How to deal with an annoying husband. 3 great tips from Wife Coach Julie Marah

How to Deal With an Annoying Husband

Does your hubby irritate you? Is he slowly driving you mad with his array of petty but annoying behaviours?

Yep. I hear you. After 17 years of marriage I’ve got a pretty extensive list of things that drive me around the bend.

Leaves pans to ‘soak’ rather than just washing them up.

Tells me I have to turn the light off the second HE wants to go to sleep (even if I’m turning the pages silently and have dimmed the light so low I can barely read…).

Doesn’t turn the light off when I want to sleep (and rustles magazine pages in my ear while he takes his own sweet time).

Wears shoes indoors.

Dumps sweaty gym clothes on top of laundry so everything is stinky and damp.

Doesn’t decide what he wants to eat until the waiter comes, then orders the same thing as me, so now I’m changing my order because I’d wanted us to try different things and share. 

to name just a few….

But since we’ve got another estimated 50 or so years together and I do love him to bits, it seems like a pretty good idea to find ways to manage it without losing my marbles. Or strangling him.

Petty grievances can build up and become a slimy residue on the surface of a marriage. (Eeeewww!)

I put a call out to other mothers to ask what their hubbies do to annoy them. Sixty women were very quick to supply a rather sizeable list…

It’s interesting to note that the tidy gals are driven mad by their sloppy counterparts, and the more, er, ‘relaxed’ ladies are irked by their neat freaks hubbies. And there were an equal amount of women annoyed at their chatterbox husbands as there were whose men tune them out or walk away mid-conversation…

Here’s a sample selection of the many grievances reported:

Makes a ridiculous amount of noise when he eats.

Puts the radio on in the morning when I like peace and quiet.

Runs the tap while brushing teeth – at full pelt.

Opens the mail then leaves the ripped envelopes laying around.

Doesn’t want any clutter anywhere ever. I can’t turn my back on anything or it will be tossed or cleaned and put away.

Never EVER puts ANYTHING EVER away where it is supposed to go.

Doesn’t like any messes and he will start washing bowls and cooking utensils while I am in the middle of cooking or baking.

Inability to put his empty yoghurt pots or banana skins actually in the bin.

Has to consider every (and I mean every) option before making a decision.

Lies naked across the bed after morning shower looking like he wants action (and usually does).

When he cooks anything that doesn’t involve a BBQ, he needs A LOT of praise from everyone because it is the best thing EVER (even though it’s one of three variations of stir fry).

Stops by a shop on his way home and doesn’t ask if I need anything.

Sends me roughly 25 text messages while at the grocery store if I send him for a few things. Just pick something! The whole reason you went is because I’M BUSY!

Wakes me up repeatedly during the night by pulling me over (usually by the head) to his side of the bed so he can cuddle me.

Doesn’t listen, pretends to, then asks a question about what I’d just told him.

Tells me every single thought in his head. Endless chatter.

Walks away during a conversation – like we are in a conversation and he is taking out the trash and leaving the room…and I am supposed to chase him?

Wants to watch TV when I want to have a deeper conversation.

Speaks v-e-r-y sloooowly and often pauses mid sentence for minutes.

He talks a LOT while I’m trying to wake up. I’m just trying to get my eyes open and he doesn’t shut up. Darn talkative extrovert.

Will only watch romantic comedies. And can watch the same one at least a dozen times before realising he’s seen it before.

Complains about excessive noise when I’m doing chores – hates when I’m putting pans and dishes away.

Makes excessive noise when he is doing EVERYTHING.

Being overly noise sensitive to children, putting away pans etc. And huffing and puffing about it!!

Turns the lights off even if I am leaving the room for only thirty seconds but insists on having all electrical appliances on standby.

Has the shower curtain outside the bath, instead of inside.

Cheese wrappers. He won’t throw away the *&^% cheese wrappers. Why? I don’t understand it. He will just set it on the counter and walk away from it.

