My husband is amused by my reading advice columns. Years ago, it was Dear Abby or Ann Landers, depending on where we were living and what daily newspaper we subscribed to. These days, it’s Carolyn Hax on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. I never actually look for the column, but certain headlines catch my eye.
A recent one was “On trying to change a spouse’s annoying habits.” This one, as is true of many of her columns, is from an online discussion. Here’s the text sent by a reader:
The difference between annoying and adorable is the attitude of the observer. A long time ago I made a conscious decision that all of my wife’s habits were adorable. Being able to step back while she is snoring her brains out and saying to myself, “Isn’t that adorable!” made all the difference. After all, her snoring isn’t the issue; the issue is my reaction to her snoring. So who owns the problem, me or her? If I do, it’s on me to solve it, not her. Signed “With My Adorable Wife for 28 Years.”
What an interesting attitude! This is certainly a great example of the golden rule. Wouldn’t we all like for our spouses to think we are adorable, no matter what we do? Count me in on that. But first I have to consider my spouse adorable in every way. Lately I’ve been more aware of some of my husband’s “adorable” qualities and I found that considering them adorable is very helpful to my spirit.
Another coping mechanism for what might be considered annoying is to consider it funny instead. For me, laughing at something is a great way to get past it. This doesn’t always work well, however. For example, if we get lost, in spite of an excellent GPS, I like to laugh about it. Steve does not. Also if he tries something that does not go well, laughter is not appreciated. I guess a lot of that depends on whether you are laughing with or at a person.
So what’s the deal when your spouse does something that any person would consider truly adorable and never annoying? I guess that’s double-adorable points. Shortly after the Beatitudes, Jesus said, “If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles” (Matthew 5:41.) So I should recognize that many of his adorable qualities are when he goes the second mile, and I should do the same. After all, who knows, but him, how many “adorable” qualities I have!
Fifty years of marriage certainly indicates that he’s been adorable more often than not.