Accepting a Spouse's Annoying Habits

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Accepting a Spouse's Annoying Habits


The honeymoon is long over and reality has settled in. You are suddenly noticing things about your spouse that you somehow seemed to overlook in the early days of your marriage. Those annoying little habits, they just seem to leap out at you from every corner. What can you do about them?

It is easy to find fault with one another, especially in relationships. The one person you were so in love with is suddenly the person with whom you are finding fault. If one is not able to accept certain annoying habits of his spouse then it may cause problems in the relationship, possibly even causing it to end.

One of the best ways to accept the annoying habits of your spouse is to use the positive and negative approach. When one continuously tends to feed on the negative actions of a partner then more negativity ensues. A better result would be to pair a positive thought with each negative thought that comes to your mind. Instead of being upset that your husband did not help with cleaning up the dishes after dinner, try to remember that he was the one who made the dinner. When your spouse’s clothes just don’t seem to find their way into the laundry hamper remember that he is the one who does the weekly laundry.

Often, learning to accept the annoying habits of a spouse comes with maturity. Most mature adults learn to overlook these things. Try to be laid back and not let the little things bother you. Life is so full of stress and problems why make it worse by being upset that your spouse won’t take his shoes off when he comes into the house. Learn to accept your spouse for who she is, remembering that not everyone is perfect.

A good rule to live by is to change the things you can, and if you can’t, then try to find a way to accept them. There are many ways to deal with your spouse’s annoying habits. Ask yourself if they are really that bothersome or what harm they are causing. It will probably be up to you to find a solution if there is one. Instead of berating your spouse for his all-night snoring and your lack of sleep, try sleeping in another room or look for a remedy to solve his snoring problem.

If you ask your spouse, he could probably come up with some habits of yours that annoy him. Once again remembering that not everyone is perfect, strive to accept each other. You pledged to be with each other for good or bad and if you really think about it, those annoying little habits are probably not all that bad.
Mixed Troubles: How to Survive Doubles With a Spouse
Many married couples play tennis, but most of the time it's not together on the same side of the net. Being husband and wife, they have the perfect built-in partner, yet choose to play with another. While it's not common to play mixed doubles with your spouse, some couples do it. What makes them different, and how are they able to survive?

Here are some tips for married couples, and those with significant others, in the art of playing mixed doubles with a loved one.

Communicate on court
Sometimes the first thing to go is communication. You think you know your spouse so well that you don't have to talk on court, but you do. Doubles is all about communication, and no matter who you're playing with, you need to keep talking. It's easy when your partner is your spouse because you figure they know what you're thinking, but that's not a good strategy for being an effective doubles partner. Make sure to talk often during games and on changeovers, whether it's for encouragement or strategizing, just keep talking.

Treat each other with respect
Living with someone makes you very comfortable being around them, and that closeness translates onto the tennis court. It's sometimes easy to treat a spouse differently on court because you know their strengths and weaknesses better than anyone. Try to play with your spouse as you would with any other doubles partner. Instead of berating him or her for making a bad shot, encourage them and be positive. Do not put undue or added pressure on your spouse, as it will not help them play better, but be supportive instead.

Manage expectations
When you married your spouse, or got together with your significant other, you decided that was the person for you. Maybe even the perfect person for you. Well, there is no such thing on the tennis court and nobody is perfect, so don't expect a flawless partner. It may be that your spouse can do no wrong in your eyes, but try to leave that expectation outside the tennis court because it will only get you in trouble during a game. Realize that everyone makes mistakes, even your spouse, and don't expect more than that.

Be wary of different playing levels
The worst thing you can do is play mixed doubles when the partners are at different levels. This is especially true with husband and wife teams, in that it's hard to be competitive at an intermediate level when one of the partners is a beginner, and even harder to be positive and supportive with it's your spouse. If you are an intermediate-level player, don't arrange a game with your spouse to play against other intermediate-level players. This will be frustrating for everyone on the court, and not fair to your marriage.

Mix it up and play against your spouse
If you find that you are completely incompatible with your spouse or significant other on the tennis court, you can still play together, just not on the same side of the net. If you both love playing tennis, you can still enjoy it together, but with other partners. Find another couple who also plays tennis, and mix up the partners. This is a great way to have fun in a social setting, meet new people, and still do something together. You will probably find yourself laughing more in this setting and having more fun.