Throws his dirty underwear & socks right next to the laundry bin! Aarrgghhh! So I started putting them back in his drawers. If it’s not in the laundry bin it must be clean right?

That last one’s my fave – heh heh! 

So who’s right and who’s wrong? Hmmmm…..

I decided to ask my favourite go-to marriage expert, Wife Coach Julie Marah. (Yes, she’s a Life Coach for Wives!) She’s always so good at putting things into perspective.

Julie’s Three Ways to Deal With an Annoying Husband

1. End the Blame Game

Understand and acknowledge that it’s not actually your hubby’s behaviour that’s annoying you – it’s your thoughts about it. Really!

When he leaves his socks on the floor, the lid off the toothpaste or the wet towels on top of clean laundry, what ‘story’ do you tell yourself?

He’s so selfish.

I’m so busy and he does nothing to help me.

He’s deliberately trying to annoy the sh*t out of me!

It’s those pesky thoughts creating your feelings of annoyance, not your hubby (and that’s actually very good news!)

2. Change Your Thinking

Knowing it’s your thinking that’s the root cause of your annoyance is great news – because your mind, unlike your hubby, is something you have complete control over.

You can choose to change your thoughts, and subsequently your emotional state, at any time.

And knowing which behaviours trigger your ‘annoyance button’ means you can be prepared in advance.

Have 3-5 ‘go to’ peaceful-feeling thoughts up your sleeve that you can consciously select when needed. You’ll need to identify the thoughts that work for you, but examples might include:

  • That’s just {hubby} being {hubby}
  • I can choose annoyance or I can choose love – which am I choosing?
  • It’s not personal – his behaviour has nothing to do with me
  • At least he doesn’t ever ________  (refer to some of the things other hubbies do.)
  • I do plenty of things that bug him too

3. Allow It, Then Own It

Ok, let’s get real for a moment. Sometimes you’re going to want to feel p*ssed off with your husband! Immediately changing your thoughts will not be an option. And that’s ok.

Our emotions are great teachers and part of being fully alive is the ability and willingness to feel the whole gamut of our emotional life. An emotion is simply a vibration in your body – nothing more, nothing less.

So, if you want to feel angry, annoyed, resentful, p*ssed off, whatever – give yourself permission to fully feel* that. When we allow our emotions instead of resisting them, they actually pass through our body very quickly.

*Note: Feeling our emotions doesn’t mean reacting to them. It means simply experiencing the sensations in our bodies.

Then, when you’re ready, go back to Tip 1. Understand YOU are the one creating your negative emotions with your thinking. Not your husband. You. Own it. Take responsibility for it.

Then choose to change it. Or not.

This simple but powerful knowledge gives you all your power back.

I can say that in the past two days since reading Julie’s tips I’ve honestly been bemused rather than annoyed by my husband. My go-to ‘peaceful feeling thought’ has been ‘Well it could be a lot worse. At least he doesn’t ______’. I’ve chosen from a variety of the examples above. (I won’t say which ones in case they’re one of yours!)

I’ve also been more aware of the crap I do that annoys him. We’re two different people in inhabiting the same space and we’re never going to think or do things exactly the same. Rather than knit-picking and getting frustrated in hopes he’ll change, I’m going to stay in my own business a lot more and focus on choosing positive thoughts. Julie’s right when she says that we can’t control our husband, but we can control our thoughts and emotions.

Want More Secrets to Staying Married Without Losing Your Sanity!? Head to Wife Coach, Julie Marah’s website.

In the comments below share a few of the things that trigger your ‘annoyance button’ and which peaceful-feeling thoughts you could select instead.

Like this post? Please share it!

photo credit: Heart(s) via photopin (license)

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  1. Mari-Liis Link-A. on March 23, 2015 at 11:58 AM

    This (the reported grievances) is so funny, Kelly! I was laughing out loud so much that even my almost 2 year old daughter came to me and said a word “Funny?!”
    I know I am responsible for my thoughts and feelings. I’m getting more and more familiar with the idea that I can also let myself FEEL the emotion without reacting to it.

