I’m So Annoyed With My Spouse

We all get annoyed with our partner from time to time. It’s inevitable. Sometimes it’s the little day-to-day things – their habits, quirks, or moments of forgetfulness. The laundry that they’ve tossed on the floor, not filling up the car with gas despite there being only a smidge left, leaving the carton of milk out on the counter. Or maybe it’s the repetitive habits like cracking knuckles, smacking gum, or clicking of a pen when they’re making the grocery list or working on paying the bills.

Then there are the bigger things that usually don’t happen all that often, but that really annoy us to the point of questioning our partner’s intentions. Things like double-scheduling an event on a day they knew we had other plans, or not doing a task we specifically asked them to do. We wonder how they could be so inconsiderate, instead of seeing it as an innocent mistake.

Either way, we get annoyed. But what we do with that annoyed feeling, how we deal with it, makes all the difference in the impact on your relationship in the long term. Annoyance can go unaddressed and turn into frustration and resentment, or you can tackle it head on and resolve it before those insidious emotions take root.

It’s hard to talk about this kind of stuff. No one wants to be the person constantly voicing annoyance or confronting their partner about being inconsiderate; however, there are ways to do so that can actually help build trust, communication, and even help establish expectations for the future.

Here is a game plan for the next time you’re annoyed with your spouse.

  1. Take a step back.
    Reflect on the situation and try to pinpoint exactly why you are annoyed.
    • Are there external factors at play? Maybe you didn’t get enough sleep the night before, or maybe you’re stressed about a work deadline or a never-ending to-do list. Or perhaps you are already feeling all the things that day, and this seemingly small thing just tipped you over the edge. Identify whether the thing that annoyed you is actually a culmination of other external factors you’re dealing with. Also consider whether your spouse is faced with their own external factors beyond their control. Put yourself in their shoes and try to gain more understanding of the full situation.
    • Is it related to your partner’s personality or your own personal preference? Consider if it’s really something you have the power to change. Personality quirks are not usually on that list, but your preferences might be.
    • Was there an unmet or uncommunicated expectation? Did your spouse know that this would annoy you? Were they aware of what you did or didn’t want?
    • Unfortunately, it’s possible that there was direct disregard for your previously expressed thoughts/feelings, in which case, it’s valid to feel annoyed, frustrated, or angry. We all make mistakes. You can still grow from this!

  2. Refocus and act.
    Once you’ve figured out what is driving your feelings of annoyance, it’s time to refocus on the actual issue and take action.
    • If you got annoyed because of something that was more on you than on your partner, then it’s best to acknowledge the external factor and consider how you can mitigate its negative impact. If it’s out of your control, then what things can you control? Perhaps it’s setting aside time to decompress after work or setting a goal to get more sleep. Talk to your partner about it! They’ll gain a better understanding of where you’re coming from and be able to offer more support in the future.
    • If the source of your annoyance was a quirk of your partner’s behavior or personality, embrace a mentality of acceptance, and remember – this trait was likely something that initially charmed you. Remembering this might help temper your annoyance.
    • If you were annoyed with your spouse because they failed to meet an expectation, it’s no time for blame, but rather a conversation. Be assertive and articulate in saying what annoyed you and why, and actively listen to what they have to say. It’s possible they had no idea that action would annoy you, so this is a great opportunity to clarify and adjust expectations and learn about each other.
    • If you discover it’s a case where your spouse knowingly did something that would annoy you and you’ve previously been clear about your thoughts/feelings, then it’s time for a discussion. Ask for time to talk and be clear about your needs and feelings, as well as using active listening with each other during the discussion. This conversation should help foster a more respectful understanding of each other.

We can’t avoid getting annoyed with our partner from time to time. The actual trigger for that annoyance might vary in each situation, so taking time to accurately identify it is crucial in helping you move forward in the most positive and productive way. This game plan will not only help you in your relationship with your partner, but may also be valuable in your other relationships as well. The most important takeaway is to pull back and take a broader look at the situation, focus on what is within your control, and utilize communication skills to gain a better understanding of each other.

35 thoughts to “I’m So Annoyed With My Spouse”

  1. Or; you could ask the LORD to help you love your spouse as Christ loves the Church. We should have married so we can be a cheerful servant to the one we love. Take a look @ 1 Corinthians 13: these are indicators of a lack of love.

      1. Yes, you can trust God and know every scripture verbatim, but if it is a consistent behavior you may need a coach or counselor. That way you’re trusting God to give you wisdom.

    1. I so agree. The more we serve our mate the closer we become, for the more we serve the more they will want to give back to us. Especially if they love the Lord and wish to please Him.

      1. I agree but does it always have to be one sided? It doesn’t seem right or fair that one person does all the giving and the other does the taking.

        1. In short, yes. it’s always one sided (for both sides). Loving your spouse as Christ loved the church means to love appropriately in all situations regardless of what your spouse does. Remember, Christ accomplished everything for us while we were actively betraying him with our actions. This doesn’t mean you are a living punching bag, but it does mean that you need to respond in love even when they are punching.