Have fun!
The most important thing about playing tennis is to have fun. That could mean being very intense and competitive, or laughing and playing socially. Whichever it is for you and your spouse, make sure everyone is enjoying the game. Your spouse may want to play tennis for fun and exercise, but not care who wins. If you are very competitive, and winning is everything, be very careful when involving your spouse in such a serious match. You may only want to play socially where it doesn't matter who wins and who loses.

When playing mixed doubles with your spouse or significant other, just relax and have fun with no unreasonable expectations. Play as you would with any other doubles partner and use your intimacy together as an advantage. Your senses will tell you how your partner is doing, or maybe what they're thinking, but still make an effort to keep open communications with them throughout the match. Most of all, have fun on court. 

What is verbal abuse?
You may be verbally abusing your child if you are doing any of the following: 

  • Name-calling, belittling, swearing, insulting. ("You are stupid." "You're a rotten kid.") Indirect criticism, such as disparaging your child to your spouse, also hurts. Just because you're not berating your child directly doesn't mean he doesn't hear it and feel the sting.

  • Rejecting or threatening with abandonment. ("I wish you'd never been born." "I should put you up for adoption.") This kind of verbal abuse creates a sense that your child doesn't belong -- and isn't wanted -- in the family.

  • Threatening bodily harm. Studies have linked verbal aggression and physical aggression: A Harvard study found, for example, that "parents who yell frequently are the ones most likely to hit frequently, and vice versa." Even if you don't act on violent threats, they may make your child fear you and distrust you.

  • Scapegoating or blaming. ("You're the reason this family is such a mess." "If I didn't have to take care of you, I could have a better life." "If you weren't so clumsy, your sister wouldn't have gotten hurt.") Your child will think he's a bad person who deserves to be unhappy.

  • Using sarcasm. Making a mocking remark, such as "Now that was smart" when he spills grape juice on the rug, might seem like a way to avoid direct criticism, but your child is perceptive enough to understand that you're demeaning him.

  • Berating your spouse. A study at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, determined that children who see their parents verbally abusing each other are more likely to be depressed or anxious, and to experience more interpersonal problems of their own. Interestingly, the study also found that verbal aggression between parents was more traumatic to children than physical violence between parents.


How common is verbal abuse?
Reports are mixed. A study at the University of New Hampshire found that 63 percent of more than 3,000 American parents surveyed reported one or more cases of verbal aggression toward children in their homes. However, a Child Protective Services study determined that only 6 percent of all child abuse cases involved "emotional maltreatment" (of which verbal abuse is the most common form). The fact that signs of verbal abuse are harder to recognize and prove than signs of physical abuse may account for the seemingly low number of "official" verbal abuse cases. 

What are signs that a child is suffering from verbal abuse?

  • Negative self-image. This is the most common and pervasive effect of verbal abuse. Your child may say things like, "I'm stupid," or, "Nobody likes me." Or he may simply seem withdrawn, sullen, or depressed, all of which can be signs of a poor self-image. In defining emotional abuse, the National Committee for the Prevention of Child Abuse says that it "attacks a child's... sense of self-worth."

  • Self-destructive acts. "Cutting" (using razor blades or knives to cut his own skin) and all forms of self-injury signal a problem, as do other reckless activities that put your child in danger.

  • Antisocial behavior. The New Hampshire study found that verbally abused children demonstrated higher rates of physical aggression, delinquency, and interpersonal problems. Your child may hit other children, frequently quarrel with his classmates, or be cruel to (or even torture) animals.

  • Delayed development. The slowdown may appear in your child's physical, social, academic, or emotional development. He may have difficulty making friends, fall behind in school, or engage in regressive acts such as rocking, bed-wetting, and thumb-sucking.