    Thank you xx

    • Kelly Pietrangeli on March 23, 2015 at 2:11 PM

      I’m glad you got a good giggle – and that your daughter knows such a great word! 🙂 Glad it all resonated with you Mari Liis xx

    • 26 Years and Counting on November 11, 2019 at 2:31 PM

      My husband *never* asks me what’s funny when I laugh out loud at something. Never. Ever.

      • Rosie on November 23, 2019 at 3:35 PM

        After reading this I want to leave my husband. I just can’t feel and not react to these emotions of annoyance. Life is too short to suffer with annoyance . Let’s find new husbands. Then again, it’s too much work so I’ll just suffer in silence.

        • LISA REEVES on February 16, 2020 at 11:09 PM

          Hi Rosie. I agree.. Why should we have to accept these behaviours.. especially the ones where they are just plain inconsiderate to our feelings.. laziness I cant tolerate.. and why should I.. As I tell my husband, I am his wife,, not the maid!

          • Jennifer R. Beck on March 27, 2020 at 11:04 PM

            Reading this makes me want to cry. He annoys me to the point where I’m angry about everything he does and says. He takes nothing seriously, everything is a joke. He laughs at my opinions and expects me to respect his. Instant asshole, just add beer. The only good thing is that he isn’t violent. When he doesn’t have a beer can in his hand we get along great. He talks to me like a normal person and I actually want to engage with him.

        • Annoyed Wife on April 17, 2020 at 5:30 PM

          my husband pees in the toilet and flushes it BEFORE he finishes , bites his nails and spits them on the floor (or collects them in a pile and never throws it away) , he SNORES , he yells at our puppy all the time and then complains she doesn’t like him (DUH you’re always yelling at her) , his phone always has to be on speaker and he talks very loud …I think the article made me even more annoyed . I don’t even react . i’ve calmly stated “hey babe I don’t like when you do that” & he continues …so NOW WHAT -_-

        • Lily on July 21, 2020 at 11:56 AM

          I’m right there with you….After 25 years, he drives me totally insane! Can’t do anything else so, like you I stay in my own lane and do my best not to bitch all day long at the stuff that drives me nuts…I spend time in the other part of the house or just stay busy, so I don’t have to be around him…

  2. Jane on March 23, 2015 at 12:08 PM

    Morning Kelly! My gosh, are we perhaps married to the same man?! My hubby has that soak-but-never-wash-the-pans thing going on too. Aargh! Oh, and the wanting the light off immediately thing when I’m reading in bed, despite me letting him read if I need to sleep – angel halo glowing here too! 😉 AND the wearing shoes indoors thing, plus he has, like, 15 pairs of (v similar) men’s office shoes, and if “we’re” not careful, they all end up on display in various places around the house. :-O All in all though, the hub and I are pretty good at being forgiving with each other about these little things. They’re not worth getting mad about. Mostly, I think, my normal reaction is “Oh well, I do plenty of things that bug him too” and “He does so many wonderful things that I am grateful for, I can’t really get annoyed about this stuff.” It’s when we disagree about bigger things like childraising (or screen time) that tempers rise… :-/

    • Kelly Pietrangeli on March 23, 2015 at 2:16 PM

      Hmmm….. now you’ve got me wondering… My hubby says he works in London on weeknights. Is he really hanging at YOUR house??

      Out of respect, I of course let him read this before I published it. My long and funny list was whittled down to this. (Thankfully he didn’t force me to print what annoys him about me!)


      • Jane on March 23, 2015 at 2:33 PM

        Hahaha!! Darn that two-timing rat!!! He is totally busted!!! xxx

  3. Lucy on March 23, 2015 at 12:11 PM

    Great post today Kelly. I laughed a lot at all the different complaints and then begun to wonder how long the list would be that our husbands might make about us!

