Lately, when my husband gets home from work he goes straight to the couch where he opens his laptop and stays until dinner; and then after dinner, he goes back to the couch and computer until bedtime. Even though he uses some of that time for work matters, it’s started to annoy me. Why can’t he get more involved in family life? What kind of example is he setting for the kids?
Then I decided to think about it differently: Maybe that’s all he has to give right now. He’s exhausted from starting a new job, and at least he’s choosing to be physically present at home instead of staying at the office to work late.
That new perspective helped me, as did the following six ways to respond when your husband annoys you. I hope they help with your marital problems too!
1. Put yourself in his shoes.
If I would’ve done this when I was annoyed with my husband’s computer use, I would’ve saved myself the irritation. The next time your husband is annoying you, ask yourself, “What’s going on right now? Is there something else behind the way he’s acting?” Maybe he’s stressed about work; maybe he’s afraid of getting old; maybe he took something you said the wrong way. More than likely, he’s not trying to annoy you so assume the best.
2. Choose your 10s.
I don’t want my husband to see me as someone who critiques his every move. Sure, if there’s something that really bothers me I’ll go ahead and talk to him about it, but if it’s not that big a deal, I’ll let it go. I got great advice from some iMOM friends to choose my annoyances that are 10s, and consider approaching my husband about those if they’re driving me crazy and making me a not-nice wife. These same friends also reminded me that my husband deserves the same patience, kindness, and grace that I give my kids.
3. Look at yourself.
When I get annoyed at my husband I consider if there’s something going on with me. Is my tiredness making me less patient? Am I getting my period? Have my kids frustrated me and I blamed him?
4. Change your specs.
In other words, look at your husband differently, more positively. You don’t have to put on rose-colored glasses, but it does help to remind yourself of all of the positive things about your husband. If you find yourself struggling to come up with the good in him, look over this list of 99 things you might be thankful for about your husband.
5. Talk to him kindly.
There does come a point when it’s okay to talk to your husband about what’s annoying you. It’s a better alternative than keeping your feelings to yourself until you explode and catch him off guard. When you approach him, do so calmly and kindly. If he has a sense of humor about himself, you can start off in a light-hearted way. If he’s very sensitive, be sure to reassure him that you think he’s great.
6. Focus on your relationship.
Maybe your annoyances are just a symptom of some weak spots in your marriage. Take a few minutes to look at these three easy ways to strengthen your marriage this week. If you feel like they might help, try them. If you feel like your marital problems run deeper, we have some help for you there too.
Tell us! What other ideas do you have for handling your husband’s annoyances?