It doesn’t matter how much you love someone, they are going to do things that annoy you. When you get married, you’ll find even more things about a person that can frustrate you.
Have you ever found yourself having a trivial spat with your spouse? A lot of times, it starts out over something small and turns into a huge fight by the end of it. Both people have no idea how the conversation got where it ended up.
There is Often An Underlying Problem
Sometimes, the fight genuinely is over the fact that your spouse did something that bothers you. Generally speaking, the action strikes a chord in you that brings up an issue you’ve been having with one another.
For example, say the husband leaves his socks in the floor next to the bed at the end of each night. The next morning, he doesn’t put them in the hamper, but leaves the socks where they fell.
The wife happens by, notices that socks, and immediately feels like the husband left the task for her to do. Begrudgingly, she picks them up and puts them in the hamper.
It’s such a simple task right? Why couldn’t the husband just do it on his own instead of leaving it for his wife?
Here are a few things that are likely happening in this type of situation.
- Putting socks in the hamper every morning is not a priority to the husband.
- He didn’t leave them for the wife to pick up. He doesn’t care if the socks stay there.
- The wife cares if the socks are in the floor and feels like the husband has left the task for her.
- She cleans up after her husband, and he doesn’t come home and say thank you, because it doesn’t occur to him.
- If the wife feels like she constantly has to clean up after her husband and he never acknowledges it, the wife feels taken advantage of and underappreciated.
- The fight happens because of sock, but it is really on account of insecurities on the wife’s part and ignorance on the husband’s part.
Does this sound about right to you? I know that I’ve gotten frustrated with Austin and he’s gotten frustrated with me over really small things. However, these small things represent larger issues at play.
Don’t Start Nuttin’ Won’t Be Nuttin’- Resolving Conflict in Marriage
Around here, we have a saying,
“Don’t start nuttin’, won’t be nuttin’”.
If you’re not from the ghetto like us, you can interpret it like this, “If you don’t start a fight, then there won’t be a fight”.
Don’t misunderstand me here. I’m not suggesting that you don’t address actual issues in your marriage. However, there is a right time and a right way to address these issues.
If you walk in the living room with dirty socks in your hand and throw them at him while he’s watching tv…well…there’s going to be a fight. Even if you aren’t that obvious with him, and just make a snide remark about how he never picks up socks, a fight is coming.
Stop Fighting and Start Communicating
Ever watch your kids get in an argument? It’s like they need a translator or something. You can see what they are feeling and why their sibling has annoyed them. They do not communicate the way they feel, rather, they are reactionary.
When you are reactionary towards your spouse, you only make things worse. Stop re-acting to the things your spouse does to annoy you.
Instead, figure out why their actions bug you.
What is the underlying problem at play?
Once you understand your own emotions, then you can go to them and share with them why their actions bother you.
A husband who doesn’t care about socks in the floor, will never get to the underlying problem on his own. How in the world can he equate dirty socks with having an ungrateful attitude towards the wife? She has to find a way to explain it to him.
What if He Doesn’t Put His Socks In the Hamper?
Even if you go to your spouse in the right manner regarding your problems, that doesn’t mean they will change their actions. It would be great if they chose to, but you aren’t guaranteed that.
There is no way to force your spouse to make the changes you are asking them to make.
The only thing you can do in life, is change yourself.
Going in line with the sock situation, if your husband doesn’t put his socks in the hamper, what do you do? You have two choices…live with it, or pick up after him. If you choose to pick up after him, it is not because you were forced, it is because you can’t let it go.
Change Your Mindset
If you go to your spouse and they do not change their actions, even after you explain how it makes you feel, it’s time to change you. You can’t change them. If you try to force them into doing what you want, you’ll only succeed in damaging your relationship.
To you, their action tells you that they do not appreciate you. To them, dirty socks are not an issue and they are not trying to communicate to you that you are not appreciated.
Instead of seeing it from your point of view, see it from their point of view.
Stop taking it the way you think they mean it, and take it the way they actually mean it.
If your spouse tells you that they are intentionally trying to hurt you, that is a different story. I’m willing to bet, more often than not, they have no idea what their actions are saying to you.
Why Shouldn’t They Have to Change Their Actions?
It would be really nice if we had a marriage rule book that everyone had to follow in cases like this. That isn’t reality, though. Maybe you think that they have to change their actions because it is hurting your feelings.
It would be nice if they did change their actions, but they aren’t under obligation to. It doesn’t even mean that they do not love you, because they didn’t change their actions. What it usually means, is that what you’ve asked them to change is not a priority or a big deal to them, so they don’t follow through.
“That’s not fair!”, you say. Oh…I hear ya…it’s not fair, but we weren’t promised fair. Life is not fair, stop trying to make it fair.
Believe me, you don’t want life to be fair. If it was, then Jesus would have never died on the cross for our sins, and we would all go to hell…that would only be fair.
Your Feelings Are Your Responsibility
Instead, you need to take all the responsibility of your feelings. Don’t make it your spouse’s responsibility to make you happy or to fix things for you. Otherwise, you are going to be very disappointed in your marriage.
Yes, you can ask your husband or wife to change what they do as a way to help you manage your emotions. If they don’t, then it is up to you to decide how you will feel about something.
You can go on being offended, or swallow your pride and move on.
Change Your Actions
Since it is their dirty socks, and their side of the bed, they get to decide to leave the socks in the floor. Maybe you think, “If I don’t pick up after them, it’ll never get done”…you’re right, it may not ever get done.
Although, I’m willing to bet that when your spouse runs out of clean socks, some type of action by them is going to have to occur.
You get to decide that a clean floor is important to you and pick up the mess left by your spouse. You can also decide that it is not your responsibility to clean up after them.
Other Resources About Fighting in Marriage
I’m not the only blogger out there that recognizes that fighting in marriage is a real issue. Check out what some of these others have to say about how to handle the disputes.
J shares: How to Handles Arguments in Marriage
Sheila answers: How Can I Love My Spouse If He Is Hurting Me?
JayDee shares a personal testimony of: How to Stop Fighting
Lori talks about why you should: Team Up
Tammy shares a personal story: Point the Finger at Me
In all areas of life, you decide how you will respond to a situation. You decide how you will feel about something. Then, you decide how you will handle those feelings.
Here is a great verse that I read today that I thought was fitting for marriage.
I think it is interesting that the it says to not ask why the past was better than it is today. So often, we romanticize the past and make it out to be better than what it actually was. Not only that, we only frustrate ourselves because nothing will ever be as it once was.
Relationships are progressive.
Your marriage will progress, change, and be different from week to week.
Don’t get stuck living in the past. That has never done anyone any good.
If you liked this post, you will love the one I wrote about: