10 Married Couples Told Me How They Deal With 'Pet Peeves'

"Marriage is finding that special someone you want to annoy for the rest of your life."—Unknown


The lead quote that I just shared? For the record, I hope that most of y'all know that it's shared I jest. Well, kinda. While it definitely should be no one's life goal to find ways to annoy someone else (lawd), the reality is we're all human. And when we sign up to share a living space with another person, long-term, there are going to be things that they do that annoys us just like there are gonna be things that we do that annoys them. Not on purpose. Just because.

Another term for annoy is "pet peeve" and if there's one thing that I find myself dealing with, when it comes to married couples, it's them figuring out how to navigate through their own pet peeves about one another, so that they can have more peace—even fun—so that they're less irritated, bothered…annoyed with one another.

Thankfully, 10 couples that I know were willing to share with me how they get through some of the things about each other that would technically fall into the pet peeve category. My goal in you seeing them is, if you take note of their issues and approach, it can either help you to work through what annoys you in your own marriage or, if you're single, further prepare you for what could definitely be in store someday. Are you ready to figure out how to deactivate daily marital triggers? Let's go.

1. The Taylors. Married 3 Years. Morning Routine.

Husband: "The thing that I wasn't prepared for was the fact that my wife is an early riser. I mean, early. And she wakes up hyper, happy and sometimes horny. I know that sounds awesome to you single folks but when you've got kids and sometimes have only had 4-5 hours of rest, someone humming and opening curtains at 5-6 a.m. isn't fun. I used to snap about it which got us off to a bad start. Now, I ask her to cuddle for 10 minutes or so. It helps me to ease into waking up. And not being jolted makes me more pleasant. Even though I prefer sex at night, it can make morning sex more appealing too."

Wife: "Can you see me rolling my eyes? I know you can. Who turns down morning sex? This guy. This guy right here. What caused me to feel less rejected was realizing that I'm basically my husband around midnight when he'd prefer to get it in. As far as him hating the morning, I used to feel like we should begin the day together. For the past year or so, I usually just leave him alone and take advantage of the quiet time by myself. At least once a week, he's got to get up, though. He knows why."


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2. The Johnsons. Married 7 Years. Living Habits.

Husband: "I hate a messy kitchen. My wife hates a messy bathroom. For me, when dishes are left in the sink, I'm pissed. For her, if there are towels on the bathroom floor, I won't hear the end of it. The solution? I clean the kitchen most of the time and she cleans the bathroom. Life gets a lot easier when you accept that your spouse isn't gonna see life the way that you do. Rather than us both arguing over why our partner doesn't see things our way, it's best to just figure out the easiest way to get things done. Remember that and you'll have a lot less drama in your life."

Wife: "My husband's closet looks crazy. I mean, CRAZY. It drives me up the wall, but we don't share one. Ladies, men didn't sign up to marry their mama, auntie or big sister. Walking around, dictating how they should live is the best way to cause them to shut down and shut you out. I rarely have to go in his closet for anything, so that's how I handle it. What I don't see won't hurt me. I just make sure he knows that I don't want what's in his closet to be in our shared living space. It took a minute, but we've found our groove on that."

"Life gets a lot easier when you accept that your spouse isn't gonna see life the way that you do. Rather than us both arguing over why our partner doesn't see things our way, it's best to just figure out the easiest way to get things done."

3. The Richardsons. Married 11 Years. Finances.

Husband: "S—t. This is what no one really gets until they get married. It's really hard to always find your spouse appealing when you're arguing over bills and budgeting. A business partner for a wife is A LOT. Plus, my wife and I don't see the same way about money. At all. She's more of a 'If I got it, why not spend it?' while I'm more of a 'We don't have it if we don't have passive income yet'. I used to get really pissed because she seemed reckless with spending. Eventually, we found a way to set aside a certain amount of money each month that she can go ham on and a certain amount that we save. I can't tell you that I'm thrilled with our arrangement because a lot of what she gets seems like a waste of money to me but hell, marriage is about compromise, right? If you ain't ready to do that, damn near every day, don't get married. Don't. Get. Married."

Wife: "When we were dating? Girl, my husband could romance with the best of 'em. A big spender too. That's why I was thinking that we saw money from the same perspective. We absolutely don't. It was like the minute he put my three-carat ring on my finger, he damn near became a miser. What I had to learn was a man wooing you and providing for you can be very different things—he wooed me to get me and now he's more concerned with providing for my needs. That way of thinking is something that I had to learn to respect and appreciate. Don't get me wrong, a brotha still has to date a sistah. I've just learned that him pulling back the coins is about making sure I'm good."


