"My Husband Irritates Me. I can't get him to change some bad habits that he has. What should I do?"
Thank you for your question. The first thing to look at is your own judgment and resentment. When we are resentful, we can be irritated by just about anything.
Next time you are upset or resentful, notice how sensitive you become. Just about anything--from a slow moving line, to someone's scraping a chair on the floor--makes you irritable.
In essence, resentment and judgment destabilize us because they cut us off from patience and love. The human being is more than just an animal. We have a soul. And the proper environment for our soul is truth and love. Not our truth or our love. But our Creator's truth love.
By definition, when you judge another (with condemnation and unforgiveness), you have separated yourself from truth. Truth is understanding. It is impossible to have understanding and be judgmental at the same time.
When you resent another, you have cut yourself off from love. God's love is a presence within the soul which you cannot usually know is there. But His love stabilizes our whole being. His love, though not palpable, restrains us from running amuck or from coming unglued and becoming hateful and nervous.
If you are like most wives, you have been judging men for a long time. Men are very judgeable and imperfect. At first, men's failings challenge you to try to change them. Their failings gave you a sense of superiority over them. But soon judgment turns to condemnation, resentment, grudges and bitter memories.
Worse yet, your judgment and secret resentment (which you call "hurt feelings") begin to change your beautiful nature into an ugly nagging and dominating one.
Observing these changes in yourself makes you resent your husband even more, since you blame him.
The bottom line is this: learn to observe your husband without judging him. See his failings, but don't hate him for them. Give him some space to be himself. Chances are you are ever critiquing, nagging, and wanting something from him. You pressure makes it hard for him to function.
It is just possible that there may be a real man in there somewhere. But your pressure disables him from functioning, leaving him angry and perhaps uncommunicative most of the time.
A man has to find himself. You cannot make him into one. Of course, it is also possible that there is no good in him. It is possible that he may be just selfish. But you don't know for sure. Right now your judgment and resentment block you from seeing him as he really is.
We are told to be patient with others. Strange, isn't it, that we can be patient with strangers or coworkers, but find it impossible to be patient with those closest to us. If you can't forgive and be patient with those nearest you, then something is wrong.
Patience does not mean resignation, or acceptance with seething resentment. Patience means giving a person a chance. It means looking for the good in another. It means loving what is good in a man. And for men, it means loving what is good in the woman.
Of course, he is wrong too. He is supposed to be noble, honorable, principled, virtuous, brave, longsuffering, and full of wisdom and patience.
Alas, your husband failed (as all Adams have failed their Eves). The secret to your recovery is in learning not to resent him. It matters not whether he ever becomes the real man you have needed or not. By not resenting him, you will free your soul to receive the love of God. As long as you resent and judge another, you block God's love from flooding your being.