What are some of your husband’s annoying habits? Does he smoke? Is it the way he slurps his cereal or cracks his knuckles? Is it the way he breathes, as one woman once complained?
The longer you’ve been married, the longer your list of pet peeves is bound to be.
It’s not so much that your husband has added more bad habits over the years, but simply that the ones that were easy to put up with in the early days of your marriage have gradually eaten away at your nerves. Now they’ve reached that really tender spot that makes you yell “Ouch!” —and the honeymoon Novocain has worn off.
How can you deal with your husband’s annoying habits?
Try speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). Point out to your husband, in a calm voice and preferably with a sense of humor, that what he is doing really irritates you. Perhaps he’ll make an effort to change his ways. Old habits are very hard to break, though, so don’t expect miracles.
Once the behavior has been named, you can express your feelings the next time he repeats it. It’s far better to say, “You’re really irritating me again,” than to actually be driven crazy by holding in the anger.
Meanwhile, try to admit that you may have irritating habits yourself. Perhaps if you ask your husband to identify your little quirks and then spend time working on those, you won’t keep concentrating on his.
If this approach doesn’t work, consider wearing a “What Would Jesus Do?” bracelet. The bracelet itself might not be an ideal choice for your jewelry collection. But its motto is well worth remembering — especially at stressful moments. I’ve been thinking about printing “What Would Jesus Do?” on a sticky note and attaching it to our bathroom mirror. Then the next time I find the cap-less tube of toothpaste lying in a pool of sticky, cool mint gel, I might not lose my cool.
Take Your Complaints to the Lord
Don’t forget to pray for your husband. Ask for patience. Take your complaints to the Lord and leave them there. Trust Him to make things better between the two of you.
It might also help to write a list of things that are irritating you to distraction. When you look at it, you’ll see how insignificant most of the items are. True, fleas and ants are irritating despite their tiny size. But we need to develop a new attitude about this small stuff. We need to heed to the title of Richard Carlson’s book, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff … and It’s All Small Stuff. Let’s stop sweating and start counting to 10.
Once we’ve calmed down, we can start developing compassion for our mates —in spite of their irritating habits. (This sounds like something Jesus would do, doesn’t it?) As author Claudia Arp notes, it helps to remember that we are to “cleave” (Genesis 2:24) to our spouses for life. “Cleaving,” writes Claudia, “means sticking together no matter what. It’s about giving each other permission to be less than perfect.” (This probably includes eating one’s cereal in a less than perfect way.) She suggests that we lighten up.
“There are times in marriage where you’ll either laugh or cry. Dave and I have decided if at all possible, we’ll choose laughter over tears.”
I opt for laughter —and I hope you do, too.
Don’t Touch That Button
Let’s look at two other areas where control battles are waged daily between spouses. We’re talking about television viewing and thermostat settings.
Many couples have different tastes when it comes to TV programs. The obvious solution is to purchase a second television set.
I wouldn’t recommend that for newlyweds. But seasoned couples —especially those who find themselves together 24 hours a day —can afford to spend a little time apart. Television viewing is one area where compromising seldom works It’s unrealistic to expect a sports television fan to convert a Food Cooking Network fan, or vice versa.
If buying a second television set isn’t possible, try watching one show while taping another. Unfortunately, my husband and I can’t agree on who gets to see the live production and who has to wait to view the tape. That’s why we have “his” and “her” TV sets. There’s one upstairs, one downstairs. (I take the upstairs because it’s so much warmer up there!)
The Thermostat Battle
Speaking of temperature, thermostats are a problem for many couples. You and your mate may be a perfect match, but chances are that your metabolisms are not. Control of the thermostat appears to be edging out the battle over the TV remote when it comes to the major source of arguments among spouses. One mate typically shivers while the other swelters and shouts of “Who messed with the thermostat?” echo off the walls.
At our house, it is considered a federal crime to move the thermostat needle more than one notch at a time. Just to be seen lurking near the thermostat is cause for suspicion. Short of installing a security camera, I don’t have a solution for this problem.
It would seem logical to keep the temperature at a low setting and let the cold-blooded ones grab a sweater and pile on the blankets. The less logical alternative would be to hitch it up to 80 degrees and let warm-blooded family members pass out from the heat. But when I voiced my opinion at a recent workshop, I was bombarded with hisses. I had unknowingly stumbled into a pit of cold-blooded creatures whose cry was, “Take it off, take it off,” rather than, “Pile it on.”
Because of this reaction, I no longer offer solutions. Instead, I ask for suggestions. One woman volunteered her husband’s unusual remedy: “He thinks I should go in for a blood transfusion once a month.” Thin-blooded people, take note!
The thermostat war will continue to rage for a long time. This is one area in which your compromising skills will be put to the test.
The Choice Is Yours
When it comes to dealing with the things about our husband that drive us to distraction, it pays to keep things in perspective. Commentator Andy Rooney might have had that in mind when he wrote these words in a list called “What I’ve Learned”:
• I’ve learned that being kind is more important than being right.
• I’ve learned that when you harbor bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere.
• And I’ve learned that one should keep his words both soft and tender. That is because tomorrow you may have to eat them.
• I’ve learned that I can’t choose how I feel, but I can choose what I do.
We can’t help it if our husband gets on our nerves at times. But we can help what we do with our angry feelings. We can choose to count to ten, shoot off a prayer for patience, or laugh it off. I think I’ll go for all three.
This article is adapted from the book, “Honey I’m Home for Good… The ABC’s of Lovin’ and Livin’ with Your Stay-at-Home Hubby.” It is written by Mary Ann Cook. This was a Focus on the Family book.
More from Marriage Missions
Filed under: For Married Women
16 responses to “Coping With Your Husband’s Annoying Habits”
(KENYA) How helpful!!!!!
(SOUTH AFRICA) I have decided to calm down, breathe and think of something pleasant or something nice my husband has done for me. This way his annoying habit won’t get to me as bad as it used to, to the point that I got so angry and started a fight. So I think I might start putting the sticky notes "what would Jesus do".
(UK) Wonderful… I am going to try this!
(USA) I read your comment about annoying habits of your husband. Dear heart, be thankful you have a husband to endure his annoying habits. I pray and cry out to God everyday, sometimes 3 times a day to bring my husband back to me, annoying habits and all. I would love to hear his snore, hum while he eats, cough that irritating sounding cough, bite his nails and spit them across the room, okay, I won’t "gross" you out any longer, but you get the picture. Just to have him in my life again, I would overlook all of that and just love him one more time. God bless both of you. Just smile and love him.
Let us allow ourselves to be honest and post about things that annoy us, without guilt that others try to impose upon us. Not everyone has measures of patience or even love at certain stages in their marriage and they’re looking for support. I pray singles, widows and divorced people will find a spouse to share joys AND hardships. There are some sweet, kind people that deserve companionship, there’s no doubt. However, it’s in God’s hands if and when it’ll happen.
Sometimes one spouse is exhausted and has a right to laugh or seek support in the things they find annoying. Not all people are pleasant to live with but we’re called to be obedient so let us seek counsel without judgement.
(AUSTRALIA) I thought that marriage meant I would be a stay at home mum and housewife. He expects me to work and do all the cleaning and doesn’t even want to start a family yet. I am 28 and sick of having to feel bad for getting a hair cut. He won’t let me get my hair colored. He is a tight wad!
(CANADA) Heyy skye! You should be real happy that your husband cares for you; he notices you and suggests the good for you as he doesnt want you to colour your hair. He wants you to look the way he likes. There are few men who do even care what their wives are doing and how they’re dressed. They’re just busy in thier own lives. Believe me, the simple things make life more precious for both of you.
(USA) Tightwad or a wise steward of resources. It’s all a matter of perspective. Which perspective will you choose? Will you give your husband or wife the benefit of the doubt (wise steward) or will you cut him/her down and call them a tight wad.
