I have a continuous goal in life among many: The goal of being easy to live with. It's not as uncomplicated as it sounds, because being irritating comes naturally to most of us.
In fact, both people in a marriage relationship have irritating habits. Does your husband pitch his socks at the hamper, leaving them on the floor overnight? Don't even tell me. But do you routinely repeat yourself, as if your husband needs a refresher course in English?
Everybody has something that makes them, well, annoying in some small way.
The goal of being "good company" is important for any relationship, but especially the relationship between a husband and wife. Here are a few ways that we can be hard on the nerves:
1. We're tuned to the "History Channel."
This is the place where we bring up things that he did wrong from any time in the past decade (or more)! This is an irritating habit, but we can only feel the irritation when it's being done to us. "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets." (Matt. 7:12) Would you like your husband to recite your transgressions from the day you said "I Do"? I didn't think so.
2. We're tuned to the "Nitpick Channel."
Ah, the channel of major itchy-scratchiness. "Don't leave your cellphone there. Please take off your shoes when you come in the house (guilty, even if I say "pretty please"). Can't you find the clothes hamper?" After a while, we stop sounding like "wife" and start sounding like "Crabby Momma." Where is the reverence in this misbehavior? Nowhere. "Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband." (Eph. 5:33) "Aha!" you may say. "The Bible talks to the husband in this verse before instructing the wife! If my husband would love me like he's supposed to, then I could reverence him!" I've heard variations of this argument before, but I've never seen it produce anything other than a standoff. Here's something to try: Reverence your husband because it's right, and leave the rest to God.
3. We're tuned to the "Cold Shoulder Channel."
He offended you, and you're hurt, so you're icing him out. You are so cold, you make Minnesota look tropical. He knows he's in trouble, but can't find the button marked "reset" because you've hidden it. Most of us have at least one appliance that has a reset button, which is there to push when you want to get things working again. When you hide the reset button, you're trying to keep things broken. Get out of the "me first" position and look at things from his point of view. This requires effort, but an impartial judge of your situation could easily do it. Before you chill your marriage into trouble, forgive and press reset. "He that is first in his own cause seemeth just; but his neighbour cometh and searcheth him." (Prov. 18:17) Have you ever noticed how poorly the cold-shoulder works anyway? Your husband gets to snore and smack his lips as he eats an imaginary steak in his sleep, while you lay there wide-awake and fuming!
Don't allow little things to become big irritations. Communicate, and if the little things are still happening (like socks in front of the hamper), purpose in your heart not to be cantankerous about such small stuff. How much will those little things matter tomorrow? Pick up the socks and carry on.
"Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands." (Prov. 14:1)