I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you this, but your man isn’t perfect. Shocker!! I absolutely adore my husband. In fact, for years I idolized him (not a good thing)! He is intelligent, talented, handsome, loving, financially savvy, and a hard worker. Perfect? BWAHAHAHA! No.
My husband, like all husbands (and wives), has his own little habits that make him who he is. Some are great (fingering guitar rifts when listening to music) and some are not so great (yeah, like I’m really gonna throw it out here). I was recently told my habit of saying “YEAHYAWW” was annoying. Ok, duly noted.
So maybe your husband has a bad habit that drives you up the wall. How do you handle those bad habits?
First, let’s talk about how you shouldn’t handle your husband’s bad habits. Trying to change or control your husband is always, always a bad idea. Do people need to change? Sure! Can you make the change for them? Not a chance. You can try but it’ll end in heartbreak, resentment, disappointment.
Recognize that you can’t change him and you should not try to control his behavior. Make a promise to yourself that you will not whine, nag, or belittle your husband about his bad habit.
Dr. Les Parrott says that a complaint is much healthier than a criticism. A criticism is like pointing the finger at your spouse and blaming his being for the habit. A complaint is different in that you are completely responsible for your emotions toward the habit. Here is how he structures a healthy complaint. “In X situation when you Y, I feel like Z.” For example, “When we’re out to eat and you have your phone out, I feel like I’m not an important priority.”
I strongly suggest you contemplate all the possible alternative solutions before you go to your husband to communicate a frustration with one of his habits. What would you hope he replaces the bad habit with? What are all the options? Maybe when communicating you can ask his opinion/thoughts about an array of alternative options.
For example, you could ask what he would think about leaving cell phones at home when you go out on a nice date. He may instantly shut that down for a variety of reasons. Listen to his reasons and accept his opinion. Get his thoughts on a different option like only having them out when you’re done eating and waiting on the check. The goal is to find a compromise or solution that works for both of you.
Your husband wants you to admire him. Done the right way, with honest communication and an open perspective, your man will most likely put forth effort to make you happy. After you’ve communicated with your man about his bad habit and chosen to focus on his positive aspects be sure to keep an eye out for changes made and effort put forth. It never hurts to tell your husband thank you. “I’ve noticed you’ve really been spending more time talking to me lately. It really makes me giddy. Thank you for the effort you’ve been making to stay off your phone.” I can tell you from experience that giving your man acknowledgement and appreciation for effort he is making to make you happy goes a long way.
Maybe he really struggles with a bad habit and change does not occur. Focus on the positive and good will of your husband. Even though he has a few bad habits, it’s important to remember the genuine good will of your man. Remind yourself what a good heart your husband has and what a good man he is. What are his good habits that you absolutely adore? What qualities do others hold him in high esteem for? What could you brag about? Turning your perspective toward the positive will make it easier to deal with the habits that drive you bonkers.
In fact, I have a resource for you. I want you to get on my list and download the lists for the Art of Appreciating Your Man. When it gets hard to overlook the bad habits of your husband, use this tool to practice a positive perspective and encourage a thankful outlook.
I just cannot write about habits without mentioning a book that changed how I live my life. My children started a new elementary school and started learning The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey as part of the Leader in Me curriculum. I downloaded the audiobook so I would know what they’re learning. I learned just as much!!! I’ve worked these habits into my personal life, my marriage, my parenting, and my career with outstanding improvements in my own perspective and relationships with others. Learn about being proactive, beginning with the end in mind, putting first things first, thinking win-win, seeking to understand others before being understood, working together, and sharpening the saw by diving into The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
Bad Habits, Good Marriage
Again, no one is perfect. Don’t be appalled if your husband has some habits of yours he’d like to discuss. 😉 Marriage is a never-ending lesson in communication, compromise, grace, and love. Unconditional love that keeps loving even with bad habits in the relationship. So with that being said, handle his bad habits using the tips above and continue loving your imperfect man!