Driving Each Other Mad: Tiny Tortures In Relationships

conversation-799448_1920Counselors often say it’s the little things that count between couples for better or worse. Small signs of affection can mean so much but small and irritating habits and behaviors can also drive people crazy, even driving couples apart. Here are some small destructive relationship habits to avoid.

Making Assumptions

Maybe your wife usually eats salad at dinner. She might have ordered salad the last five times you went out, but she also has the right to change her mind. You will drive her crazy by saying “we’ll go somewhere you can get a salad” instead of asking “do you feel like having salad tonight?” Actually, it is the part about “stating” rather than “asking” which will get a person riled up. Ask the question, don’t make the statement. Show the person you love that you also respect her by asking her to tell you in her own words what she wants or is thinking. Don’t phrase the question “you want a salad, don’t you?” That’s a statement or assumption disguised as a question. Women will often take that to mean something it doesn’t mean, leading to the next annoying little problem.


Women should know that men usually think and speak in black and white. Their statements don’t hide deeper meaning. In the example above, a husband is not telling his wife that he thinks she should have a salad. His intention is not to hint at a weight problem. That goes for many other situations where partner B thinks partner A is hinting at something, when really partner A is speaking without thinking and partner B is thinking too much.

Not Listening

Too often couples fail to really listen to each other. They hear one word of a statement, ignore the rest and come to an inaccurate conclusion. This is a problem easily fixed by doing a few things. One is to stop what you are doing and pay attention to the other person. Another is to stop preparing an answer the whole time your partner is speaking.

Forgetting Important Dates

Some people don’t care about anniversaries and birthdays, but if one person likes to know that the other remembers, make a point of not forgetting.

Then again, too much weight is placed on dates. What about all the other days of the year? If a partner shows love and affection the other 363 days of the year then a missed or forgotten birthday or anniversary shouldn’t be a big deal.


Don’t say extreme things in the heat of the moment, especially threatening things. Telling someone you’ll leave if you don’t get what you want or threatening to do something significant is hurtful and frightening. If a spouse is fearful of his partner’s response, he’s less likely to be honest or try to engage in discussion. This isn’t healthy. Two people should be able to disagree safely.

Pick your Battles

Couples will argue, but what’s important? Decide early on what you value most and avoid fighting about things that don’t matter to you. If going with the flow saves conflict, sometimes it’s alright to agree or give in.