A list of what annoys you (DW#540)

Any of us who are in long term relationships know that it is not always fun and games. In fact, our loved ones tend to trigger and annoy us in ways that we did not even think possible!

Here is the thing: this is completely normal – these petty annoyances are NOT a sign that your relationship is in trouble. (as we say repeatedly, there is conflict in the happiest of relationships – it is how you deal with the conflict that determines the health of your marriage and family). 

The bad news about these annoyances and triggers is that they are not likely to change. And unless we learn to take them lightly and with a good dose of humour, they might even increase over time. 

So how we learn to live with what drives us crazy? 

Today’s marriage hack comes from a list that I learnt about many years ago. It is rather unique. 

A long term married woman shared that she keeps a list of what she hates about her husband. When I heard this, my positively-oriented solution-focused mind went a bit crazy. 

"Should you not focus on what you love about your husband", I asked her. "How does can this work to improve your marriage?"

"Well", she explained. "Every time my husband annoys me, I remind myself that I already know this. It’s on the list, I tell myself. I know this about him and I chose to love him anyway. It keeps me from complaining about the same things over and over again which tends to get rather boring, don’t you think? 

After all, its not as if he is doing new things. He is being himself. Consistent. Doing the same things that he has always done: Forgetting half the things on the grocery list, leaving lights on, burping after he eats etc. etc. It’s not a short list! But should I not move on from complaining about these petty things? After all, he still also does all the things that I love: never forgetting a birthday, kissing me goodnight, listening to me talk and supporting me. This list is much longer."

"What I love and what annoys me about my husband are both a part of him. All of it is what makes him, him. If I love him, I need to accept the whole package." 

I was humbled and inspired by her thinking and by her logic. Wow! If we could just "accept the whole package" how much happier our lives would be! How much less would we complain. 

So how long have you been complaining about certain behaviours and habits in your spouse? How about putting them on a "list of things that annoy me but I chose to love them anyway" list? 

And then moving on, please!! 

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