          The good news is that the same is true for your spouse. If their goal is a Christ-like love, then you should feel comfortable reminding them in love of the goal that both of you share (probably not in the heat of the moment).

          1. Wow! I am blown away by the insensitivity of this comment. The language of violence you refer to in a marriage relationship, is the equivalent of telling a victim to respond with pure love to the one who is physically abusive. With the prevalence of violence against women in romantic relationship, this viewpoint is short-sighted at best. Please pause and consider this before you give relationship advice again. Christian men can also be abusers.

          2. I do agree but I also went to counseling a long time ago and her comment to me was…
            “You shouldn’t do for someone something they can do for themselves”
            My comment to her was…What is wrong with doing just for the love of it” I started DOING
            too much and now I feel STUCK, My fault I know but I am trying to remedy the situation.
            I think my DOING makes me co-dependent in a sense but I think I have been that way all of my life!!! DO DO DO SO THEY WILL LOVE YOU MORE!! HA HA . Doesn’t work that way though does it!??

          3. I know you mean “emotional punching bag” and even when they are “emotionally punching back”.

            This is known as coping mechanisms such as misplacement, projection, devaluation, etc.

            This is deep and worthy of a larger conversation regarding maladaptive coping mechanisms or as you stated as one partner becoming the “emotionally punching bag” and the other “emotionally punching” and also when these roles get flipped and also when it gets complicated when an “emotional ledger” comes out.

    2. While a agree in asking the lord for patience and virtue, I don’t think becoming annoyed or irritated with your spouse shows lack of love. It shows you’re human and life isn’t perfect.

      1. Indeed. I think we have a tendency to use scripture to not deal with life’s realities. However, if we were to correctly exegete these passages they are made to help us deal in the realities of life.

  2. In working with couples preparing for marriage, I tell them that often what they thought was cute while they were daating will often be the thing that annoys them the most after they are married. Such as when dating, “He is so spontanious and free spirited” after marriage “He is all over the board, I never know what he will be doing next.” Or when dating ” She is so organized”. After marriage ” She is such a nit picker”. I tell them to be on the watch for this and remember they were that way when you chose to marry them!

    1. Ah yes. Excellent thing to deal with. Interesting how “he is always able to bring humor into a difficult situation” later becomes “he never takes me seriously.

    2. This is so much of what happens if we allow it. Yet, It is not necessary if we change our mindsets. My wife messes up all the time. I ignore it as much as possible because I truly love her. I see her as the most perfect person in my life. Yes, we argue all the time. Sound like an oxymoron? Consider this: We see life from two different viewpoints. I’m more “scientific” she is more “feeling”. We see it as a great combination. We would never want to change the other person, though, my wife would admit that she spent 20 years trying before she realized she had the wrong mindset, the wrong approach.

      1. Thank you Rob! I appreciate your perspective. I feel this describes my husband and My relationship. I’m the feeler and he’s the scientific one! I’ve definitely been guilty of having the wrong mindset about it. This is where the grace of God is so amazing and this gives me an opportunity to show grace to my husband when he annoys me and grace to myself when I don’t respond in the most Christ-like way.

      2. Rob, I would LOVE to argue but he will not…he just tells me to shut up and yells at me. He thinks he is always right and I know he is not right all the time. However,,,I have been working on a different ways of saying things and that seems to help. But… still would like us to go to counseling together. Not sure that will happen!!!

    3. I deal with that very specifically. I had 25 years of adult work life before I became a pastor, and once, in a management training program, I was introduced to two industrial psychologists whose basic efforts included the idea that “a weakness is a strength carried to excess.” An example I give is, “He’s so willing to take control, I love it,” followed later by, “I never get a chance to have my way.” Or, “She’s very analytical and good at our finances,” followed by, “She can never make her mind up what to order in a restaurant.”
      Such issues cannot be avoided, but they can be understood and recognized as two sides of the same coin, one of which led to the initial commitment.

  3. I really needed to hear this today. My husband and I are first time parents, and it’s been the hardest year on our marriage. While we are overjoyed with our baby girl, the stress and sleep deprivation brings out the worst in us. Everything my husband does and doesn’t do irritates the crap out of me, but I know it’s the tiredness talking. I need to have more patience with him and remind myself we love each other and we’ll get through it.

  4. I don’t think anything is as “easy” as some of these comments suggests. I think we should all take a more sensitive approach to our advice because we could cause someone to make a bad decision.
    I loved reading everyone’s opinions. The “seasoned saints“ as I like to call them, please keep giving your loving advice but don’t be chastising. That’s what God is for.
    The only issue I have with this article is the first solution but I get it, you always have to start with “you” first because we must correct ourselves first. What it didn’t get to is when you have done all that, then what?
    In my situation, it’s a problem of how my spouse was raised that shaped his future but he doesn’t have spiritual guidance and manly guidance; a “don’t see nothing wrong, I’m not getting help and why do I need to grow and change type of person”.
    It’s a really hard feat.

  5. Yes I believe that analysing the situation, deep breaths & bringing God in to the situation first will help. God is very important in our lives & yes we can do his will if we resolve these issues can be resolved quickly.
    I am 75 & a little short on patience at times.

