Do you spend time with people who annoy you? Do you let it show?
When our children were tiny, it felt like my husband and I didn’t have a moment to spend together. When he got home from work we had tea, put the children to bed, did chores and went to bed ourselves. And repeat. Over and over again. It was easy to fall into the trap of being annoyed with each other about the slightest thing as we didn’t have any quality time on our own.
Making time for your relationship
I’ve blogged about making time for our relationships before. Now that both children are in school and because I work part-time, we try and meet regularly for a lunch date, even if we can’t go out during the evening very often. As we both work near home, we are lucky enough to be able to do this.
When we first met, my husband used to take out his contact lenses, then wander around his flat until he came upon his glasses. I couldn’t understand why he didn’t take his glasses with him. It’s taken many years for me to accept that nothing will ever be put away in the same place three times. He’s very good at answering texts about “where things might be hidden“.
He once pointed out to me that it wasn’t all that helpful if I sighed every time things weren’t as I hoped they would be. That was a sharp reminder that my behaviour really does affect everyone in the house.
Taking people as they are
A friend told me about how she has tried her best to accept the annoyances that come with marriage. There are some things that will never change. Unless they are deal-breakers, we can get over them.
I’ve been trying that myself, and it’s amazing how much more I’ve been enjoying my family as a result. Rather than being cross that I’m the toilet roll fairy, I’m over it. I just do it. Occasionally I find it hilarious not to put fresh ones out, but as it doesn’t change anyone else’s ability to find them in advance, I don’t get too worked up about it.
I was astonished recently when my 8-year-old son said, “I’m hungry. I’m just going to make myself a sandwich.” And he did! Very occasionally, my children will use cutlery. This still only happens when they are eating soup or spaghetti, but it’s progress. My daughter gets her own school uniform out each evening and folds it beautifully. This is not even something I have nagged about in the past.
Life is easier
Life has become so much easier now that our children are not so little. Since trying to appreciate my family for who they are, rather than what I think they could be, I enjoy being with them so much more. I’ve accepted that I’m not allowed to speak to any other adults on the way to and from school. It used to drive me insane. Now that I accept it, I am happy with the tension-free trips. They aren’t always easy, but they are less of a battle. I’m hoping that I have become a nicer person to live with, too.
It’s a bit like the famous saying, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” I wouldn’t say I’m particularly wise yet, but I’m happier through learning.
What do you struggle to accept?