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4. The Talberts. Married 5 Years. Sex.

Husband: "Married sex is better than a lot of my friends said that it was. I think some of them chose the wrong partner but that's on them. My main pet peeve is that sometimes my wife can get lazy when it comes to sex. Like, she's always down to have it but she's sometimes like, 'How can we get this done in under 10 minutes?' when I like to draw it out like we did when we were dating. She says it's because she likes sex but has a ton of other things to do. I've just learned to get in where I fit in and try and create romantic scenarios where she wants to have sex for longer periods of time. It's not perfect but it's ideal."

Wife: "I married a lover and I love that. The sex is so good and, I'm not just saying this because he's in earshot but, my hubby really is the best partner I've ever had. The thing I wasn't prepared for is having to have sex all of the time. Like, all of the time. When I was single, if I wanted to do it every day for a week or only once a month, it was all good. Everything was on my terms. Married sex isn't like that. You have to take your partner's needs into account. Negotiating sex can be annoying. It's definitely not sexy. But if you want to keep your marriage, afloat, you've gotta do it. Marriage is one big negotiation test. It really is."

"When I was single, if I wanted to do it every day for a week or only once a month, it was all good. Everything was on my terms. Married sex isn't like that. You have to take your partner's needs into account. Negotiating sex can be annoying. It's definitely not sexy. But if you want to keep your marriage, afloat, you've gotta do it."

5. The Wilkersons. Married 15 Years. In-Laws.

Husband: "I can't stand my wife's mother. I really can't. She's nosey. She's controlling. And she is way more involved in my marriage than she needs to be. For the first half of our marriage, it was so bad that I wasn't sure we were gonna make it. Singles, when the Bible says to 'leave and cleave', take that to heart. If you can't leave your family to start your own, marriage may not be for you. My wife still lets her mother into our business more than I would want her to, but counseling has helped us a lot. It's helped my wife to see that her mom has never been good with boundaries. It's also helped her to understand that no one should cost you your marriage. I don't care who they are."

Wife: "I've got to admit that I still have some resentment towards my husband because of how he feels about my mom. What I've had to learn is she's not his mother. She's mine. I've also had to get that just because I really like his parents, that doesn't mean that he has to like my mom, even though I wish things were different. My mother? She's not gonna change. I don't even really want her to. But I have had to let her know that my marriage is important to me. I've also had to learn, sometimes the hard way, that she's not my go-to about him. He is. I still hope things will change someday. I'm not holding my breath. I have found a way to keep them both close without expecting them to be the best of friends. I'm not thrilled but it's finally become much more tolerable."

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6. The Andersons. Married 13 Years. Child-Rearing.

Husband: "We've got two kids and didn't realize how different our approach was to parenting until after they were born. Our parents reared us very differently when it comes to spirituality and discipline and it has caused all kinds of fights that we didn't have before our children got here. Assuming that things will just 'work themselves out' is ridiculous when it comes to raising kids with another person. Get as clear as you can on the front-end and be open to seeing a therapist about child-rearing in the process. We've done it to learn how to communicate and compromise. I'm not sure our marriage would've made it without it."

Wife: "Having kids is hard. Lord, have mercy! And you don't really think about how different your spouse sees things until they get here. My husband is right. We have had to walk through some really murky waters when it comes to how we chose to raise our children. I think what has spared us is we ultimately want the same goals for our kids, long-term. We want them to have a spiritual center. We want them to be kind and giving. We want them to value education and be financially independent. Our approaches aren't the same most of the time, but the end goal is. We work on ways to meet in the middle to reach those goals. That has saved us."

"Assuming that things will just 'work themselves out' is ridiculous when it comes to raising kids with another person. Get as clear as you can on the front-end and be open to seeing a therapist about child-rearing in the process. We've done it to learn how to communicate and compromise."

7. The Kendricks. Married 5 Years. Hygiene.

Husband: "Lawd. I didn't live with my wife before we got married. I had no sisters and my mom was super private. So, adjusting to periods was something for me; I ain't gonna lie. My wife does something called 'free bleeding'. I don't know if you know what that is but f—k, it's a lot. For a while, she would come at me on some, 'I'm a woman, deal with it' but when I shared that it affects our sex life, we found a way to make it easier. I've tried having sex with her when she's on her period. It's not my fave but it's not as bad as I thought it would be. And she will wear, what's that thing called, a cup during her heavier days. I'll just say that hygiene habits need to come up before marriage. It can be more of a deal-breaker than people think it is."

