He (or she) Drives Me Crazy!
Even in the happiest, most satisfied marriages, spouses tend to have that one little thing about their partner that drives them absolutely crazy!
He doesn’t close doors behind him, leaving the unsightly pantry or closet mess in view of guests. Her hair accessories and makeup are littered across the countertop, strewn about and leaving little room for anything else. The never-ending toilet seat battle. You know the one. And let’s not talk about her multiple pairs of shoes strung out on the closet floor along with those tried-on-but-not-worn clothes.
We could go on and on, couldn’t we?
Instead, let’s talk about tolerations. According to Vocabulary.com, toleration is ‘a disposition to tolerate or accept people or situations’ and ‘the practice of allowing or putting up with something, especially if you disagree with it.’
Toleration within marriage can be challenging, to say the least. Learning to allow and accept – even when those things might exasperate us.
Notice that the definition above says toleration is a ‘practice.’ What does that mean exactly? It means we must exercise and flex our toleration muscles. Train it. Sometimes daily.
If You Must Battle, Choose Wisely
For the sake of love and our marriages, it’s crucial to pick and choose which battles are worth fighting. Are those open doors, messy countertops, or toilet seats worth causing friction and arguments?
Instead, we must focus on our own mindset (toleration!) toward that behavior. And shift how we respond.
Is he leaving his dirty laundry around the house to annoy you intentionally? Probably not. Are the dishes piling up in the sink on purpose to bother you? Doubtful. If we can understand these patterns are not about us, we can begin to accept and love our spouse where they are.
Perhaps rather than getting stressed out, clean and organize the pantry so if (ok, when!) the door is left open, you won’t stress about guests seeing the contents. When the toilet seat is left up (again!), simply put it down, thank the Lord for your spouse – and keep going!
Toleration Is An Investment Into Your Marriage
While it takes effort, repetition, and certainly forgiveness, growing our tolerations is an investment into our marriages. When we can view our spouse through the eyes of God; wonderful and flawed, all at the same time – our marriages will blossom.
Ephesians 4:32 tells us, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
We would do well remembering this verse the next time those dirty socks are lying on the bedroom floor or her makeup is taking up your toothpaste space.
Forgiveness and compassion. And a sprinkling of humor sure doesn’t hurt.