Why your spouse’s annoying habits can actually strengthen your marriage

Smelly, dirty socks actually taught me a lot about marriage. Here are a few things I’ve learned.

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  • Since day one, it's always been the socks. My husband is notorious for leaving his dirty, smelly socks laying all around our home. After nagging him for years to pick them up, he is becoming clever. I now not only find socks laying within a foot of the hamper; I'll find them under couch cushions, shoved under the bed and even hidden behind furniture.

  • However, these socks have taught me a lot about marriage. Here are a few reasons why your spouse's annoying habits can help keep your marriage strong.

  • They remind you that you have someone to love

  • It may be dirty socks laying around your home, or it may be waking up at 2 a.m. to loud snores. Whatever your spouse's annoying habits may be, take a look at the habit from another perspective: Yes, you may have dirty socks laying around your home, but you have someone who is home every night to leave dirty socks there. You may be woken up at 2 a.m., but you have someone you love sleeping beside you. Though these habits may seem irritating, they can be subtle reminders all throughout the day that you have someone who loves you.

  • Accentuate his strengths

  • You and your spouse each have flaws. Often, many of these flaws require just a quick fix. However, nobody wants someone who is perfect. Instead, you need someone who is trying; someone who is willing to work together to change. When these flaws and annoying habits surface, look at your spouse's strengths and his willingness to try. Does he put his socks away for a few days in a row without being asked? Will he talk with you through an issue instead of pushing you away?

  • They force you to remain optimistic

  • In marriage, nothing is going to be perfect. There are going to be bumps in the road and you are going to get discouraged and frustrated. During these times, it is easy to let the small things ruin your entire day. Don't let picking up dirty socks lead you down a mental road of anger and frustration. Instead, force yourself to take a trip down memory lane. Think back to your honeymoon when you first noticed the dirty socks laying around, but were able to spend time focused on one another instead. Or, let yourself laugh for finding two pairs of dirty socks in a new hiding place and appreciate your spouse's humor.

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  • It helps you determine what battles are worth fighting

  • Of course, there are some habits that need to be addressed and discussed with your spouse. Not every bad habit can simply be pushed aside. So you need to determine which habits and weaknesses in a marriage need to be tackled. The small things can easily be pushed aside and laughed about; but the bigger ones are the battles you need to overcome together. Communication is key to ensuring your marriage stays strong and you don't dwell on one another's weaknesses instead of strengths.

  • Once I started applying these new lessons to other things that drove me crazy, I realized that whether it is dirty socks or loud snoring at night, we all have habits that are going to drive our spouse crazy. It is our attitude and how we react and perceive these habits that will make all the difference.

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Courtnie is an editor for FamilyShare.com and has a degree in journalism. She has a slight obsession with running, newspapers and large fuzzy blankets. She currently lives in Idaho with her husband and two sons.

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