Tuesday, February 7, 2012

What do you need to Learn to Overlook?

Anyone who has been married for any time; or for that matter, anyone who has ever lived in the same house with another person (such as family) has learned that other people always have annoying habits. It’s not that some people have annoying habits; no, all people have annoying habits. And yes, I know your wife does too.

That’s actually okay, because it proves that they’re human. Real people don’t live up to our fantasy expectations. Real people make mistakes. Real people have failings; and real people can be annoying. By the way, that means that you have habits which annoy your wife as well.

It might be that she leaves her trash in the car, or that she doesn’t understand computers and keeps messing things up on yours. It could also be that she clicks her nails or the way that she chews her food. How about hanging her lingerie in the shower to dry, isn’t that annoying?

In reality, these annoying irritations aren’t really all that big a deal, we just make them seem as if they are. One little habit my wife has is to leave bottles of rubbing alcohol or other substances on the front edge of our bathroom sink. I have a choice of moving them when I go in there or risking knocking them off. Isn’t that a big deal? No, it really isn’t; it only takes me a moment to move those bottles.

I remember a woman who was infuriated because her husband kept leaving his dirty clothes on the bedroom floor. The woman she went to for counseling (read: complaining) asked her the question, “How long does it take you to pick up his clothes?” to which she answered, “About 20 seconds.” Considering that she was spending much more than 20 seconds a day being upset about her husband’s untidiness, she really was wasting her time being upset.

All too often, we allow these little mole hills to become giant mountains. Instead of thanking God for the wonderful wife He’s given us, we complain to him about some stupid little thing that irritates us. What a waste of time. When we do that, we are literally overlooking all of her good points, so that we can focus on the bad. Forget about the fact that those good points are much bigger than the bad ones, in our minds, we make the little things much, much bigger.

So, how do we get out of this trap? Good question. There are two interrelated steps that will quickly help us overcome our irritation and not be bothered by these annoying habits. The first is to forgive her. I don’t mean that you need to go to her and do it in her face; just do it by yourself. Say the words, “I forgive my wife for ________.” That’s it.

The second step is to quit spending so much time thinking about those annoying habits. You can control your thoughts, when you want to. There’s no reason that you have to focus on those things. Instead, when you find yourself thinking about them, change your thoughts and start thinking about something you like about her; something you appreciate about her; even fantasizing about her would be better.

You see, when you focus on those little problems, they become big problems in your eyes. But, when you focus on the good about your wife, those little things start to diminish. Isn’t that a much better way to live?

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