My wife annoys me:

Dear Dr. Brilliant Cliché:

My wife is a good person but she annoys me. Here’s one example. She is always doing her part to save the earth. This means following the “green” trends. Because cow farming is deforesting the earth she cooks with meat substitutes like such as tempeh. She replaces all the light bulbs with compact florescent ones that are more expensive, keep blowing out and can’t be thrown out due to the mercury in them. We have a ginormous pile of toxic dead bulbs in the garage now. Currently she is into making her own laundry detergent, which doesn’t work and is making our house smell like an old age home. This topic isn’t really up for discussion. She just tells me I don’t care about the environment. What I was wondering is, are all marriages like this? Aren’t we supposed to see eye to eye?


Dear Perturbed,

In many cultures there is an expectation of marital bliss. People get the idea that their partner should never annoy them. But people are annoying in general- they don’t think like you do or do what you would want them to. Why would a partner be any different?

I know a couple where the wife was seeing a therapist. The therapist asked her how the marriage was going. The wife said, “ I think we annoy each other.” The therapist said, “More than any other marriage?” Any couple that doesn’t annoy each other is playing roles or simply not discussing any negative issues. Marriages where people don’t annoy each other will not last. Couples who embrace their annoyance and find the humor in it will endure.

A good and humorous book on the joys of annoying spousal bliss is, You Say Tomato I Say Shut Up, by Annabelle Gurwitch.

Once you accept that you are both annoying individuals compromises can be found that satisfy both of you. You seem to appreciate your wife for who she is despite not liking or agreeing with what she does. This is the basis of compromise. I’d start by affirming that her efforts are important and valid- then mention that they don’t seem to be working in your particular situation. See if you can make them work for both of you.

Good Luck,

Dr. Brilliant Cliché

Granny says: It could be worse- your wife could decide to embrace Breatharianism and refuse to prepare food any longer because she was convinced she could live on air and light. You may think I am making this up, but I’m serious. Dr. Brilliant is right- a couple without conflict is a couple following a script or sweeping the crap under a rug. But back to your wife…her intentions are good but she’s wearing horse blinders and is as irrational as any fundamentalist. It is not possible to question her, no matter how reasonable your arguments are. I have to wonder if she takes this attitude towards every opinion or belief she holds, or if she reserves her fanaticism for the Green Movement. If she is an unyielding and intolerant human, you are in for a lifetime of swallowing your own feelings. The resolution of conflict requires an effort towards understanding from both partners, not just one.


About Dr. Brilliant Cliché

Dr. Brilliant Cliché and the Granny Dr. are a fictional web presence and advice blog. Together we offer a joint perspective that is deep but not academic, entertaining but not fluff, and educated yet street smart. By joining the internet community we hope to share thoughts and stimulate insightful conversation around pressing issues that affect us all. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts. (This is not a site for therapy nor does it intend to replace medical or other professional care. ) You can leave comments here or email The Dr. at and don’t forget to like us on facebook. Our facebook page is Dr. Brilliant Cliche
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4 Responses to My wife annoys me:

  1. moogarosen says:

    I’ve been feeling really annoyed with my husband lately. I know I just need to use my SAD lamp longer and possibly buy the above mentioned book. This week’s post was an encouragement to me and a needed reminder that We are all annoying and need to give grace unless it’s really out of hand!

  2. Ken Bryant says:

    Look at whether or not your wife’s preoccupation with the “green thing” as adversely affecting an important area of each of your lives, like work, social life, sex life, etc. Although it sounds like its just this one subject you are concerned with, conflict between you has increased because you are both doing something to annoy each other. First, this preoccupation of hers is advancing. She is moving from one green compulsion (from light bulbs to laundry soap) to another. Your outward criticism causes her to put this whole thing ahead of you when she says you do not care about the environment. Help your relationship in two ways. First, work with her on this green thing. Help her out with some of the activities. Second, keep tabs on where she is getting her information to fire her up. There may be some flaws in her resources that even she would agree is not worth pursuing. In that case, you have won back some of her trust in your judgments. This will give both you and her more room to compromise.

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