Do you ever think, “Why does my husband irritate me so much?”
Early in our marriage, I had no shortage of reasons to be irritated.
If he brought home flowers and we were on a tight budget, I was annoyed. If he picked up my favorite snack and I was on a diet, I was annoyed.
If he wanted to get intimate and I’d had a long day, I was annoyed.
I didn’t realize I was hurting my marriage.
Annoyance is like silent criticism. And criticism to men feels a lot like failure. You may not say anything, but your eye-rolling speaks volumes. When we’re constantly annoyed at our husbands, we may make them feel like they don’t measure up.
Does this sound like you?
- Roll your eyes and tell your kids to change their clothes after he dresses them
- Remake the bed after he makes it
- Start wiping up crumbs he’s missed after he cleans the kitchen
- Reload the dishwasher after he loads it
- Express irritation because the baby’s diaper is on so loosely it looks like its’s going to fall off
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For us, it’s just a roll of the eyes or an over-exaggerated sigh. But for him, we’re communicating much more.
These acts may seem insignificant to us, but according to Shaunti Feldhahn, author and relationship researcher, seemingly little things can make a man feel inadequate. The easiest way to describe it for women is the feeling you get when that little voice whispers “you’re not enough.” We all hate that feeling. But that’s exactly how he feels when we’re critical.
Criticism, even if it’s not vocal, tears him down.
When I’m tempted to express irritation at my husband, I use the “Rule of 5.” This one simple thing made a huge difference in my marriage.
Rule of 5
The “Rule of 5” isn’t my genius, but it works.
When my husband does something that upsets or irritates me, I ask myself, “Will this matter in five months?”
Most of the time, I find it won’t. It might not even matter in five days.
But the impact of my bad attitude on him may matter in five years. When everything irritated me, the result was a grumpy, disengaged, distant husband.
Before you start down a path that may end up in frustration and hurt feelings, try the Rule or 5.
Even after all these years of marriage, some of my husband’s quirks can still get on my nerves from time to time.
Before expressing irritation, I use the Rule of 5.
The next time you feel irritation coming on, ask yourself, “Will this matter in 5 minutes? 5 days? 5 years?”
If the answer is “no,” let it go.
Need skills to build intimacy?
- Get on the waitlist for my next group coaching session–Change Your Mind; Change Your Marriage.
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Also known as the Not So Excellent Wife, Sheila Qualls understands how tiring a tough marriage can be.
She went from the brink of divorce to a thriving marriage by translating timeless truths into practical skills. She’s helped women just like you get the marriages they yearn for.
She and her husband Kendall live in Minnesota. They have five children and a Black Lab named Largo.
In addition to coaching, Sheila is a member of the MOPS Speaker Network. Her work has been featured on the MOPS Blog, The Upper Room, Grown and Flown, Scary Mommy, Beliefnet, Candidly Christian, Crosswalk.com, The Mighty and on various other sites on the Internet.