Have you ever noticed that it’s the little things in marriage that get to you? The things that maybe you found cute or quirky when you were first together start seeming, well, annoying, after years of exposure. The indulgent smile is replaced by a grimace, the laugh by outright anger.
For me, it’s my husband and his socks. They’re literally all over the house. I’ll find one in the kitchen and one in the dining room, one under the coffee table and one on the steps. When we were first married, I would laugh; it was so absurd. Now, after so many years and after having to clean up after all the little people in my life, it doesn’t seem so cute anymore.
But, if I’m completely honest, the tables could easily be turned. You see, I am NOT a morning person. Not even a little bit. If you try to talk to me in the morning, at the best all you’re going to get is grunts, at the worst . . . well, I usually can stifle my impulse to tell you to go away or shut up, but I might just glare at you and hope you take the hint. If you try to give me a hug, my instinct is to shove you away. In other words, “Leave me alone until I have a cup of coffee for crying out loud!!”
The only problem is, even after eleven years of marriage to this very grumpy morning person, my husband still expects me to magically wake up one morning and be a chipper, chatting morning person. Not gonna happen!
This morning, he decided he was going to try to get me out of it. He tried jokes, he tried acting silly. He tried affection. He and Gavin even put oreos on their eyes and pretended to be zombies who were going to come after me, which any other time of day I would have found quite entertaining. In the morning, all it got was a grunt and a roll of the eyes.
The truth is it left him feeling angry and frustrated and me feeling exasperated at the fact that even after so many years, he doesn’t understand me enough to just back off and let me be me in the morning.
I’m sure he found it quite cute when we first got together, kind of like him and the socks. I can tell the cuteness has worn off and now it’s just terribly annoying, and yet, I’m honest enough with myself to acknowledge that this one isn’t going to change. He’s going to have to find a way to live with it . . . kind of like me and the socks I guess.
Marriage is full of compromise. We hear that one all the time and it’s true. But it’s also about patience and acceptance, even when we’d much rather the person just change.
The way I look at it, the annoying stuff is only about 5% of my husband. The other 95% is everything I love about him. It’s only when I allow that 5% to loom large and get out of focus that things become hard.
Most marriages break up over the 5% and yet, the reality is, everybody is going to have that 5%; it just takes a while before you see it! So, if I expect him to accept the things I can’t change, maybe I’d better extend the same grace to him.
Now there’s a thought! 🙂
What are the once endearing giants you now struggle with in your own relationships? What do you do to get those giants to shrink back down to dwarfish size?