Be a blessing not a brat. Be a joy not a jerk. Be a listener not a loud mouth. Be a peacemaker not a pain in the rear. Be safe not stubborn.
Let’s go straight to the Kendricks brothers (Love Dare):
“When under pressure love doesn’t turn sour. Minor problems don’t yield major reactions. A loving man will remain calm and patient, showing mercy and restraining his temper. A loving woman is not overly sensitive or cranky but exercises emotional self-control. She chooses to be a flower among the prickly thorns. Ask yourself, ‘Am I a calming breeze or a storm waiting to happen?'”
“Why do people become irritable? There are two key reasons:
1. Stress – weighs you down, drains your energy, weakens your health, and invites you to be cranky.
Life is a marathon not a sprint. We must pace ourselves.”
Colossians 3:12-14 is a guide to helping one love through stress:
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts,kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.
2. Selfishness – This is the deeper underlying issue that causes irritability.
“When you are irritable the heart of the problem is a problem of the heart. Jesus said ‘Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks'” (Matt. 12:34).
If you don’t want your words to negatively imprint on someone’s heart, or cause them confusion, then don’t say them because you are mad. They may forgive you, but hateful words may change their ability to feel you love them. It also may cause them to feel they are not the right person for you, or perhaps you don’t care enough to listen.
“Being easily angered is an indicator that a hidden area of selfishness or insecurity is present where love is supposed to rule. Bitterness takes root when you respond in a judgmental way and refuse to work through your anger. A bitter person’s unresolved anger leaks out when he is provoked. Pride leads you to act harshly in order to protect your ego and reputation. But when love enters your heart, it calms you down and inspires you to quit focusing on yourself. It then sets up your heart to respond to your spouse with patience and encouragement rather than anger and exasperation.” Kendricks
Choose to react to difficult situations with your partner with love rather than irritation.
When have you recently overreacted?
What was your real motivation behind your reaction?
What specific thing is your partner needing? What was their message?
Know that you aren’t perfect. And that is okay. Make a list of all the perfect people you know.
There aren’t any, and you are one of the imperfect ones, so know that your partner may need to tell you something, and it isn’t to break you down, but because you are 2 different people you are going to need different things and be hurt by different things.
Don’t take everything so personally.
Consider there may be truth in what they are saying, or at least it may be true to them. Instead of being irritated, be kind, humble, meek, compassionate…(Col. above)
“Some people are willing to put their life on the line and injure another person physically or emotionally to protect their ego and restore their injured self-esteem. Inflated egos are most vulnerable to the slightest pokes and scratches, which is a common infliction of defensive and confrontational people” Nadia Pershun, PhD
Let’s go to Dr. Barbara DeAngelis (marriage counselor) for some help on being too irritable with our partners. She says:
Marriage is ultimately the commitment to loving your partner and doing everything you can to make the relationship work.
If one partner refuses to face or discuss problems, and will not agree to any outside help in solving conflicts, they break the commitment in your relationship as much as if they had an affair. (Let that soak in a moment.) Yes, if you refuse to work through conflicts then you are damaging the intimacy as much as an affair does.
Perhaps they are scared; abused in childhood or previous relationship; they may have a wonderful, loving heart somewhere inside though. The fact remains that , unless he/she is willing to be an active participant in your partnership, there is no partnership. And you can’t make a relationship work alone.
I believe there are five commitments every relationship needs to survive and grow. These are commitments both partners should make:
- I am committed to learning everything I can about being a better person and a better mate, and I will do whatever it takes to make the relationship work.
- I am committed to being emotionally open to and with my partner by sharing my feelings.
- I am committed to being emotionally generous with my partner, not emotionally stingy, and will express my love and affection.
- I am committed to being honest with my partner and myself.
- I am committed to learning how to love my partner as much as he or she truly deserves to be loved. (And not be irritable and hurtful when they need me.)
Frankly, I don’t know how any relationship can be truly healthy without these commitments. Take Commitment #1, for instance, the one you and your partner are struggling with right now. If a partner isn’t committed to doing whatever it takes to make the relationship work, what’s the point of being in a relationship at all? Being committed to merely living in the same house with you and calling you a wife does not qualify as being a good husband. A good husband, or wife, fights for the marriage, and will try everything before giving up.
If you see issues as frustrations, and react angrily or with irritation, you may bleed your relationship to death. If your dog is hit by a car you will rush him to help to stop the bleeding. If your partner has a problem, rush to see what the issue is and strive to fix it.
More than anything, ask yourself…will my partner really want to be with me and feel loved if I act irritable every time they need me?