Does your spouse do anything that absolutely drives you nuts? Would you like to know how to “fix” them once and for all? Read on.
According to Fr. Mike Schmitz, people tend toward 3 main responses to their partner’s annoying habits: attempting to “fix” them, replacing them with something (or someone) else, or ignoring the offensive behavior. None of these are great solutions for people who want to have a committed, fulfilling relationship. Instead, he offers 3 alternatives: Accept, Delight, Love these differences.
Steph: While I see traffic congestion as a minor inconvenience, Paul is quite vocal about it. When he ranted in the car, I wanted to fix him. I judged he didn’t need to let off steam since the person he was ranting at couldn’t even hear him. I’d let him know my disapproval with exasperated sighs, harsh looks and silent treatment. Paul shared that he just needed to let off steam. Once I realized it wasn’t personal, I chose to accept his need to vent. As I started to laugh more and drop my judgement, Paul began to tone things down in the car. I began to delight when he would come up with funny sayings like, “There’s an 80 percenter.” (My beloved jokes that only 20% of people really know how to drive and the other 80% don’t). Or, “You can never be too careful” while behind someone entering the freeway at turtle speed. When I realized I didn’t need to “fix” Paul, it opened the way for me to appreciate the fact he is an excellent driver and I feel the safest when he is behind the wheel. Rather than fix him I choose to love him.
|Photo by Andreas Ronningen|
Paul: Stephanie generates energy and passion by speaking with people. She can talk about anything, with anyone, anyplace – even to a perfect stranger. Sometimes, I think she talks “too much.” I worry others may not get to participate in the conversation enough. We’ve talked about this over the years and Steph has really worked at becoming a better listener. But even when that’s not the case, I’ve moved from acceptance to delighting and even loving this difference between us. I delight in and love how I can go anywhere with Stephanie and she seems instantly at ease and comfortable with whomever is present. She mixes and socializes with whoever is in her vicinity. She’s warm, approachable, and friendly. It gives me comfort and reassurance knowing I don’t have to worry about how Steph is doing at an event where she doesn’t know anyone. I know she is fine on her own for a bit. I can’t tell you how many people have complimented Steph over the years on how kind and gregarious she is. I’m truly blessed to be married to her. And that is something to delight in and love!
This week, we encourage you to think of one specific way you can move from “fixing” to accepting, delighting in, and loving a difference between you!