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No two people are exactly alike, and sometimes the very things that we love about our spouse can also be the things that annoy us the most. Perhaps your partner is spontaneous and adventurous, while you prefer to plan everything in advance. Or maybe you are quiet and reserved, while your spouse is the life of the party. These differences can cause friction and even harm our relationships, but dwelling on them will only lead to further contention.
As Proverbs 17:9 says, “The one who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.” Instead of focusing on your partner’s annoying traits, consider looking at them in a different light. You may even discover that those traits are related to a quality that you actually admire.
For example, one woman named Chelsea found her husband’s slow pace frustrating at times, but she also appreciated his patience and laid-back attitude. Similarly, Christopher admired his wife’s precision and attention to detail, even though it could sometimes be overwhelming. And Danielle loved her husband’s calm demeanor, even though it could also seem indifferent at times.
These examples show that a person’s strengths and weaknesses are often two sides of the same coin. Getting rid of the negative trait would also mean losing the positive one. Of course, some behaviors, such as anger, do not have a positive counterpart. In those cases, we should strive to put away bitterness and anger, as Ephesians 4:31 advises.
But for other annoying traits, we should take Colossians 3:13 to heart: “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.” We should also try to find the positive aspect of the trait, which may have been one of the reasons we were attracted to our partner in the first place.
As one husband named Joseph put it, “Focusing on an annoying trait is like noticing the sharp edge of a diamond but not appreciating its brilliance.” By changing our perspective and focusing on the good in our partner, we can strengthen our relationships and promote love and understanding in our Christian family.
Philippians 2:3-4 advises us to prioritize the needs and interests of others, saying, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” This can be applied to marriage, where we should value and appreciate our spouse’s qualities and seek to understand their perspective and needs.
It is common for spouses to have certain traits that annoy us, causing friction and tension in our relationships. However, as Christians, we are called to love and forgive one another, even in our weaknesses and flaws. This includes changing our perspective on the traits that annoy us and learning to see them in a better light.
First, we should consider that the trait that annoys us in our spouse might actually be related to a quality that we admire. For example, if your spouse is slow at getting things done, you may also appreciate their patience and attention to detail. Or, if your spouse is extroverted and the life of the party, you may also appreciate their ability to make friends and bring joy to those around them.
It’s important to recognize that a person’s strengths and weaknesses are often two sides of the same coin. By getting rid of the negative trait, we would also be losing the positive one. Therefore, we should try to appreciate and value our spouse’s qualities in their entirety, not just the ones that are convenient or easy for us to accept.
Of course, some traits are genuinely harmful or negative, such as anger or deceit. In these cases, we should encourage our spouse to change and seek counseling if necessary. But for other annoying traits, we should follow the advice of Colossians 3:13 and “bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.”
By learning to see our spouse’s traits in a better light, we can strengthen our relationships and promote a culture of forgiveness and acceptance in our Christian family. We can also reflect the love and grace that God has shown us, as we all have our own weaknesses and flaws that He has forgiven us for. Ultimately, by loving and accepting our spouses in their entirety, we can create a more harmonious and fulfilling marriage that honors God.
EDWARD D. ANDREWS (AS in Criminal Justice, BS in Religion, MA in Biblical Studies, and MDiv in Theology) is CEO and President of Christian Publishing House. He has authored over 220+ books. In addition, Andrews is the Chief Translator of the Updated American Standard Version (UASV).