Things that drive you crazy

Photo Jan 19, 5 08 05 PM copy

“I’m going to kill my husband,” she said.

“He always leaves his shoes at the front door. No matter what I do; no matter how many times I ask, beg, plead, throw fits, he will not pick up his shoes and put them in our closet.  He knows it drives me crazy and for whatever reason, he can’t seem to put them in the closet. What do I do?”

I heard this story about 8 years ago.

My sweet friend and mentor was relaying to me a conversation she had recently with another woman. This woman, her friend, was pleading with her for help. The shoe issue was killing her, making her angry, and ultimately creating so much resentment towards her husband.

Some of us can read that and go “Oh honey, get over it,” but others of us empathize. There are things our husbands do that drive us bananas. And sometimes those things seem like they will actually kill us because it gets under our skin so much. So what’s a girl to do?  She’s communicated maturely and not-so-maturely about the situation, both to no avail.

Some would counsel, “Come hell or high water you must teach him to put his shoes away.  Don’t be his mother.  Don’t clean up after him.  Force him to do it.”  But instead, this is how my mentor responded.

“You know what you’re going to do? Every day when he leaves his shoes at the front door and it drives you crazy, you’re going to pick up his shoes and put them in the closet for him. When he asks later, ‘Where are my shoes?!” you say, “I put them in the closet; let me get them for you.” No attitude. No sass.

And guess what? Eight years later, that story is my life.

We’ve compromised some.  We agreed I could handle one pair of shoes by the door. But when he leaves more than a pair, I pick them up and put them in our closet. When he asks where they are, I respond, “Oh! I put them in the closet; let me get them for you.”

You know what that does? It makes something that shouldn’t be an issue, a non-issue.

I really like things a certain way, especially our house. It would be very easy for me to be annoyed and angry every time my husband leaves his shoes at the front door. But you know what fixes it? Just putting them away! If they bother me at the door, then I should put them away. Keep in mind, I’m not punishing him, by putting his shoes away and forcing him to retrieve them. I don’t inconvenience him. I serve him.

The same thing can be applied with roommates. I realized one day I was practically losing my salvation over dirty dishes in the sink. (Side note: I kid. I don’t really think you can lose your salvation.) So if the dirty dishes are really getting me that angry, you know what fixes it?  Putting them in the dishwasher.

But you shouldn’t clean up after your roommate or your husband. Ok, I agree with that, but then I will be frustrated and rattled for NOTHING.

My same sweet mentor also says,

“Don’t let Satan steal your joy for one second.”

Dirty dishes in the sink, shoes at the front door– those are things to be thankful for.  We have shoes for goodness sakes!  Lots of them if you’ve seen my closet.  A lot of people in this world don’t have shoes. We have so much food, we leave it out in excess, dirty dishes everywhere!  What a blessing!  Both things are things to be grateful for, but the trivial annoyance that I allow them to become– well that is just stealing my joy.

What about you?  What are things that just make your skin scrawl or steal your joy?  Is it time for you to just start “putting the shoes away”?

Instead of being motivated by selfish ambition or vanity, each of you should, in humility, be moved to treat one another as more important than yourself. Each of you should be concerned not only about your own interests, but about the interests of others as well. (Phil 2:3-4, NET)

 

7 thoughts on “Things that drive you crazy”

  1. I totally agree – although this can be really hard to do. It’s really a spiritual exercise. The first impulse, the whole, HE left the shoes out so HE should have to put them away thing… But think how heart-hardening that is! As if relationships are some kind of battle in entitlement. ALWAYS GIVE, NEVER COUNT.

    I also think a beautiful side affect of this approach is that, I guarantee, Mr. Husband will probably start putting away his shoes on his own, because of the love he feels for you and receives from you by serving him in such a simple thing that could easily turn into a dumb argument. Instead it turns into a cycle of servant love!!

  2. One other thought – this kind of mundane situation is such an affirming example of the power we have to choose love over self in our everyday lives. I think this is when it matters the most – not so much in the big spiritual moments and crossroads, which pass – but hour by hour on every ordinary day. I love what you say about gratitude, and I really don’t see how we can experience that gratitude unless we actively practice choosing love over ego.

  3. You are actually saying, “Get over it.”

    You’re simply providing a coping strategy to help “get over it.”

    Not that coping strategies are bad.

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