I used to get annoyed by marriage books and blogs.
I felt like the writers lived in a Ken and Barbie world of perfection and the rest of us have to gawk at them while lying in the misery of the real world. If I were really honest (this series is called “confessions” right?), pastors irritated me as well. It seemed like they were indestructible. Their families were privileged to not go through any struggle (at least that’s what I thought in my mind).
I can’t say it stopped me from reading and studying marriage. Even in my days of bible college, I still had a fascination with marriage and wanted to learn more. As I began to get past my own insecurities and struggles, I began to listen to the voices speaking through the words written in pages and blogs. They were real people dealing with real issues. It’s just that they have traveled their own journey and I needed to stop comparing my marriage journey with someone else’s trek.
So we start a series of blogs today. I simply call them Confessions of a Marriage Blogger (I could probably add “pastor” in that title). It’s not necessarily a new concept but a fitting one to do as an encouragement to anyone that feels that they are alone in what they’re dealing with in their marriage.
Part 1 – We Irritate Each Other
As I opened up my laptop to start this blog, I asked Anne what irritates her about me. She cracked a smile and said in the sweetest tone, “Where do I start?”
She get’s frustrated when I use the “special pillows” on the couch.
I’m irritated with people not covering their food in the microwave. I get irritated when people (like my wife) re-heat chilli and let it splatter all over.
She get’s irritated with me when we shop. I make “sigh” noises to influence her time in the store. I can walk into a store, know what I’m looking for. She takes her time to look at everything.
I get irritated at the movies. She likes romantic comedies. When I pay that much for a movie, I want effects and explosions.
Let’s take it a step further…
She gets irritated at my anger. Anne can let something go far easier than I can. We can fight and 5 minutes later she’s over it. I’ll burn about it for a while.
I get irritated with her tones. I hear tones that set me off. She doesn’t hear what I hear and that too gets under my skin.
She is very frustrated with my inability to separate my work from “us time”. We can be out on a date and I check my phone to see an email, take a call, or answer a Facebook and wind up caught up in the ministry moment and forget the moment we’re having.
I get irritated that I’m always in “the mood” and she’s, well, not created with the same drive as me.
I could continue with our little list and fill the blog to capacity, but it may depress you and get a load of marriage counselors contacting me for intervention. What I do want do is be a lighthouse in the midst of the dark, foggy season that your marriage may be going through.
I want to breathe hope into every one of you who are wondering if there is something wrong with your marriage because you two are annoying each other. Technically, you do have something wrong. It’s called being human. When two humans with all of his/her fractures, idiosyncrasies, personalities, and backgrounds come together, it’s no wonder that you see irritations. It’s normal. In fact, I get worried if there isn’t irritations that rise. Usually it means someone or both are covering up problem because they’re trying to avoid them and/or they don’t know how to deal with conflict.
Trust me,15 years together doesn’t get rid of the irritation. But this is what I’ve learned: The struggle if irritation isn’t meant to separate you. The struggle is meant to pull you together and strengthen your oneness.
The difference between “separation” and “strengthen” are four essential elements:
1 – Christ. Keep close to Jesus and keep him as the foundation for your interactions and reactions. Let his Word and the Holy Spirit guide you and how you handle each other. Colossians 3:15 (MSG) says “Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives.”
2 – Perspective. Make sure you step back to get God’s perspective on what is going on. Too often, OUR perspective is OUR reality. I love what Colossians also says “So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, actlike it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective (3:1-2).” Perhaps you need to get His perspective as well as your spouses. Perhaps you need to forgive and walk in forgiveness.
3 – Humility. Many a marriage has broken up over irritations that could have easily been handed. But over time, they stacked up because someone didn’t or couldn’t lower their pride and admit faults and failures. The truth is: the irritating behavior wasn’t the end of the marriage. It was pride. Proverbs 29:23 says “Pride lands you flat on your face; humility prepares you for honors.” Prepare your marriage for honor by being humble.
4 – Sense of Humor. If you’ve read my blogs or heard my marriage teaching, you knew this was coming. It’s time to lighten up and get a sense of humor. You spouse IS going to be annoying. But then again, SO ARE YOU!!!!. Lighten up and learn to (prepare for a cliché) not to make a mountain out of a molehill. On of my favorite scriptures is Proverbs 17:22 “A cheerful disposition is good for your health; gloom and doom leave you bone-tired.” Stop fostering a “bone-tired” marriage and bring your marriage some health. Start to laugh.
Part 1 is a simple start to this “confessions” series. But it is an essential reminder that none of us are perfect. It doesn’t stop us for striving for the best, but it’s the “heads-up” to cut our spouse and ourselves a little bit of slack.
Try not to be annoying.
Try to be forgiving.
Laugh and live.
Thanks for letting me ramble…