The wise spouse chooses to give the benefit of the doubt. The fool assumes the worst and discounts the trait as bad.
(ZIMBABWE) Thank you for that word, truly words of wisdom. I think it’s important for us before we look at the bad habits to look back at the foundations of our marriages. Is God the foundation of your marriage? Because if HE IS, HE will not leave nor forsake you. It’s only Him who can best teach you how to face and deal with the bad habits. In all this lets not forget that God, the Holy Spirit, is with us and He alone can teach us, give us direction and reveal to us hidden things. Let us not be taken by suprise in our marriages but let all things be revealed to us before hand so that we are always prepared.
(NIGERIA) What a wonderful work you are doing please keep it up. The Lord will add grace and strenght to you the more.
(INDIA) But what if all time you waited for so many years that things will be good enough and nothing changed to your expectations? I’m realy angry now and feel pity for myself, because nothing in this whole world appears as I wish it to be as per my expectations.
Don’t allow people to tell you that a woman is wrong for being tired of her husband’s annoying habits. If the man had all the chores to do, these SAME people would be telling the wife that she is wrong for messing up his clean housework. We always seem to switch our words in these marriage blogs, around when it is time to accomodate, to defend a husband’s sins. Why do we do this?
Are we deliberately trying to be evil and cruel to women or what? Are we insecure, or what is the reason why we scold women when a man does his wife wrong? Why? Why can’t we just defend her and for once just admit that he is wrong and he should respect her enough to apologize. He should not have such a big ego the he can not admit his wrong doing and then just open his mouth and apologize. And for goodness sakes, this is no time to submit or be respectful to the man who has disrespected all of his wife’s efforts!!!
I feel you my sister. I will be praying for you to find strength.
Hi there…I wanted to share my experience with you guys. The TV remote control has been an issue between me ann my hubby since the day we married. He has irritated me so much to date that he never ever lets me watch any channel for more than 5 minutes. He has even badly taunted me for watching cooking or dancing shows as to questioning my IQ. He watches ghost movies or irritating fighting movies or Cricket all the time. I have interest in none: I’m a well educated girl for God’s sake.
For the last year or so my interest in watching TV was completely gone. But as my two daughters are less demanding of my constant attention and care I wished for some time for myself. It gets emotionally and physically tiring by the end of the day, so much so that I don’t have energy to read nowadays…so I wish to watch TV for half an hour or an hour at max, but he doesn’t give me that chance to. We have two TV sets but today he got angry when I went to watch TV in the other room. He just gets on my nerves…uh!
I have asked my husband several times to invest in the necessary supplies to fix our second television set. He knows what these are, I don’t. A new TV is not in our budget. So, when he’s watching his annoying six hours an evening of FOX News, or – as he is doing tonight, playing the music so loud I can’t hear myself think in the front room – I retreat to our bedroom. Or I leave the house all together. Not what I want to be doing, but after 17 years of marriage I do what I can to make the marriage work.
What if the habit actually causes you harm? How do you just suck it up and smile? If for example he smokes in the house endangering you and the children? Or closer to my home, he comes home late and so invariably we sleep late almost every day. As I result I only get 5-6 hrs of sleep a day or 4, and still have to hold down a demanding job and small kids. At some point I was diagnosed with depressive mood because of lack of sleep and chronic fatigue. I am not prepared though to go on medication for something that can be resolved by just shifting schedules. But it works out OK for him because he can sleep in as long as he likes. He gets his full 8 hrs.
Yes he will be working, and yes he provides well for us and yes he is a good daddy; and yes, he is God-fearing but this is just killing me. I get forgetful, moody, irritable to the kids, can’t concentrate at work, I sleep at my desk, yell at people at work; I often just feel like I am not coping with my life – like everything is just gonna cave in…This has been very difficult for me to handle. I have spoken, yelled, screamed, cried, calmed down again – now am just tired of talking about it. Am trying to reach the “leave it with God” stage but feel resentment still there.