4 Ways to Make Your Spouse Less Frustrating

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If you have been married more than a day, chances are you have experienced frustration with your spouse.

At our wedding, I remember being so frustrated that David spilled unity candle wax all over his tux. I did not offer much grace, even just moments into our marriage!

As we’ve grown, I have come realize that there are effective ways to combat the moments or even seasons of frustration.

So, when you find yourself in those moments in your marriage, try one of these four ways to make your spouse less frustrating…

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1 :: Be a Student

At age 20, with wringing, clammy hands and an excited, nervous voice, my husband took my dad out on a walk to ask his favor in our marriage. While David cannot remember every detail of the conversation {beyond the “yes I support you!”}, he continues to think back to one piece of sage advice my dad passed on—be a student of your spouse.

Students are always learning. In some ways, they never arrive.

As a student of your spouse, learning extends well beyond the dating and newlywed scenes. It lasts a lifetime. And, in seasons of frustration or a lack of connection, being a student helps overcome.

As a student of your spouse—as is true in school—you excel by observing critically, using the tools around you, and engaging creatively.

Observe what makes her tick, what lights him up and how she excels.

Use a tool, such as StrengthsFinder {that’s my favorite!} to discover deeper insights into his brightest talents and her deepest needs.

Then, take what you’ve learned to engage creatively to affirm, encourage and help your spouse grow!

{To learn more about the impact that StrengthFinder can have on your marriage, don’t miss the FREE StrengthsFinder Masterclass coming up in November. Join the waitlist here!}

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2 :: Curb the Sarcasm

In our world of 140-character-communication and scrolling-thumb-relationships, whoever is the wittiest wins. I fall for it every time, and often times I find myself laughing outloud.

While this might work beautifully for the peripherals of our lives, in our most important relationships–our marriages–wit can only take us so far. And, it can even take us too far.

The most poignant way to make your spouse less frustrating is to build him up, instead of tearing him down. Even if meant in jest, or said in sacrasm, she takes it to heart and responds in kind.

Instead of feeling secure and loved, witty, sarcastic words leave your spouse feeling uncertain and questioning.

Defensiveness, nagging, aloofness all come from an insecurity of self and/or of relationship. You can begin to change this in your choice to speak the positive about him or her…especially in public!

{In Isogo TV Episode 57, watch as we dive more deeply into this element…as the one action that can make THE biggest impact on your marriage.}

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3 :: Show Interest

It turns out that meaningful questions go a long way in making your spouse less frustrating. Instead of blowing off the frustration or writing your spouse off as strange or annoying, consider asking interested questions instead.

The extensive, life-long research of psychologist and marriage expert, Dr. John Gottman has revealed the secrets to a happy relationship. Recently, he posted the 5 Secrets to a Happy Marriage. Among these top 5 secrets, he finds that happy couples show interest in each other by asking each other questions.

Questions such as “Why the heck are you so annoying?!” are NOT going to have the desired result, but other questions just might.

Instead, try asking about things your partner is interested in. If she loves her role at work, ask her about it. If he cannot get enough of the world of politics, find out why.

The right questions at the right times show care and turn your spouse from defensive or aloof to softer and approachable.

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4 :: Reframe Offenses

Sometimes, at the very bottom of a frustration, you will find a glimmer of Talent.

It is with our Talents that we can make others shine, and it is with our Talents that we can make others crazy.

The next time your spouse is driving you crazy or you find yourself on the edge of frustration, try running that frustration through the filter of his/her Talents. Are the things that make her great as a leader, playing a part in what is making her so unapproachable at home? Are the things that help him thrive at work, making him lost in dream land here?

When you know his or her Top 5 Strengths, you have the language and deep understanding of what makes him/her tick…and what may be getting in the way. {Or perhaps which of your OWN Top 5 are blinding you!}

Perhaps, as your Strengths may illuminate, he is not trying to be frustrating, rather he’s working from the only set of tools he has. How can both of you together reframe the frustration from a new, Strengths-oriented perspective?

{In Isogo TV Episode 56, we dive into this very issue with some examples and tips as well!}



Links & Resources from today

Use StrengthsFinder + Strengths Startup to connect deeper in your marriage
34 Ways to Connect with Your Spouse {using their Strengths!} FREE Resource
Uncover the Secrets to Meeting your Spouses Needs :: Bring It | Need It FREE Tool
FREE StrengthsFinder Masterclass :: Re-energize your Marriage and your Work – Waitlist for Fall!
Isogo TV Video Podcast
Does your Marriage need a new beginning? This is what ours looked like.
ITV 50 | The Power of Saying No {& Yes!} {balance series 5 of 8}
ITV 56 | Reframe Offenses Through Strength {marriage series 3 of 8}
ITV 57 | Make THE Biggest Impact on Your Marriage with This ONE Action {marriage series 4 of 8}
The Gotten Institute {Instagram}


As always, one of the best places to join the Strengths conversation is over at our Facebook Group — Energy Up Frustration Down by Strengths. Join us as we all try to figure out just how to use our Strengths to impact the most important things around us—in our work and life.

If you’re thinking about the way a Strengths-perspective could impact your marriage or your family or you’re just not so sure about it all, reach out, and let’s connect about it. You can catch me at FacebookTwitter or Instagram, all at @isogostrong, or by this handy contact form.

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