Love’s not being rude and not being irritable seem to be about the same thing, but irritability might be more of a subset of rudeness brought on by a selfish response to stress.
Stress, Selfishness, and Irritability
What I lack in outright anger and rage and yelling, I make up for in spades with irritability. The writers of The Love Dare note that stress, brought on by ‘overworking, overplaying, and overspending’ can be huge sources of stressful irritability. So can arguing, division, and bitterness.
My sources of stress that lead to irritability tend to be:
- Financial stress – Both not having what I feel is ‘enough’ and having a hard time paying the bills
- Parental stress – Sometimes, I just get frustrated with my inability to reason with 3 yr olds and that spills over into how grumpy I am.
- Time Management stress – I get frustrated when I get up early to tend to my disciplines and get side-swiped by preschoolers’ 5:30 wake up time.
- ‘Who Am I’ stress – My personal ontological questioning messes with my head. What should I be doing with my life?
Then, like the writers talk about in The Love Dare, I respond selfishly as if I’m the only one who matters. Consequently, I can be grumpy regardless of who I upset in the process. They should let me because I’m being a big whiny baby.
So, as it relates to you, my sweet wife: I’m sorry when I’m a grumpy jerk. I’m sorry when I react to things because people, places, or things are infringing on my personal right to never be uncomfortable.
You deserve a gracious, patient husband. I pray I grow more and more in this area.
The Dare: Create Margin
I’m supposed to list areas in my schedule where I can create margin. Perhaps I could also list things around the 4 bullets above that would help me be less of a butt:
- Create Hard Boundaries Around Work: Leave for work at 7am and leave to come home at 5pm. When home, do not let email bleed throughout the evening. Pick a 15 minute processing time if I really must.
- Budget: Create a monthly budget and use cash so we don’t overspend and get stressed that way.
- Work Diligently: While at work, make the most of it so it won’t need to bleed into after hours.
- Honor Myself: I simply mean that I pursue one or two things reasonably that honor the ‘who am I’ question.
- No Raised Voices: I can be firm, but I must not yell.
- A Rescue Word? I know I should invite you to throw a shoe at me if I get too grumpy. Perhaps a funny rescue word instead?
I’ll try to gently love you out of irritability, too. I know you hate mornings! 😉