    • Kelly Pietrangeli on March 23, 2015 at 2:17 PM

      Ha ha! Did you recognise the example you’d supplied??

      Yes, I’d rather not see their list of our crap…..

  4. Erin on March 23, 2015 at 4:49 PM

    I think I already do this with my husband. When I am annoyed that he has put the dishes on the clean counter, when it would have taken him 5 additional seconds to just put it in the dishwasher, I try and take a breath. I don’t do anything but be with myself and know that this too (the feeling) shall pass. Then, if it doesn’t I can very calmly say to him to please put the dishes in the dishwasher next time.

    HOWEVER, I need to apply this to my kids. (Although I do think it is personal and has everything to do with annoying me sometimes from them). I don’t know why it is so much easier to let their actions really get to me and I can get mad at them and say they were the one that caused it. I am the one reacting, thus I am responsible. So hard to do. Maybe because there are more things or I am just with them more of the day, so there are more opportunities to cause things to resonate in me.

    • Kelly Pietrangeli on March 23, 2015 at 6:17 PM

      Interesting to transfer this advice over to our annoying kids too Erin! At least with them we can teach and train them NOT to do a lot of these things. With our hubbies, it’s a rather lost cause – ha ha! 😉

  5. Leanne on March 23, 2015 at 4:56 PM

    Good one, Kelly! Mine LOVES to soak the pans too. But working on love and acceptance of all personality quirks!!

    • Kelly Pietrangeli on March 23, 2015 at 6:17 PM

      What’s with the soaking of the pans, huh Leanne? x

  6. Helen Butler on March 23, 2015 at 9:16 PM

    Great article Kelly and Julie! I find if I focus on what my husband is doing to annoy me I get cranky! I don’t want that and I’ve taught myself over time not to focus on it. He’s so good in so many ways – and goodness knows I do stuff to annoy him too!! Life’s too short to get cranky about super small things. Xx

    • Kelly Pietrangeli on March 23, 2015 at 9:38 PM

      You’re so lucky if you can automatically turn your focus away from his annoying habits. I have to REALLY try hard! But already Julie’s tips are helping me, especially to choose a peaceful feeling thought that I have up my sleeve… Thanks for commenting Helen x

  7. Adrienn on March 23, 2015 at 9:57 PM

    So funny to see all the similarities! If I’m super annoyed I usually call my sister and we have a good laugh about it.
    Great tip on having a tool kit with peaceful thoughts!

    • Kelly Pietrangeli on March 24, 2015 at 1:58 PM

      Glad you can have a giggle with your sis Adrienn – that must really help 🙂

  8. Lisa Nichols on March 24, 2015 at 11:27 AM

    As a graduate of Julie’s “Stay Married Without Losing your Sanity” I am pleased to report Mr N is still alive … Despite doing 90% of the above examples. I was ready to hit him over the head with a spade and bury the evidence but, the girls are so find of him 😀

    • Kelly Pietrangeli on March 24, 2015 at 1:57 PM

      So great to hear that your hubby is alive and well thanks to Julie 🙂 Thanks for assuring us all that there can be a positive outcome for even the most problematic situations Lisa!

  9. Lisa Nichols on March 24, 2015 at 11:28 AM

    ^fond of him!

  10. Michala on March 24, 2015 at 1:09 PM

    I think the hardest part in all of this is not feeling hard done to. If we accept the dirty socks, rubbish wiping down of the worktops, basically taking shortcuts everywhere they can, it feels like you are on your own doing all the house jobs. On the other hand point scoring and constant nagging are demoralizing for all and energy sapping. Trying to focus on all they do well and for you takes effort but more positive results. Can’t say I find it easy all of the time if I’m honest! Lol.

    • Kelly Pietrangeli on March 24, 2015 at 2:03 PM

      Thanks for your honesty Michala. A lot of the comments here are from people who seem to be able to laugh it off and take it in their stride, but for others it’s not as simple as that.

