and giving your partner a chance is really important. As always, I love your comments and hope that after you read what works for me, you share what works for you in the comments below!
It’s not just him
I’ve learned that if I point the blame at him and be annoyed, then I just feed my irritation. If I recognize that I have an ownership in what’s going on, then I can try to identify my part. Perspective plays a major part in this. Pulling back away from the blame game goes a long way here.
1. I’m annoying too
(Shhhhh. Don’t tell him I said this). While I may not share this part out loud to him on a regular basis, this reminder can be helpful for me. If I remind myself when I’m irritated with him that there are quirks and habits I have that annoy him and he’s probably trying to work through some right now, it helps me to step back a little.
2. I’m in charge of me
If I want to be annoyed, I can feel annoyed. But if I want to feel better in the moment, I need to switch up my thinking. When I’m honest with myself, if I want to feel better, than raising my voice or fixating over what he’s doing “wrong” isn’t going to help me reach my goal.
3. What would I rather be annoyed by
A good friend of mine went to a marriage conference once and the speaker shared a story in which a marriage therapist was working with a couple that was really struggling with one another and had them list out the qualities that really annoyed them of their partner. I think many of us can do that very easily. Once they wrote these out, they were asked to list out the annoying qualities that they would prefer in a different spouse. It’s so true. We’re human beings and will be rubbed the wrong way by people, no matter who I’m with. I know people who daydream about a life without that annoyance, but if you’re planning on continuing to be in a relationship with human beings, you might need to consider whether or not this is a realistic goal.
4. The endearing qualities
With this technique, I think about what I love about him. When I do this, I’m flipping my feelings upside down. The last think that I naturally do when in an argument is list out the things I love about my spouse. If I can, instead, think about the qualities that draw me too him, it not only disarms me, but also reminds me of the whole picture.
5. Behind the scenes
Finally, taking a look behind the scenes and finding out what’s going on for me is extremely important. If it’s night time, I tend to be more easily annoyed or pick more fights because I get really grumpy when I’m tired. Is it that time of month? Are you feeling sick? Do you have a deadline at work that’s stressing you out? Do you have financial concerns or other fears you’re working yourself through? Recognizing that there are additional contributing factors help me to realize that this might not really be about my husband after all, or at least not as much as I’m making it out to be.
Again, I know that marriage is tough. It’s the melding of two unique people and trying to live a life together. It’s hard, it’s messy, but man when it’s working it’s so worth it. Watching the way that my husband and I can come together as a team is so cool to me. Sharing my life with someone else has taught me to be a better person (and in turn, a better mom). If you’re struggling in your relationship, find the support and help you need. Find an experienced family or marriage therapist to talk through what’s going on.
I can’t wait to hear your feedback of what you do that helps in your relationship.
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Until next time,