Linda Lewis Griffith

Are you easy to live with?

It’s easy to blame our spouses whenever we’re not pleased. We tell ourselves they’re being unreasonable, that they’re stubborn or just plain hard to be around.

Yet we seldom look into the mirror and wonder, “Am I easy to live with? Am I doing everything I can to be a pleasant, compatible partner?”

Easy-to-live-with spouses come in all shapes and sizes. But they do share certain characteristics that make them a joy to be around.

First, they’re happy most of the time. They wake up on the right side of the bed and remain cheery throughout the day. They prefer to talk about enjoyable topics and steer clear of arguments and complaints. Of course, even rosy folks have their crabby moments. They’re human, after all. Most days, however, find them smiling and walking down the sunny side of life.

Easy-to-live-with partners want to make their loved ones happy. They give their spouses’ desires front-row status.

They’re not doormats. They do have opinions. Still, the welfare of the marriage is top priority and they do their best to make it work.

Easy-to-live-with spouses don’t need to be in control. They willingly pass the leadership baton to their mates. They listen to others’ viewpoints. Things don’t have to go their way. Even when they harbor strong opinions, they avoid taking a my-way-or-thehighway stance.

Pleasant spouses control their anger. They seldom fly off the handle. Expletives and name-calling aren’t in their playbook. They’re able to resolve the inevitable snafus by staying calm and talking things out.

When they do get hot under the collar, these folks are able to extract themselves from the fray. They recognize the power in regaining their composure before resuming the discussion.

Easy-to-live-with mates have selective amnesia. They forgive their family members’ transgressions quickly and avoid bringing up the past. They free themselves of grudges and estrangements, preferring to get along with everyone in the clan.

These partners may be ajoy to live with, but they’re not perfect. They step in their share of relationship piles.

When they do, they’re quick to acknowledge, “I’ve blown it.” They act promptly to set things right. Being a good spouse doesn’t mean an absence of errors. Instead, it means hitting the delete key and being willing to retype the page.

SEE HOW PLEASANT A SPOUSE YOU REALLY ARE

Do you wonder if you’re easy to live with? Ask yourself the following questions:

Are you a glass-half-full kind of person?

Do you usually come home from work in a good mood?

Do you talk about pleasant topics when you’re with your loved one?

Do you do something nice for your spouse every day?

Do you keep your strong opinions about politics and religion to yourself?

Are you able to forget about your spouse’s past mistakes?

Can you discuss difficult issues without getting defensive or angry?

Are you willing to consider your spouse’s suggestions?

Do you thank your partner for all he or she does for you?

If you answered “yes” to these questions, then you’re probably an A-plus spouse. Those questions receiving “no” answers might give clues to areas you could improve.

NOT PLEASANT ENOUGH? TRY THESE 5 TIPS

If you’d like to be easier to live with, try these simple steps:

Smile. Your mood is contagious. You feel better living with someone who’s cheerful than you do with a chronic Eeyore. Do your marriage a huge favor and put on a happy face. Your mate will feel instantly better. Your own mood will actually improve.

Be nice. The simple act of being an amiable person pays big dividends on the marital front. Greet your wife at the door with a glass of wine. Thank Hubby for being such a great step-dad to your kids. The positive vibes will quickly spread to all areas of your relationship.

Let it go. Past hurts interfere with your present enjoyment. You can’t undo what’s already happened. Torturing your partner only makes things worse. If spouses are worth keeping, they’re worth forgiving. The sooner you do it, the happier you both will be.

Keep your mouth shut. Nobody wants to hear you complain. Your spouse wants to hear it even less. Your loved one isn’t your emotional trash can. Find appropriate places to vent. Instead, engage in pleasant conversation at home.

Say “I love you” every day. These three little words reconnect you to your spouse and infuse energy into your marriage. Say them often. Say them sweetly. You’ll be easier to live with when you do.

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