      I hope you’ll download Julie’s Mini Sheet and explore her website because of course there’s more to it than the three tips she’s given here. It’s so worth the time and energy to invest in ways of making yourself happier in your marriage. xx

  11. Kristy on March 24, 2015 at 9:01 PM

    Kelly, this was such a candid post and I loved it. I oscillated between laughing and reflecting on my own (gorgeous, albeit frustrating-at-times husband). “I can choose annoyance or I can choose love – which am I choosing?” This was so powerful for me. Thank you for shining a light on a topic that is often not discussed (but IS often mumbled under our breath).

    • Kelly Pietrangeli on March 25, 2015 at 8:14 PM

      You’re welcome Kristy! I too laughed… and then reflected. It’s amusing to read about it, but these things have a way of eating us up! I too am taking Julie’s advice to heart. x

  12. Summer Howard on March 26, 2015 at 4:04 PM

    Love these short and sweet implementable tips from Julie! And just like Lucy – I thought of all list my hubs could pull out on me (one of them would surely be: She still has unpacked boxes in her home office after being there 4 weeks). Great article!

    • Kelly Pietrangeli on March 26, 2015 at 8:58 PM

      Thanks Summer – that’s a real compliment coming from you! Love your work 🙂

  13. Patricia Monahan on March 26, 2015 at 10:30 PM

    This was too funny! Plenty of ideas for “at least he doesn’t ever… ” 🙂
    And, like others, it made me wonder how long HIS list would be!
    Great tips from Julie! I choose LOVE.

    • Kelly Pietrangeli on March 27, 2015 at 9:51 AM

      Yep – I’ve been using the ‘at least he doesn’t ______’ quite effectively!

      Always choose LOVE Patricia!! xx

  14. […] also true that what’s super annoying for one person simply isn’t on the radar of another. What’s glaringly obvious to you may need […]

  15. Newlywed on June 4, 2017 at 12:16 AM

    Maybe it’s because I haven’t been married very long but some of these sound quite petty. Some I laughed out loud reading, but others…
    Speaking as someone that waited a loooooong time to get married (I held out for Mr. Right but it took a while!) when you’re annoyed at your husband just remind yourself that you HAVE one. When I was single that was one of my biggest pet peeves is hearing women complain about their husbands. I couldn’t help but think, “At least you HAVE one…”
    Same with women and their children. Some women are praying that one day they’ll be able to have kids, and all others do is complain about theirs.

    Just try to remember that. At least you ARE married. And mostly happily married. 🙂

    • Jessica on June 28, 2017 at 8:14 PM

      No. Just no. You don’t get to dictate how others feel.

      On another note… This article was exactly what I needed to hear. I’m definitely going to implement these suggestions, thank you!

    • Angie Silverstein on October 21, 2018 at 10:27 PM

      So you think women’s should put up and shut up because they like have a husband. ? Lmao what decade are you living in? I could not be with a man who acted like a kid and like refuse to do HIS own share of the housework and take care of HIS own children that he brought into this word. If he started to act like a cock lodger I would no sleep with him and he would be very quickly kicked out of the family home.End of.

      My awesome husband and me are a team. So we split literally everything 50:50 because we signed up to marriage, 8 kids and buying a detached house together. We both work full time so that means we both do our fair share at all times. We never have to have a argument or remind or beg the other person to “help” out. Why? Because we are adults who have eyes and can what needs doing around the house and do the stuff we need to do for our kids and actually do it.

      Deluded Women like you are part of the problem, you are enablers and are setting a bad example to your your sons and your daughters how men and women behave…

    • Mandy on August 5, 2019 at 8:08 PM

      You obviously haven’t been married long!! You’ll get there… even your Angel will irritate you at some point ??

