I’ve discovered the most common marriage problem.
The list keeps growing… are you doing any of these marriage breakers?
Yet, if we could all recognize it, be truthful about it and talk about it, this common marriage problem wouldn’t be such a big deal.
Something that gets worse the longer you are married.
Something that grows older with you.
Something that as you get closer, become more alike, and walk through life together will at some point be quite apparent.
This problem will rear its ugly head between you and shine a light on your hearts in very personal ways.
It is a fuzzy problem.
An easy to twist problem.
A problem that causes miscommunication, hurt feelings and all around bad “married life” days.
A problem that forces you to look inward, do a self character assessment and figure out your own issues… which makes this problem all the more annoying for both of you.
Time consuming. Life altering and down-right difficult.
The problem is this
“Hon, but you do that same thing to me!”
Stop and think about that phrase.
Now picture this with me… We’ll use a pretend couple named… uhm… Jay and Jen. Those are great names for our pretend couple.
Pretend couple is in the kitchen discussing their latest marriage annoyances. They are talking through a few miscommunications and issues. And one spouse, who will go unnamed because truly it could be EITHER spouse, says, “Hon, but you do that same thing to me!” And the other spouse stands aghast thinking, “What? I don’t do that!” and the spouse who made the statement continues talking, sharing examples of ways the spouse does the very same things that have annoyed them to pieces for the past few days. Sound familiar?
So common. So real. And so true… yet we often fail to recognize our own failings long enough to realize that we do the same things.
We may do them in different ways. We may sugar coat them with pretty words or actions so it isn’t easy to see.
But often times, we do the same things that annoy us about our spouse.
Annoyed that your spouse doesn’t pay attention to you when you speak? Well, did you look up from your phone the last time they talked to you? Did you pause Netflix the last time they were talking… and kept it paused long enough to have a conversation?
Annoyed that your spouse doesn’t communicate well? Did you communicate well about that appointment you had last week? Did you communicate before you put a meeting on the calendar for the following week? Did you communicate about such and such for so and so?
Annoyed that your spouse doesn’t help with task A? Well, did you help with task B?
You must ask yourself, “Are you annoying right back?”
Humbling, isn’t it?
And also difficult to deal with.
Difficult because the argument in the kitchen can quickly become a mean game of who does what. A mean game of who does it the most or the worst or… A mean game that will end VERY badly if you aren’t aware that it is happening.
Thankfully, our pretend couple ended it with laughter because the pretend couple is becoming very good at recognizing truth.
It was the truth. Both Jay and Jen did the things that were annoying them.
What did I notice the pretend couple did to end the discussion with laughter?
1} Be humble. Do not stand your ground and demand that you DO NOT do such and such. Be humble. Your spouse is probably right. You DO do that annoying thing too even if you didn’t notice it before that moment.
2} Listen. If you brought up how annoyed you are with something, you need to be willing to hear their side, turn it back toward yourself and reflect. Without coming up with your next argument or thing they did too. Even though they probably DID… listen for real to what they are saying.
3} Recognize the situation for what it is. Truly… in married life you WILL annoy each other! Recognize it and come up with a way to make it better. For you and for them. It is too easy to get hurt, be sensitive and feel like you’ve been attacked. You haven’t. Recognize it. Learn from it. Change it.
4} Let go. You aren’t going to fix it by throwing more and more annoyances on the pile. You don’t need to better up your spouse in the “you are annoying” area. Realize that you BOTH are annoying sometimes, you BOTH need to work on your part in it and let go.
5} Move forward. Knowing it could happen again, move forward anyway. Say sorry… forgive. You’ve humbled yourself, recognized that you play a part in the problem, listened to your spouse, let go of an escalating argument that will get you both no where… now move on. Make a latte, watch Fixer Upper and move on with the day. Because we all want to choose to love like that.
What do you think of this most common marriage problem? Have you seen this play out in your marriage? How do you end it with laughter rather than meanness?