Marriage Missions International

Fixing Those Irritations That Can Come Between Us

“Isn’t it usually the day-to-day, wash-the-toothpaste-down-the-sink, close-the-toilet-seat kind of stuff about living with someone that can drive us crazy? It’s funny, but you can love someone deeply and still become easily bothered by the simple act of sharing space with them” (Kristine Carlson, from book Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff in Love).

Photo credit: katalopolis / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Photo credit: katalopolis / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Isn’t that the truth? It’s amazing how much those little irritations can consume our thoughts and change our moods.

Are you irritated with your spouse? Are little irritations building up in your relationship to the point where they’re over-riding the good you once thought about each other?

“The plain truth is that it’s impossible for two human beings to live together for any length of time and not hurt each other.

All too often life gets in the way of living. If the struggles of marriage were isolated to the minor irritations that come along with being imperfect, we would probably all have great marriages. But minor irritations can grow into major problems —and major infractions can break your heart.” (Bill and Pam Farrel, from the book, Love, Honor & Forgive: A Guide for Married Couples)

It’s amazing the damage that can be caused by allowing little irritations to build up in your mind against your marital “partner!” After a while it can become difficult to be kind to the person you pledged on your wedding day to “love, honor and cherish, and that can eventually cause bigger problems.”

“The simple truth is that happy marriages are based on a deep friendship —a mutual respect and enjoyment of each other’s company. A couple that keeps their friendship strong despite the inevitable disagreements and irritations of married life, experiences what I call ‘positive sentiment over-ride’ —their positive thoughts about each other and their marriage are so pervasive that they tend to supersede their negative feelings. It takes a much more significant conflict for them to lose their equilibrium as a couple.” (Dr John M. Gottman, from article, Lessons from the Love Lab, Family Circle, 4/2/02)

So, what do you do to tend to those problem areas so you can maintain a stronger friendship and have more “positive sentiment over-rides?” We have several things you can look at that might help you in some way. The first is to go into the “Marriage Messages” section to see what we have written there that can help you. Two messages in particular (among many) would be:

• Creatively Re-framing Our Marriages – Marriage Message #259

• Love Accepts Many Irritations – Marriage Message #241

Also, there are a couple of articles featured in past articles in Marriage Partnership Magazine (and can now be found on the web site) that you can read on their web site that could also help you. Please click on the links below to read the articles:

• Fixing Those Irritations

• Spouse Interrupted: My Little Digs Made Big Holes

• Ready, Set, Grow!

When it comes to dealing with irritations that bother us about our spouse, Richard Carlson PhD, gives some great advice (in his book Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff in Love). He says, “Don’t fight over stupid things”…

“The solution is really quite simple; mostly it involves intention. The trick, it seems, is to begin to see irrelevant and unimportant things in their proper perspective. It’s helpful to reflect on those things that are really important and to make a commitment to let go of almost everything else. Ask yourself the question, ‘Do I want my life to be about fighting over stupid things and demanding that everyone else, especially the people I love, be different?’ By simply asking this question in such a direct and honest manner, the answer will become an obvious …no.”

The end of all things is near. Therefore, be clear minded and self controlled so that you can pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms (1 Peter 4:7-10).


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5 Responses to “Fixing Those Irritations That Can Come Between Us”
  1. Karen says:

    (USA) Great info! There is so much to learn here and great ways to apply it. Blessings!

  2. Thandi says:

    (SA) This is so enlightening. I am so blessed to have found this site just before my wedding.

  3. STANLEY says:

    (ZIMBABWE) This is absolutely perfect and helps one to have a steady and eternity marriage without hassles.

  4. Gladys says:

    (KENYA) I am from Kenya. I find your website very helpful and am glad that a friend told me about it. I am quite in a difficult time in my marriage and am hoping that God will enable me to do as is required of me in order that my marriage will be saved. Thanks and God Bless.

  5. AMB from United States says:

    My question is, why should we overlook those things, especially if changing them could improve our way of life.? I.e. Cleaning up a dirty house, or being healthier, etc? There is no good reason simple things can’t be done, other than the other person is lazy. But we have to accept that and just love them for who they are?

Marriage Missions International