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July 7, 2017

Solving An Annoying Habit

A reader asked for help with this annoying problem in her marriage.

She wrote: "My husband has a habit that I hate. He uses the toothpaste and never puts the cap back on. I have asked him about this many times. He says he will change but always after one day he goes back to the old habit. We have argued about it and he doesn't think it is a big deal but it really bothers me, it is so sloppy and inconsiderate. It has reached the point where just seeing the cap on the counter makes me want to scream. How can I get him to do this one thing?"

When our partners continue to do annoying things, it can seem as though they just don't care much about us. Why else would they refuse take a few simple actions to please us and make our lives easier? We start to feel neglected and resentful.

My husband used to get really annoyed with me because I couldn't seem to screw the lids back onto jars properly. He kept finding jars with loose lids, and it was driving him crazy.

I don't do it intentionally. For some reason, jar lids challenge me, and I prefer not to spend a lot of time struggling with them, so my attitude tends to be "close enough". As he complained more and more, I tried harder and harder to get the darn things lined up and screwed down. But I didn't always succeed. From his point of view, as he still ran into those loose lids, it seemed that I just wasn't paying attention. We both felt more and more frustrated.

Toothpaste caps. Jar lids. There are a million little things in the world that can annoy us. Or they can amuse us. Instead of growling because an otherwise competent adult can't seem to handle this one little thing, we can choose to smile about it, because every individual has little quirks and flaws that are part of the whole picture of who that person is. It's not so annoying when we see it as amusing, or endearing.

Finally, hubby and I had a clear discussion about jar lids, and we were able to let the issue go. I found this quotation from The 7 Best Things Happy Couples Do by John and Linda Friel:

"I used to get so mad at you because you left the tops off of everything. Now, when I reach for the juice and the cover falls off, I smile and think, 'Oh. She's been here recently. She's in my life. I'm so glad.'"

It's your choice.

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