  6. How do you deal with a believing spouse who is stays annoyed most of the time no matter how much you try to please them, no matter how much you put their needs before your own; I’ve died to self so much I don’t even know who I am anymore.

    1. Hi discouraged spouse,

      It sounds like you might need to adjust your boundaries and spend time on self-care. You can try your best but if your partner doesn’t meet you halfway or try to listen to your needs, that’s going to be tough. God loves you and doesn’t want you to just be a doormat.

      I’ve found this other website helpful for figuring out issues like what you described when it’s not just “oh that trait is annoying me” but you feel you’ve lost yourself https://tolovehonorandvacuum.com/

  7. This is such a great down to earth question!

    Here are some recommendations:

    1. Do what you’re illustrating right now. Reach out to some other loving trustworthy people (e.g. a pastor, elder, or other spiritually mature people who will cheer for both you and your spouse and Christ being formed in both of you) to pray along with you and hear your concerns, to gain encouragement and wisdom.

    2. Recognize the vulnerable and dangerous position you currently find yourself in, and how tempting this will be for resentment to turn into hardened unforgiveness and how the evil one can lead you astray to where you’re more focused on your own needs than loving Jesus and your spouse no matter what. When a person is in this state, they are more likely to believe lies from the evil one, become more self-centered, and ultimately that sustained trajectory leads to the complete destruction of the marriage.

    3. By recognizing this you will be more motivated to cry out to God in prayer on a daily basis, confessing where you’re really at, seeking Him more than your spouse, even in times of fasting, for Him to convict, help, change, draw, discipline, etc., your spouse to Himself. This will also cause you to humble yourself before the Lord in His Word on a daily basis to live by every word that comes from Him and finding your joy in Jesus first because of how He has loved you when you didn’t deserve it (Rom. 5:8). This will also help you actually forgive your spouse for their hurtful ways (Matt. 6:9-14; Colossians 3:12-17; Ephesians 4:32-5:1-2) and even have compassion toward them.

    4. Once you’re doing things like #1-3, then you’ll be prepared to invite your spouse to loving and genuine dialog that uses language like, “Could we pray together before we talk? I’d like to share with you how some things you’re doing are affecting me, and the reason I want to do this is so that we can be closer. I’m not sure if you realize this or not, but when you ______________, it causes me to feel ________________ (e.g. really discouraged). Does that make sense to you? I don’t like feeling like that. It tempts me to be resentful, especially when you do it repeatedly. Can you feel what I’m feeling here. I’d also like to understand what causes you to do that and feel with you.”

  8. For “DISCOURAGED SPOUSE”. The first place to start is from the Prepare-Enrich workbook, “Ten Steps for Resolving Conflict”. My wife and I have been married 47 years and still find this useful. I remind all the couples we coach, “it is 10 steps, not 6 or 8 or 9. Do all 10 steps, especially steps 2 and 3. There is no short-cut.”
    A couple of resources may be in order for you and your situation. BOUNDARIES IN MARRIAGE, by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend, may help to establish some needed boundaries without retaliating. THE ROAD BACK TO YOU, by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile, may help you understand how you and your spouse’s personality play a role in your perception of his attitude. Both are excellent books that are easy to read and written from a Christian perspective.

  9. When it is time for that “discussion,” recognize that you are asking your partner to make a change in their understanding or behavior for whatever reason. It is important to understand how your partner hears and processes a request for change, so you know what you can reasonably expect. Suggested steps to follow: (1) Ask partner if they understood the request. Ask them to repeat what they heard. This may sound overdone, but it is amazing how people can “hear” the simplest things in different ways. (2) Once it is clear that the request is understood, how did they hear the request in terms of difficulty – will it be relatively easy, moderately hard, or very difficult for them to do. You have to encourage and allow the partner to be honest at this point. (3) Is the partner willing to make the change, or not. This is important to know, not assume. There may be some requests for change that the partner flat out is just not willing to do, and it is essential to be up front about the matter. Be careful with the thinking that “if he/she loves me, he/she SHOULD do this.” (3a.) If willing, is the partner willing to do this unconditionally or are their conditions like “I’ll do X for you if you do Y for me.”
    Application: If I would hear my partner say that they are willing to do the change, but it will be moderately difficult for them, and they are willing to do it unconditionally, I can reasonably expect that over a reasonable time, there will be change, but along the way there may be a setback. Always remember that change implies overcoming some resistance, as in wanting to keep things the way they are. There is a whole literature on why and how people change, but that is beyond the scope of this exchange.

  10. If you suspect your partner t have selective memory and jekyl and hyde split personality complex, what can one do?

  11. No it shouldn’t be always one sided. I agree with you Rebecca! I don’t think any relationship is perfect and I think at times one partner may have to give more but I 100% agree with you. It shouldn’t be one sided and no woman or man should give 100% of the time always and it is wrong for a spouse to take that 100% of the time. Again, I understand relationships are about give and take but no person should give 100% of the time always and if a person takes that always shame on them as well.

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