How to Cope With Your
Spouse's Annoying Habits

When you took your vows, you probably promised to love each other "for better or worse." Unfortunately, that includes putting up with your spouse's nastiest habit. The good news: Dirty dishes or a few towels on the bathroom floor don't have to get in the way of marital bliss. Here are real couples complaints submitted to on their spouse's annoying tendencies and the answers on how to deal with it.

The flaw: "My husband is a great cook, but he leaves a huge mess in the kitchen afterwards. It drives me insane."
How to cope: Of course it does — but here's the thing. There's an unspoken rule in many households that I agree with: "He who cooks shall not clean up," and it goes for both men and women. Discuss this “cooking/clean-up rule” with your husband and decide if you both want to incorporate it into your own home. Also, suggest you both do some clean-up along the way when you’re on cooking duty. And when you cook dinner, leave the cleanup to him. He’ll see what it’s like to be on the clean-up crew.

The flaw: "She'll lose her keys, then she'll ask me if I've seen them. They're her keys!"
How to cope: Get her one of those key finders (google to order one on-line) so the next time she can't find her keys, all she has to do is press a button. Voila! It's that easy.

The flaw: "He can't figure out how to hang up a towel after he uses it. I don't even realize how many towels he has gone through until I realize there are no more towels in the closet and I find a wet, smelly pile of towels behind a door."
How to cope: Buy a hamper ... and put it next to the door. At least then, if he's not hanging up his towels, he's tossing them away to be washed. You can also post a note next to the towel hanger reminding him to hang up his towel. Add a smiley face (as opposed to 5 exclamation points) so it won’t sound like nagging.

The flaw: "He leaves his clothes next to his side of the bed instead of walking three feet to the laundry basket."
How to cope: Stop picking them up. This might gross you out, but eventually that smell from his gym clothes will get to even him. And at that point, he's going to have to do the laundry (yes, this requires you not washing and folding his clothes) which means he'll have to pick them up sometimes too.

The flaw: "My wife has at least two glasses of water around the house at any given time."
How to cope: The answer to this is very simple. The only way you're going to be able to get through to her on this is by telling her that it bothers you. Hey, at least you're just talking about some glasses of water and not some other impossible habit to overcome.

The flaw: "When my husband 'does the dishes' he puts everything dishwasher-safe in the machine, and then leaves anything that must be hand-washed in the sink. What gives?"
How to cope: Sounds like he's trying to help, but instead of going the full mile, he's running out of steam halfway through. Let him know how much you appreciate his help (and maybe even throw in a little, um, reward) to give him the stamina to follow through. Or, just grab the liquid dish soap and hand it to him — with a smile.

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