Does your spouse do something that bugs, bothers or upsets you? It can be really difficult to figure out the right way to handle it. On one hand, you want to love your sweetheart for who they are and not change them, but on the other hand, you shouldn't ignore something that's making your married life unhappy.
When you don't know what to do when you're bothered by your spouse's actions, follow these three steps:
When you get bugged by something your spouse is doing, the critical first step is to take a step back and ask yourself, "Does this really matter, or is my inner nag coming out?"
For example, you might notice your sweetheart is replacing the toilet paper the "wrong" way or rolling up your shared tube of toothpaste when you like it flattened out. Yes, it's bothersome, but it's not worth getting in an argument over (and possibly hurting your sweetheart's feelings).
SOLUTION: If you answered "no" to the question "does it really matter?", you've already arrived at your solution - you don't need to bring it up. Embrace your honey's quirks and move on.
However, if you answered "yes", move on to the next step.
STEP 2: Is it a smaller habit or a big behavior?
So, you've determined your spouse's irritating actions really do matter to you. The next question you should ask yourself is whether you're dealing with a small habit or a big behavior.
For example, some wives really can't stand it when their husbands frequently belch. This is a smaller habit, but it's not something the wife can just let go because it grosses her out when he does it at home and embarrasses her in public. But how does she go about bringing it up without hurting his feelings or coming off as a nag?
SOLUTION: If you decide it's a "smaller habit", your solution is all about the way you phrase things. If you irritably say, "I'm unhappy you're doing this," and leave it at that, their feelings will get hurt and you'll sound like a nag. Instead, kindly say, "I'm unhappy you're doing this BECAUSE ... "
STEP 3: Is the behavior hurtful (to you or to themselves)?
Now that you've determined your spouse's actions really do matter and are a big behavior, the next questions you should ask yourself is if this behavior is hurtful - to you or to themselves.
For example, some wives tend to snap and shout at their husbands on a regular basis. For the husbands, this action is beyond just annoying - it's hurtful. Things need to change, but how should a husband approach his wife about the situation?
SOLUTION: If you answered "yes" to the question "is the behavior hurtful?", your solution is a thoughtful, loving discussion together. Sit down and discuss HOW and WHY their behavior is hurtful. Focusing on the how's and why's is the best way for your spouse to see the situation as it really is and understand they need to make a behavioral change. Together, discuss ideas on how you can help them change.
On the other hand, your spouse's habit may be big, but it's not hurtful. For example, some people get more relaxed with their health and fitness after marriage, which can irritate their spouses. How do you approach something like this?
SOLUTION: Your role as their loving spouse does not include insulting who they are or trying to change them. It's not healthy to force your partner to do something better. It IS healthy to look at yourself and see what you can change to improve your relationship. When both partners see each other working on themselves, they motivate each other by example.
The next time your spouse does something that bothers you, remember to use the right solution for your specific situation. When you do, you'll be able to solve the problem and show your spouse kindness and love at the same time.