It happened again last week, didn't it? Your spouse for the umpteenth time did that thing you just cannot stand. If he loved you enough he would change, right? If she really cared she would follow the example you set, no? But you already know that is not going to happen. What if there is a better way?

The Essential Quality for a Successful Marriage

I remember when Melanie and I were dating. In the beginning every email and phone call was an affirmation of her interest in me. Each date more strongly cemented our relationship. I think she felt the same. After all she married me.

And her quirks of character endeared me.

But let's be realistic. After many years of marriage formerly cute idiosyncrasies drive you crazy. Nostalgia for the early days of your relationship is ineffective for combating their irritation. You need a long-term, sustainable strategy. Here it is:

Develop selective absentmindedness

Next time your spouse commits annoyance immediately distract yourself. Hum a verse from a favorite ditty. True, you may get the song stuck in your head but isn't that better than an argument with your loved one? Change the conversation. Tell yourself a joke. There is nothing like a smile to spur forgetfulness.

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I am not suggesting you overlook self-destructive behaviors or ones that truly undermine the foundation of your marriage. But you should not allow tiffs over annoying habits to become skirmishes in a battle over more important matters. Nor should they become a means of avoiding significant challenges.

Before considering the habit you want your spouse to change, think about the arduous road ahead. Where will the love, attention, and discipline in your marriage best be put to use? Save it for the major issues.

For a successful marriage,  practice intentional, judicious denial. Forget about the little things, literally. At the end of your day, journal something positive about your spouse. You will reinforce her good qualities and strengthen your selective absentmindedness.

Question – How do you deal with your spouse’s annoying habits?

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© , Kevin S. Bemel, All Rights Reserved

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