    • Michele McClure on January 22, 2021 at 9:18 PM

      Yes, I totally agree with you. I’d rather have my husband not on a business trip, wrecking the living room, as opposed to being on a business trip and you worrying if he’s safe

  16. Kelly Pietrangeli on July 13, 2017 at 6:54 PM

    Hi Elizabeth, I’m feeling your frustrations here. The fact is, the entire post could have been re-written as How to Deal With An Annoying Wife and we could have collected stories of what wives do that annoy their husbands.

    When two adults have to live under the same roof as each other, there are inevitably going to be differences and annoyances. Who’s ‘right’ and who’s ‘wrong’ is in the eye of the beholder.

    I really love Julie Marah’s advice above about not trying to change another person, but to work on yourself and your own ability to let go. The more I practice this (towards ALL things that are annoying in life), the more peaceful I feel. We only live once in this body, we all need to relax more and reach for better feeling thoughts so we can enjoy our time here more. 🙂

  17. Stephanie on January 21, 2018 at 6:57 PM

    Husband turns up tv so loud I can’t think or watches videos on his phone at full volume blast! Drives me up the wall and after reading your post I AGREE that I chose how to respond to these annoying behaviors. Hubby knows I like it quiet and noise makes me irritated. Ahhh… just venting to someone who can relate. I will try to change my mindset. Is it wrong that I wish I could send my husband to an island so I can have peace and quiet? Seriously.

    • Kelly Pietrangeli on January 21, 2018 at 8:37 PM

      No, you’re not wrong to have those feelings. But good for you for venting and then looking for how you can respond differently. Might I suggest he wears headphones? Or you? xx

  18. Alison on April 15, 2018 at 3:28 AM

    I have to agree. Annoying behavior whether it be from a wife or a husband is often simply disrespectful. Allowing it to continue is not a coice of love but one of enablement. Perhaps one can reason it offers less conflict in the now however, relationships take work and allowing disrespectful behavior to continue is not investing in the long term.

  19. […] 10  I’ve learned to recognise the role my ego plays in becoming defensive or wanting to win my point and I’m able to let go more easily when I’ve been triggered. A Few years back I set a recurring reminder to flash up on my phone on weekend mornings that said TAME YOUR EGO and I practiced ego awareness which really helped to cut back on the number of stupid arguments that never needed to happen. I’m much better at the Art of Letting Go and I don’t allow myself to get so irritated with his annoying behaviours. Read my popular post How to Deal With An Annoying Husband. […]

  20. sammi on May 21, 2019 at 9:32 PM

    sometimes i wish my hubby would have an affair…. it would get him out of the house and off my back!

  21. Julie Hill on May 12, 2020 at 12:12 AM

    I just wish my husband would stop complaining yelling and saying that his way is the only way. Plus he stands right behind me when I’m cooking. Always telling me that I’m wasting time and money. It re hurts when he is like that.

  22. Shannon on June 23, 2020 at 1:49 PM

    I feel that while these tips may be helpful for processing uncomfortable emotions in the short term, they may actually contribute to greater resentment in the long term because you are essentially making their bad habits your (neverending) responsibility to emotionally manage. Marriage is a partnership and that requires at least some degree of thoughtful accommodation from both parties.

  23. Mabe on August 13, 2020 at 8:20 AM

    After reading this beautiful peace, I look at my marriage of 9years… I conclude marriage is a crazy union. Why is it so difficult for both parties to meet at the mid-point on all issues

  24. Rose on January 16, 2021 at 9:30 PM

    My hubby either has absolutely no energy at all and spends all day sleeping and playing video games, or has an INSANE amount of energy and is all up in my space– loud loud singing, doesn’t take anything I say seriously… and then when I get annoyed he says “why are you so agro?” or “calm down” which of course, frustrates me more.
    I try to choose him over and over every day, but sometimes it’s hard. It makes me sad because I never thought I would be in a marriage where my significant other annoyed me 🙁 I guess my parents either didn’t experience this, or were good at hiding it because I never witnessed it!

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