Please Stop Doing That!
The happiness of most people we know is not ruined by great catastrophes or fatal errors, but by the repetition of slowly destructive little things. ~ Ernest Dimnet

Psychology Today recently featured an article “You’re Driving Me Crazy!”on its website. It was enlightening¬† but also a little long, so I’ve written a short(er) summary highlighting the main points.

In a perfect world we could change our mates by eliminating those annoying things they say and do. But, a perfect world it’s not, and no one is without a few faults and foibles — including ourselves.

Major events can, and do, impact our relationships and cause us to explode in anger (infidelity, bankruptcy, addictions, etc.), but the real danger lies in the little things that occur every day. Tedious and simple acts or comments insidiously seep in and can, over time, take root in our hearts, creating a mountainous heap of bitterness, resentment, self-pity, and more.

Dirty laundry left here and there (everywhere except the laundry bin),¬† toilet seats left up, cosmetics splayed all over the bathroom counter, a laugh that’s too loud or too high-pitched…anything here sound familiar?

If we’re searching for marriage utopia, where irritations don’t exist, there’s grand disappointment at the end of the journey. It’s impossible for two people to come together without some clashing of attitudes and lifestyles.

“We each have differing values and ways of looking at the world, and we want different things from each other. Such differences derive from our genetically influenced temperaments, our belief systems, and experiences growing up in our family of origin,” explains Diane Sollee, family therapist and founder of SmartMarriages.

So what’s a girl to do? Start by recognizing the two opportunities for change: your habits and your interpretations. I know, you were looking for the words “him” and “his bad habits,” but those things are beyond your control. Criticizing and prodding won’t have the impact you desire, so let’s get back to the real opportunities for change.

First, take a fresh look at your own quirky ways that annoy your mate and consider changing those things that are more habit than necessity. Yes, most of us are close to perfect (sure), but there might just be something you say or do that, for your spouse, is akin to fingernails on a chalkboard.

Secondly, become purposeful in adjusting your perspective. Realize that much of what your spouse does is out of habit, not the intent to hurt, ignore or aggravate you. Sounds easy, but it’ll require some practice on your part.

And just for fun, straight from the article:

When asked to rate their top relationship irritants, men and women give strikingly different answers, reports University of Louisville psychologist Michael Cunningham. Here’s what grates on us most:

Men’s complaints about women:

  • the silent treatment
  • bringing up things he’s done in the distant past
  • being too hot or too cold
  • being critical
  • being stubborn and refusing to give in

Women’s complaints about men:

  • forgetting important dates, like birthdays or anniversaries
  • not working hard at his job
  • noisily burping or passing gas
  • staring at other women
  • being stubborn and refusing to give in

If you’d like to read the entire article, You’re Driving Me Crazy!, click on the following link