Previously, on Miss Potion’s blog:
As I’ve mentioned before, Pre-Cana involves not only a formal class taken with many other couples throughout the diocese, but also some one-on-one time with the priest marrying you. Some of that time is spent doing wedding-planning things like choosing readings and hymns, but that doesn’t come until the end. First, you have to do some preparation for the marriage. In many dioceses, this means taking a test like the FOCUS survey to pinpoint topics where you either disagree or just haven’t discussed yet, and having a series of follow-up meetings to talk about those areas. Since it’s not very convenient to meet with Fr. Ninja on a regular basis, as he’s lived at the other end of the state for most of our engagement, he paired us up with his sister and her husband to do the FOCUS follow-up discussions, as well as some little exercises to encourage conversation on mindsets for a healthy marriage. They live in the area and do marriage prep with couples at their parish, so this was actually very convenient for all of us!
Our last meeting was a short one, but we covered a topic that I think is an important one—annoying each other.
The exercise had us sitting on opposite ends of the sofa with a note card and pen, and we were given a few minutes to write down three things about the other person that we find annoying.
“Only three?” I quipped, earning me a stuck-out tongue from Mr. Potion.
Actually, though, it took us both a while to complete a list of three. I thought of the question as, “In what instances do I find myself thinking, ‘Gosh, that’s annoying!’?” and he thought of the question as, “What habits does Miss Potion have that annoy me?” This might sound like the same question, but they’re actually slightly different. (That’s one of the things I love about us—we think about things in different ways, which makes us a good problem-solving team!) When we were finally finished, we took turns sharing the things we wrote down. What I thought was interesting was that we each prefaced our explanation with, “Now, I understand why you do this, and most of the time it’s not a big deal, but sometimes, it gets annoying”—acknowledging that most of the time, if one of us is frustrated with the other, it has just as much to do with the mood we’re in or our attitude that day as the annoying thing the other person is doing. We also both acknowledged each time that we were aware of that particular quirk in ourselves and are working on fixing it. (SPOILER ALERT: We passed this test with flying colors. Not that it’s a test, or graded in any way…)
Sometimes, Mr. Potion doesn’t know when to let a joke die.
I’m just sayin’. / Image via All Story
Most of the time, if I get annoyed with Mr. Potion for telling the same joke/repeating the same funny phrase/pulling the same “prank” a million times, it’s because I’m just not in a good-humored mood, and it’s not (entirely) his fault. And honestly, the only time this really, really bothers me is if the “joke” is him mocking me for something stupid I said or did. I should be used to that kind of teasing, as I spent most of my life with my family, where you’d better not quote something wrong or it’ll be the only thing anybody ever says to you for the rest of your life, but, sometimes, if I’m in just the right emotional state, this kind of teasing can hurt, coming from Mr. Potion—the man who is supposed to make me always feel positive about myself. But he’s really been working on noticing if his humor is being received well, and lately he’s been leaving those poor dead horses alone.
Miss Potion is rather bossy sometimes all of the time.
I’m not bossy, I just have better ideas! / Image via Canstralian
…guilty as charged. I can get rather annoying in my tendency to tell other people what to do, including Mr. Potion, and it’s something I’m honestly trying to work on in my life overall, not just in our relationship. I’ve sort of always lived by the mantra “If you want something done right, do it yourself,” but sometimes it’s necessary to let other people do things—in which cases, I tell them how to do it! Mr. Potion acknowledged that I am getting better at asking him to do things instead of outright telling him, and at holding my tongue when I have opinions on what he’s doing, unless he asks for help. It’s a work in progress, but I’m getting there!
Mr. Potion sometimes doesn’t understand the concept of personal space.
Image via cheezburger.com
I know what you’re thinking—if this really annoys me now, it’s only going to get worse, because in marriage there’s no such thing as personal space! But honestly this isn’t that annoying—remember, I was having a hard time coming up with things to write down! Sometimes, though, Mr. Potion will want to snuggle on the couch while watching Law and Order while I’d really rather have some space to myself, or (more frustratingly) he’ll try to be sweet and put his arms around me or kiss my neck while I’m trying to cook—most of the time that’s really sweet and I like it, but you probably shouldn’t touch me while I’ve got a huge knife in my hand, dude.
Miss Potion nags Mr. Potion like a professional sitcom wife/mother.
Accurate representation of us / Image via Sitcoms Online
I know I know I know I know I know! Urgh! I am making an honest effort here—I’m at the point where if I say something nagging, I immediately regret it and wish I could unsay it. The next step is to actually stop saying these things. Mr. Potion says this is really only annoying some of the time—most of the time he thinks my maternal nature is adorable. I’ve always always always been the mom type. At the summer camp when we met, I was nicknamed the “Team Mom” of our group. Some of the guys even chipped in some money to buy me a shirt from the college where the camp was held that said “MOM” in big letters, like the kind an actual mom of a college student might wear to football games. My need to take care of people gets kind of ridiculous sometimes. Take a recent example:
Scene: Mr. Potion has a sore throat and has been sucking on cough drops while we sit on the couch watching a movie. He decides to shift positions and lays down with his head in my lap so I can play with his hair until the movie is over.
Miss Potion: Do you have a cough drop in your mouth?
Mr. Potion: No, I finished it.
Miss Potion: OK, good, we’re on the same page.
Mr. Potion: (bewildered) What page?
Miss Potion: Well, if you were still sucking on a cough drop, I was going to tell you to sit up until you’d finished it—you shouldn’t lie down with something in your mouth. You might choke on it.
Mr. Potion: So what you’re saying is, it’s good that I don’t have a cough drop in my mouth anymore because you had a lecture planned, which you gave anyway?
Miss Potion: (sheepishly) Um…yes.
I swear I mean well!
To be honest, I don’t remember what our third things were—but on each list, all three were slightly similar. Basically, Mr. Potion is only annoying when he’s doing something he thinks is funny and I think is not-so-funny, and I’m only annoying when I’m nagging the hell out of him.
The point of the exercise was not really to point out flaws in the other person or even to acknowledge flaws within ourselves—the point was to realize that when you get married, things don’t necessarily change. Yes, your relationship is different when you’re married compared to when you’re not (no matter what other people might say) and, yes, people grow and change over time, but for the most part, if there is something about your future spouse that pisses you off to no end and you think you can make it go away once you marry them…you can’t. If any of the annoyances on our list were things we just absolutely don’t think we can live with, then perhaps the answer is simply: Don’t get married.
(Don’t worry, we can definitely live with these minor annoyances. Mr. Potion’s sense of humor is what first attracted me to him—that and his ridiculous good looks—and he seems to think my nagging nature will make me a good mom one day. But I’m working on it, I swear!)
So, hive, fess up—does your SO do anything that annoys you? Are you aware of your own habits that your SO finds annoying?