Does your spouse have any flaws, or those little things that they do that are annoying?
Joe and I have dirty laundry too. The problem for me, is Joe often leaves his dirty laundry on the floor, namely shirts. Or on the chair we have in the corner of our room. You know that feeling, when you walk into your bedroom and your first reaction is really? Now granted, to be fair, Joe feels the same way when he takes a dish out of the cabinet and thinks, how did this dish pass inspection and get put away with this piece of crud on it? Guilty.
But how we react when we are annoyed or frustrated with the habits of our spouse speaks a lot about out hearts. And it’s not about whose standard of cleanliness you need to adhere too. The level of pride in our hearts will correlate with our level of annoyance.
Recently there were a few days of shirts on the floor, and at first I chose to overlook it. But as that annoyance grew inside me, I figured I could at least mention it to Joe. And I tried to politely, and with a smile on my face, ask him to work on picking up his shirts. Especially since the arm char was right there, couldn’t he just put them on the arm chair?
The Joe mentioned, that I had told him numerous times that I don’t like his shirts on the arm chair. Well, yes, I have said that, but that doesn’t mean I want them on the floor? Then we we were dangerously close to, are we going to dig up that old argument? The chair?
Anyway, even as I tried to address it with love, the disdain in my heart came out. My words communicated, Like what kind of idiot, would leave their shirts on the floor. Don’t you know better? You failed pretty badly there, kiddo.
I fall in this trap. Even the simplest of Joe’s mistakes and my pride responds with…. I’m better than that, and that’s not a mistake I would make.
The secret is to separate the problem from the person.
This was advice Joe and I learned early in our marriage but has taken us years to learn and I still need to be reminded of this. The problem was the laundry. And I made Joe into the problem. I can address the issue of the laundry without making it into a personal attack. Well, at least that’s the plan. I would only want him to do the same with me!
Our pride will always find ways to make ourselves better-than. When I can look at Joe and not make him the problem, we have a much better chance of solving whatever problem we are facing. We become partners rather than adversaries!
Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant. 1 Corinthians 13:4