Automated Irritation

A Great Idea …

“So many heartaches could be prevented if couples gave each other the benefit of the doubt or simply paused to get more information. When you have a strong reaction to an everyday event your first response should be: ‘Hold on, let me listen and hear [my partner’s] side.'”(Marriage experts, Patricia Love and Steven Stosny, in their book, How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It. p. 126)

In Other Words …

We all jump to conclusions at times. We all react to a partner’s words or actions as if they were a personal attack. ┬áThis tendency in human reacting leaves us thinking the worst of our partners. Then we say or do things that irritate them. The fight is on. If we would only hit the pause button when we’re irritated! If we would take the time to understand our partner’s point of view, we could save both ourselves and our partners a lot of pain. We might even find common ground and mutual appreciation.

How This Applies to You…

Next time your partner irritates you, stop yourself. Don’t react. Take a moment to understand why your partner said or did what he/she did. Rather than argue or accuse, try to find out more about your partner’s point of view. Try to understand AND show compassion.

To Find Out More…

For an excellent (and free!) program on marriage, see The Marriage Garden at Arkansas Families.

For more in-depth reading, we recommend How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking about It by Patricia Love and Steven Stosny or The Marriage Garden by H. Wallace Goddard and James P. Marshall

5 replies on “Automated Irritation”

Well said! Sometimes I think that I should not be allowed to have a conversation with my spouse until I’ve eaten, slept, and watched “I Love Lucy”!

Thoughly true with any relationship. I’m learning to verbally empathize and diffuse any conflict by not taking everything personal and giving credence to the other viewpoint and asking more questions.

I love the concept of ‘improving your marriage without talking about it’!
Sometimes talking actually does more damage…who is that good at verbal communication, (unless you’re trained)?
#1 Our language is imperfect
#2 The meaning we attach to our words and phrases is amazingly different between two people
#3 Most of us don’t really know how to be that careful about stepping on each others toes, or even how not to be hurtful in our comments.
So, I am going to look into that book!
Has anyone else found that if you take a different tactic, your spouse responds in kind? It’s like magic!
So even if it’s just me who reads that book, and if I get something out of it that I can apply to my marriage, it should bless us both.
This is such a great topic, Dr Wally. I love the idea of automated non-irritation!!
Thanks for posting all of your wonderful articles!

As usual, savvy down to earth common sense. Why don’t we all do what you say?:):) Well, we’re working on it.

I’m spreading your books to everyone I know. Love them. So appropriate and timely.



Just beautiful! I really think I should have gone to a “marriage college” before I got married, but I’m grateful for Dr. Wally’s work on marriage; I learn precept upon precept on how to be a better spouse. Small means more…baby steps…Thank you Dr. Wally!

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