THE DARE: Ask your spouse to tell you three things that cause him or her to be uncomfortable or irritated with you. You must do so without attacking them or justifying your behavior. This is from their perspective only.
My notes on this day actually had mostly to do with how hard it was for me to make it possible for Helen to do her side of the assignment…
Today’s assignment is a difficult one for me to write about. In the first place I don’t particularly want the things that annoy me about my wife to be shared with the world. In the second place it was rather difficult to think of anything that my wife does that actually annoys me — she spends most of the day making me smile and laugh. I was actually able to think of a couple of things after I thought about it fairly hard. But I think for most husbands it’s more of a challenge than it is for me. I am very, very much aware of how many things I do that are annoying, and that my wife puts up with. And she really does so very little to annoy me. Thus, on the rare occasions when she does something to annoy me, it’s very easy for me to remind myself of half a dozen things that I do that are worse, and then that helps me not be annoyed most of the time.
But I don’t think I can advise husbands, “Be sure you annoy your wife in lots more ways than she annoys you, so that when she annoys you you can say, ‘Well, I’m worse than she is,’ and not be annoyed.” That seems like bad advice to me, even though it works well for me. I think in most marriages it’s more equal than it is in mine and Helen’s. And that makes it more of a challenge.
Yet I do also know that you can be on the wrong side of a very one-sided marriage, and for that you need a whole a lot of the grace of God to stay in grace with your spouse. So I think tonight Helen and I will say a special prayer for all the people that are married to people who are far more annoying than they themselves are, confident that God will give them grace not to live in a constant state of irritation.