This week, Lamar and I were interviewed for an episode of the Lastinglove Couples Talk Show that airs on OhTv in the UK. The interview was for a Valentine’s episode…so they asked us all sorts of questions about each other (sort of like a Newlywed Game). They separated us, and then asked questions like: “What are your spouses bad habits?” Wow….I really know some secrets about Lamar that could embarrass him (and vice versa). But sticking to our cardinal rule, never talk bad about your spouse in public, I gave them one bad habit that would not be too embarrassing…but was true: Lamar works too much! He is a workaholic.
And, I had every bit of confidence that Lamar was going to stick to our rule and not embarrass me either. Because, I do have some bad habits (although I rarely admit that to him). You see, I am too busy focusing on his bad habits to notice mine. Don’t judge me…I know I’m not the only spouse doing that.
Shooooot….it’s not hard to notice that he leaves hairs on his sink after he shaves, he lets clothes pile up on leather trunk at the end of the bed until I can’t stand it anymore, and he has too many piles of papers that he calls his filing system.
But can you imagine the list of my bad habits that he has floating around in his head. Late one night as we were preparing for bed, I jumped into bed before Lamar. Then I said shoot, I have a load of clothes in the washer. So I asked Lamar, who was still piddling around the room, “Babe, will you please put the clothes that are in the washer into the dryer?” He said yes and left the bedroom. Then I heard him say something in the hallway:
” Ronnie Tyler you are killing me.”
I just giggled and pulled the covers up to my eyes…I felt like a little kid peeking out from the covers.
Apparently, I had left the lights on downstairs again. So he had to go downstairs to cut them off. When he came back into the room, he didn’t even mention it. It made me realize that: 1. I get on his nerves too, 2. I also have some bad habits, and 3. He loves me in spite of my bad habits.
While many of our bad habits seem to be minuscule, all of them added up over a long period of time could wear on your spouse’s nerves. And while no one is expected to be perfect in a marriage, I think it is our responsibility to look for areas of improvement. Why, because any thing that you do to improve upon yourself will benefit your marriage.
Amy Morin, LCSW, from The Marriage Counseling Blog, says Changing Your Bad Habits Can Improve Your Marriage. She says:
“Making a change can often trigger a domino effect. Improving other areas of your life can motivate you to address problems in your relationships. Personal improvements can help you to be a better partner and can make for a happier, healthier marriage.”
Amy gives some great tips on how to make changes that stick:
- Check your motivation – are you changing for yourself or for your spouse? If you want to make lasting changes, you have to want to do it for yourself.
- Make a plan – now that YOU want to change. Document the steps on how you will achieve it….what are the actions that will get you to your desired goal?
- Get started – now that you have a plan in place…get started. And guess what, it may not be easy and it may take some time. But don’t give up.
- Work with your spouse – tell your spouse about your goals for improvement so that your spouse can provide you with encouragement, support, and a level of accountability towards achieving your goals.
The next time your spouse is getting on your nerves with their bad habits, keep in mind that they are probably thinking the same thing about you. And then think of how grateful you are that your spouse loves you in spite of your bad habits. It will help you to put things into perspective. Then take it a step further, and start changing some of your own bad habits. I promise you that you’ll feel better and your marriage will be better off too. It may also motivate your spouse to make some changes as well. But it starts with you!
BMWK — Does your spouse have bad habits that just get on your nerves? How do you keep those things from causing major problems in your marriage. Do you recognize that you too bring bad habits into the relationship?