This is a preview. The full article appears in Neil's book: Love, Sex and Staying Warm: Creating a Vital Relationship

Dear Neil: How would you recommend I handle this? My wife of three months is chronically late. She was late to our wedding and late to our honeymoon (we missed our flight, but we were able to get a later flight). I’m one of these super-punctual people, and her persistent lateness is a strong irritation for me in our marriage.

But the irritation doesn’t stop there. She also goes to bed at 8pm, which is way too early for me. This means I go to bed when she’s asleep and she wakes up when I’m asleep, and we operate on largely different schedules. She’s also far messier than I am, and it bothers me when our place looks unkempt and sloppy.

I love her and I’m devoted to her, and I recognize that none of these are deal breakers. But they are irritants that get in my way from feeling consistently loving and close toward her. How would you recommend I handle this?

Irritated in California

Dear California: Welcome to the not-always-rewarding experience of trying to blend lives, values, schedules and habits with someone else. If you had chosen to marry the lady next door, the woman down the street or a lady in another country, you would likely have equal or greater irritants with those women as you do with the one you married. The nature of two people living together insures that the two of you will get on each other’s nerves from time to time.

Marriage is about two people trying to live together harmoniously and civilly with each other. It’s not like the two of you value all the same things or are clones of each other. It’s about two people trying to function as one, not a rubber stamp of one person’s way to the exclusion of the other person.

There is a happy way out of this dilemma. It’s about choosing to be peaceful rather than being irritated at your wife.

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Tagged: compatibility   getting along   harmony in a relationship  

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