“I just can’t do it anymore.”
I don’t care what “it” is. Laundry. Sex. The whole happily ever after.
We’ve all felt this way at one point. Or said it. Or screamed it across the living room at a shocked husband.
How did it happen? We were head-over-heels in love when we got married. Then we began to drift apart. We started to resent each other. And now we feel so unhappy.
When I first thought “I can’t do it,” all my fingers were pointed at my husband. Until one day, I realized my frustration was my own fault. I was ruining my own marriage in three big ways.
Are you ruining your marriage too?
These three faulty attitudes are sure to tear your relationship down. See if any of these mindsets sound familiar to you.
- The martyr
I’m a wife. It’s my job. I’ll do everything around here, and get no thanks for it whatsoever. And there’s nothing I can do about it.
But I’m going to let my husband know how miserable and resentful I feel. Watch me slam the dishes in the dishwasher. Fling the wet laundry in the drier. Huff and puff extra loud so he can hear how hard it is for me to take out the trash by myself.
I’m stuck with this job.
- Shut up and quit
When we got home from church, my husband took off his dress clothes and tossed them down in front of the closet. What. the. heck. It would have taken him like 3 extra seconds to hang his clothes up again. If he loved me enough, he would just do it himself. He expects me to do everything.
Well that’s it.
I’m not hanging up his clothes, or putting his shoes in the closet, or making his lunches. And I’m not going to say anything about it either. I shouldn’t have to. He should just know to do things himself.
- Beat the problem with a stick
He doesn’t care how I feel. Maybe he doesn’t know how I feel. Well I’m going to let him know. Ohhhh boyyy I am! I’m going to tell him just how wrong he squeezes the toothpaste. I’m going to explain the right way to load the dishwasher. I’m going to send him back to turn the bedroom light on. He’s going to hear from me. And I’m going to tell him as many times as it takes. Until he does it right.
Have you done any of these? All of them? Yeah, me too.
And it didn’t make me happy. Each of these attitudes drove a wedge between me and my husband. I grew more and more irritated that my problems weren’t being solved.
I was too focused on me.
And not enough focused on us.
Every marriage hits road bumps. The euphoria of young love wears off, and we find out we have habits that annoy the snot out of each other.
We have choices to make.
You can go at the problem like a martyr. You can ignore it and hope it will go away. You can harass each other about every little trivial thing that drives you nuts.
Or you can find a healthy balance.
- Choose to be generous
Some things are easier to do for your spouse.
It’s not hard to grab your husband’s laundry off the bathroom floor at the same time you scoop yours up, and dump it all in the hamper. It doesn’t cost you anything. Your attitude is what costs you.
You can choose to be resentful, or you can choose to be generous. If picking up his laundry is no problem, tell yourself that. Practice verbalizing the good. Seriously, say it out loud to yourself. “Picking up laundry is no problem.” It does wonders for your attitude, trust me.
- Verbalize your needs
Other times, it really is a pain in the butt to do things your husband could do for himself.
It really does bother you that he leaves his soda cans teetering next to the sky-high pile of dishes in the sink. They always come crashing down when you’re up to your elbows in the suds. But you’re not helpless.
You can handle the situation.
Respectfully tell him how much harder it makes things for you. Ask him to rinse his own cans and put them in the recycle bin, because that would help you so so much (bat your eyelashes). You may need to remind him a few times, but take a deep breath first and do it with patience and love. Lose the biting sarcasm.
Things can change with enough time, effort and communication.
- Choose your battles
With the small stuff, find balance.
Under no circumstances should you harp on your spouse. Bring up the important issues with healthy communication. If it’s important to you that he turns off the light when he leaves a room, remind him. And tell him why. You want to save on electricity? That’s fine. But do it rationally and without nagging.
And let the little things go. Choose your battles.
Should it really ruin your day if he squeezes the toothpaste haphazardly like a maniac? Probably not. So don’t micromanage his life. Let his little quirks be part of who he is. Learn to accept his differences.
Turn it around
Have you been ruining your marriage?
It’s time to turn things around. To make better choices.
Trade the martyr mentality with a generous attitude. When you want to shut up and quit, hang in there and verbalize your needs. And if you find yourself beating every small problem to death, take a step back and choose your battles.
You can do this marriage thing. Happily ever after is hard, but it’s worth it.
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