What If Your Partner Annoys You?
Does your partner know how to push your buttons?
The enchantment stage of dating is that wonderful, butterflies-in-the-stomach time when the whole world seems beautiful and amazing.
This stage of dating is the focus of popular books and movies, and when we think about falling in love, this is probably the stage we think of.
“Aww, man. I met this girl and we’ve gone out three times, and I’m pretty sure she’s the one. She’s perfect. There’s nothing wrong with her.”
In the beginning, most couples are so excited about each other that they don’t think about the possible negative things—the weaknesses the other person struggles with.
But as the relationship matures and they learn more about each other, of course they’re going to discover some things that bug them. The more they grow in the relationship, the more they’re going to find those things.
“Oh my gosh—WHY do you keep cracking your knuckles? WHY do you talk with your mouth full? WHY do you fall asleep during all my favorite movies?”
This is the adjustment stage of the relationship. The adjustment stage is when you start noticing certain things you actually couldn’t see in the first stage because you were infatuated. Here you become more aware of certain shortcomings and the annoying habits that trigger you about this person you’re pretty sure you’re falling in love with.
“How can I be in love with this person if they annoy me sometimes? Am I really in love? Or is this all in my head?”
Here’s one of the key things we need to remember in times of “relationship adjustment”:
All relationships go through seasons of testing. Even after years of marriage, we still hit those stretches of road where our partner annoys us—and we annoy them.
Adjustment times are deeply rooted in who we’re becoming and how we’re allowing God to help us grow. These times help us determine what our future will look like and the kind of person we want to be.
Will we choose to love this person anyway, or will we write them off because they do a few things that bother us? Will we keep running this race even if it takes a long time and comes with difficult patches?
In his wonderful book Keep Your Love On, Danny Silk writes:
“I choose you.” This is the foundation of true, lasting relationships. It is the foundation for God’s relationship with you… Jesus chose you in the most difficult of circumstances. He chose you while you were in sin, while you were His enemy. You can be sure that His end of relationship with you does not depend upon your choice, but entirely upon His choice.
In this moment of trial, what is your choice? How will you respond to this person God has given you to love?
Keep in mind that everyone has “weak” places where they’re in need of greater maturity. All of us are growing—including you and your partner.
When you’re dating and trying to find a lifelong mate, take into account that no one is perfect. Some people are further along in the healing process than others, and some have been seeking God for wisdom and help for only a short time. In every situation He will be faithful, just like His Word says.
Don’t automatically assume that an annoyance is equal to a red flag. In many cases, an annoyance is simply an opportunity to grow.
If you find yourself in the adjustment stage with your partner, here are two thoughts that hopefully will give you the strength to keep going:
1. Love makes perfect.
Every time we make the decision to love someone in spite of their imperfections, it does something powerful in the spiritual realm.
Just like we were hoping to find a “perfect” person, choosing to love that person just as they are actually causes us to become perfect:
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (Jas. 1:2–4 NIV)
2. The Lord deeply values unity (Ps. 133).
Unity—love that chooses to love—is dear and precious to God’s heart.
When we make the decision to love someone even though they sometimes annoy us, it is an act of worship. We honor and glorify our heavenly Father when we walk in love.
Being annoyed with our partner doesn’t mean the relationship is over or falling apart.
Think about your relationship with God. Do you always feel like you’re on a mountaintop with Him, where everything is ideal and perfect and going smoothly?
No, of course not. That’s just not how it works! There are ebbs and flows in our walk with God. Sometimes we can hear His voice so clearly that it’s like He’s sitting right next to us and we can see Him with our eyes.
But we go through valleys, too, where things get harder and we can’t hear His voice quite as easily. Over time we learn not to panic when we’re going through a valley. We trust He will lead us out of it eventually, and we turn our attention to Him. We start focusing on Him more, not less.
The next time your partner does something that annoys you, try to look at them through the eyes of Jesus and understand this is an opportunity to grow. Find a creative way to refresh your delight in this person you love.
Interested in reading more? Check out these other articles from Salomé:
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