3 Ways to Deal with Irritation in Marriage
by Lynette Kittle
“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evils things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” - Luke 6:45
Today it seemed like my husband was trying to do everything possible to distract me while I was trying to finish up a writing project. Seriously, he seemed to have taken creating commotion to a whole new level.
Even though I wasn’t reacting or saying anything on the outside, on the inside I was fuming, feeling so irritated and aggravated with him.
Although it doesn’t sound very Christ-like to feel that way, or much more to admit it by writing it down, it’s how I felt. So what do I do when unkind feelings arise within me? Where do I take these critical feelings?
What do I do when tempted to point a finger at him, to go over one-by-one his distracting ways in hopes of correcting his behavior?
1. Seek Self-Correction First.
Thankfully I’ve been learning how to take a moment before saying something to him by turning my finger pointing towards myself, doing self-examination and assessment, rather than telling him where he needs to straighten up.
It’s so much easier for me to ignore my own faults and focus on his weaknesses. But Matthew 7:5 urges me to first take the plank out of my own eye so I can more clearly see the speck in his eye.
It’s wise for me to look at myself first asking what might be behind my negative feelings towards him. To check and see where my irritation is rooted, even though he’s the one creating the ruckus, the negative feelings are rising up within me.
Although self-examination doesn’t mean I won’t address things with him, it helps me to settle down and be careful with my words.
As well, how I handle the situation sets a tone in our home in how other family members will respond to his behavior. My reaction has the potential to cause a ripple effect of showing grace and kindness, or strife and aggravation.
2. Ask God for Help.
Next, I ask God to help me. Maybe my husband was the one truly being thoughtless in his behavior? Even if so, 1 Thessalonians 5:15 urges me to “Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.”
After years of trying to refine my husband, looking at the good, the bad, and the ugly, taking my concerns over-and-over again to God, I’ve come to realize God is working through my husband’s behavior to refine me.
And it’s no fun. I really don’t enjoy the process. But the more I do, the more I grow in patience and love and long-suffering, which has become more important to me than my setting him straight on his behavior.
3. Value My Spouse Above Myself.
Scripture tells me to “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves” (Philippians 2:3).
Yet it’s easy for pride to raise its ugly head in my marriage, thinking what I’m doing is much more important than what he is doing.
However even if what I’m doing, like work versus plays, seems more important at the time than what he’s doing, it’s good to check myself to make sure pride is not leading my own behavior.
Regardless of whether my husband is right or wrong in his actions, it’s important for my responses towards him to become more Christ-like.
Lynette Kittle is married with four daughters. She enjoys writing about faith, marriage, parenting, relationships, and life. Her writing has been published by Focus on the Family, Decision, Today’s Christian Woman, iBelieve.com, kirkcameron.com, Ungrind.org, and more. She has a M.A. in Communication from Regent University and serves as associate producer for Soul Check TV.
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