What do we do when our spouse does something that drives us crazy? A definition of a pet peeve is: “a minor complaint or irritation that’s more annoying to you than anyone else.” We’re not talking about deeper level things, just those little things that drive you nuts.
Some of the most common pet peeves
- Leaving the toilet seat up
- Driving distracted by electronic devices
- Putting empty cartons back in the fridge
- Leaving clothes on the floor
- Telling the same joke over and over, expecting you to laugh
- Leaving trash in the car
- Not asking for directions or using the GPS
- Falling asleep on the sofa instead of going to bed
- Not putting your keys in the place where you go to get the keys
- Chewing with your mouth open at the table
- Always being late
- Taking the covers at night
- Squeezing the toothpaste from the wrong part of the tube
- Leaving stuff in your clothes pockets when it goes to the laundry
In preparation for this episode, Ted text his wife, Nancie, to ask about her pet peeves. Here’s how that went down.
- Ted: We are talking about pet peeves on the podcast tomorrow. What is something I do that drives you nuts? This is the minor stuff, not the big stuff.
- Nancie: That sounds like a question designed to hurt somebody’s feelings (especially mine).
- Ted: You don’t have any and I’m not mentioning them. But I can mention my own. . . so what are they my love.
- Nancie: You break rules.
- Ted: That hurts my feelings.
What causes pet peeves?
Many times, there is misattribution. This is when you attribute something to the wrong thing or person. You aren’t really the frustration with your spouse; you are frustrated by work, but attribute that frustration to your spouse.
It’s thinking, “I feel all this because of them”, not realizing your ‘tank of frustration’ may already be full and it comes out on these small things.
On the opposite side is ‘Affective Association’. One scientific study broke married couples into two groups. The researchers showed one group images of their spouse interspersed with beautiful things. The other group saw their spouse and then images of neutral images. All the people who saw the first slide show ranked their marriage higher than when they started.
How we handle pet peeves matters because silly fights can cause serious damage.
Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
You can choose to let a pet peeve go or you can talk to them in a way that is loving and encouraging. We all know we do some things that drive our spouse crazy and we want to be treated this way.
How you do this depends on your relationship. It may be playful or more serious. For some people, the humor really helps. For others it may just be talking about it in a softer way.
Your one simple thing for this week
When it comes to your spouse’s pet peeves, there are some things you can drop and some things you have to say. But do both in truth and grace. You could start by asking your spouse for one thing that you do that drives them crazy. Then be brave enough to take it.
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