Does verbal abuse do any long-term harm?
Yes. Research shows that abused children are more likely to: 

  • become victims of abuse later in life

  • become abusive themselves

  • become depressed and self-destructive later in life

  • develop anxiety

Why can't I seem to control my temper?
Most parents at some time find themselves feeling frustrated and angry with their children. This is normal. Occasionally they say things they regret -- to their children, their spouses, or their friends. This, too, is normal. But if you find that you are routinely having angry outbursts or that whenever you're frustrated you lash out at those around you in the ways described above -- then you need to get help. (Please keep in mind that if you feel overwhelmed by your anger, you may want to consider getting help from a counselor, psychotherapist, or mental health professional trained in anger management.) Meanwhile, here are some ways to begin helping yourself. 

To start getting a handle on your outbursts, try to understand the reasons behind your behavior. The following are some of the more common explanations for verbally abusive behavior: 

  • a failure to understand that there are other ways to discipline and communicate with your child

  • the belief that verbal abuse is necessary as a form of "tough love"

  • an inability to control strong emotions

  • a history of verbal abuse by parents, teachers, and other adults

What can I do to avoid verbally abusing my child?
In moments of stress and anger, try to refrain from saying anything mean or sarcastic to your child. Remember, you're his main and most important role model. If you tend to fall apart, lose your cool, and act abusively at challenging times, you'll likely raise a child who does the same. 

Here are some ways you can calm yourself down: 

  • Take a "time-out." This method works as well for adults as it does for kids. If your child can be left alone, go to another room. If he's too young for that, try walking to the other end of the room. Then take a few slow, deep breaths, seeking to let go of the situation emotionally. Wait five minutes (or more if you need it) before talking to your child.

  • Share your feelings of resentment or anger with your spouse or a friend. Be sure to do this in private, where your child won't hear you and feel wounded by your words. 

  • Try to deal only with the present rather than letting all the stressful incidents that have "piled up" overcome your emotions. 

In addition, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends using what it calls the RETHINK method to bring your feelings under control. RETHINK stands for: 

  • R ecognize your feelings.

  • E mpathize with your child.

  • T hink of the situation differently. (Try using humor.)

  • H ear what your child is saying.

  • I ntegrate your love with your angry thoughts.

  • N otice your body's reactions to feeling anger and to calming down.

  • K eep your attention on the present problem.

What can I do to prevent someone else from verbally abusing my child or another child?
Always be aware of other influences on your child. Just because you have your temper under control doesn't mean that all the other adults in your child's life do. Teachers, coaches, babysitters, siblings, older siblings of friends, and even other children's parents can harm your child by demeaning or humiliating him. Make a point of asking your child about his relationships with other adults. Of course, he might not tell you if someone is verbally abusing him -- he might not even realize it. So you'll want to be on the lookout for signs of emotional turmoil: Nightmares, bed-wetting, school phobia, and other signs of excessive anxiety may be part of the "code" you'll have to crack in order to figure out what's troubling your child. 

Sometimes a family counselor or psychologist can assess your child for signs of verbal abuse. If you think the abuse is occurring at school, be sure to take your child to be evaluated by someone independent of the school. Oftentimes your family doctor or pediatrician can help you with a referral. Do whatever is necessary to get your child away from the abuser -- if a PE coach is taunting him, for example, ask that he be placed in a different class. And be sure to make your concerns known to the principal, director, league officials, and so on. 

What if I see a stranger verbally abusing a child in the supermarket or at the park?
Confronting a total stranger about parenting techniques is a very touchy endeavor. There are many different ways of parenting, and an approach that seems abusive to you may not be seen in the same light by others. Be aware, too, that confronting a parent in an accusatory manner is liable to make her defensive and possibly more angry than she already is. However, if you feel strongly that the parent is harming her child, and you need to say something, it's best to take a subtle, even empathetic approach rather than delivering a challenge. Many child advocates believe that in a public setting distracting the "abuser" will at least partly defuse the immediate situation for the child in danger. Don't try to teach the parent, coach, or teacher how they "should" behave. Saying something like, "It's hard to know what to do, isn't it?" might be a good way to get the parent to step back and rethink her behavior, or at least calm down. Remember, you just want to shift the focus off the child. Although some people may feel that distracting the adult from taking her anger out on the child seems to condone such behavior, it's only an attempt to ease the turbulence of the moment. After all, a long-term solution is just not possible when you're dealing with a complete stranger in the middle of a grocery store.

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