Wife: "He's over here talking about my period while I'm still trying to figure out how grown men can hit the toilet and not clean up the pee they leave behind. Ugh. When you're dating, everything is sexy because you're both always trying to turn each other on. When you're married, you see it all. I mean, IT ALL. Having a sexual relationship with someone who does things that can seem pretty gross is a fine balance. I would just say, always remember why you chose him, remember that you've probably got some stuff that he doesn't like and always be open to improving. Marriage isn't for folks with a weak stomach. You heard it here."

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8. The Gordons. Married 10 Years. Personality Differences.

Husband: "I could go on for days about this. I'll just start and stop with the fact that my wife is an extrovert and I'm absolutely not one. When we were dating, I thought it was cute that she liked to be the life of the party. In marriage, it has definitely been a pet peeve that I've had to manage just because she likes to host things, she wants to be out with her friends a lot and she wishes I wanted to go out more. We spent the first 3-4 years pretty mad at each other because we both were like, 'Why are you like this?' Now, we've learned that we balance each other. Sometimes, going out with her gets me out of my shell and my head and getting her to stay in gets her to slow down and enjoy peace and quiet. You can be 'in love' all you want but if you don't find a way to discover each other's personality needs, you can end up hating each other."

Wife: "My husband can be boring. He's loving. He's affectionate. He's a great listener. He's spiritual. He's fine. And he is BORING. I hate being bored. I really thought that because we love each other so much that, once we got married, we would be the best of friends who would do everything together. Nah. And that's disappointing for me. The good thing is my husband is very confident and not jealous, so he's cool with me hanging out even if he doesn't want to come. I'm still working on that 'balance' thing that he's talking about and I definitely wish he was less of an introvert, but love is about acceptance. I choose to accept how he is."

"We spent the first 3-4 years pretty mad at each other because we both were like, 'Why are you like this?' Now, we've learned that we balance each other. You can be 'in love' all you want but if you don't find a way to discover each other's personality needs, you can end up hating each other."

9. The Moores. Married 8 Months. Space.

Husband: "I can summarize this pretty quickly. Ladies, please stop asking us what we're thinking. If we've got a thought that we want to share, we'll let you know and if you ask that and we say 'nothing', that's what we mean. I really like being married. So far, there are no regrets. But I do think that men and women both have to learn that we are very different people. We shouldn't be out here trying to make our partner think and feel like we do. Just accept the differences and chill TF out. The space to be me is what I've had to fight for the most. We're getting there, though."

Wife: "We're still newlyweds, so I'm sure some more curveballs are coming. What I've had to get used to is just having someone who is always around. You're always sharing a bed. They might always be in the room you're in while you're having a conversation [with someone else]. And even though you love them more than anything, sometimes you really just want to be by yourself; especially if you're in a mood that you can't really explain that you want to just be alone to deal with. My husband isn't clingy, but his top love language is physical touch, so I've had to navigate through not making him feel rejected when I just want some room to breathe and process. He's very different so, just saying what I need usually does the trick. It's when I expect him to know that I want space that things get dicey."

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10. The Deckards. Married 7 Years. The Future.

Husband: "It's funny that you would ask me about my marital pet peeve because it's kinda weird. I love just about everything about my wife. But if there's one thing I wish she would do, it's chill TF out more. I'm someone who lives in the moment—you know, I take things as they come. She, on the other hand, wants to have a plan for everything. A plan for tonight. I plan for next weekend. What we're going to do 10 years from now. And don't get me started on all of her damn lists. The first couple of years of our marriage, all of that drove me crazy because I'm calmer than she tends to be. But her focus on looking ahead has helped us to save some money, dodge a few blindsides and get organized in some ways that I've gotta admit probably wouldn't have happened without her. Damn, I never really told her that I appreciate that. I'll get her some flowers or something today, so thanks for asking."

Wife: "He told you that? That's funny because we just got into it last night about making a plan for a summer vacation. Yeah, I'm definitely the planner of the two. I spent a lot of time thinking it was my job to make my husband see things the way I do. That's not what marriage is about. It's about seeing how your strengths and weaknesses can work together to make each person better. If he wasn't with a planner, I'm not sure he'd been financially where he is now. If I wasn't with someone more relaxed, I very well could've stroked out from always being on-10. Recognizing what your spouse does for you gets you through the annoying times. Don't change them. Just see them for what they are."

That last line? It's a keeper. Through pet peeves 'n all.

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.


We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

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