Love is Not Irritable

Confession: sometimes I find myself getting irritated at my husband. 

And I know it’s wrong! I know it’s not loving, or thankful. I know it’s not kind, or Christlike, or humble. But I still get irritated. And sometimes, I let myself stay irritated.

I don’t think I need to share specifics here — I’m pretty sure you all can relate somehow. Maybe it’s your kids, your parents, your siblings, your spouse, your closest pal.

You’ve been irritated at someone you love, right?

It happened to me again last week. Actually, it didn’t really “happen” — I jumped in with my own two feet. chose to get irritated.

But thankfully, God has been working in my heart on that very thing, and I felt the Spirit’s pricking of conviction. And I just couldn’t ignore it. I stopped what I was doing and grabbed my Bible.

I cried out for divine help. I knew I needed to change my attitude, but I wasn’t sure what to replace those feelings of irritation with. You know — when you take out the bad you need to replace it with something good, otherwise it will just fill up again with whatever’s easiest.

I fled to 1 Corinthians 12:9. I ran to Philippians 4:13, and then to 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. I begged for grace and strength to be thankful for what I had.

And then I happened to land on 1 Corinthians 13, the great chapter on love. I didn’t think love was the problem, because I love my husband like crazy! But I decided to read through the chapter for some reason. All I can say is the Spirit Himself must have led me there {yet another ministry of His!}.

Because I started reading, and came to this:

Love does not insist on its own way;
it is not irritable or resentful.


How could I say with one breath that I love my husband, and with the next breath complain in irritation? That’s like James’ description of the double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

If I truly love my husband, I will not allow feelings of irritation to last. If I truly love {whomever}, I should squelch those feelings as soon as they try to take root.

Think of it like a plant.

When a seed gets thrown into the ground, it immediately tries to drink and feed off nutrients in the soil. If it finds food, then it will try to take root. Once it takes root, it grows and blossoms and flourishes — and is awfully hard to destroy.

So what happens when the seed of irritation lands in the soil of your mind?

It looks for food. It tries to feed off your other thoughts of resentment, annoyance, and me-first mentality. If it finds food to feed on there, it will try to grow roots into your heart. And as it enters your heart, it will grow and thrive and expand like kudzu vines all over the south. It will take over.

Once irritation is rooted in your heart, it thrives like a weed, that keeps coming back no matter how many times you try to kill it.

So the answer is to kill it at its source.

And its source is the antithesis of love.

As in, something that is not worthy of 1 Corinthians 13. Something that does not reflect Christ’s love for us. Something that is weak, self-serving, and ugly — in other words, not really love at all.

I am passionate about my husband, but if I harbor feelings of irritation towards him — then can I truly say I love him? All my notes and gifts and little nothings are like noisy gongs or clanging cymbals. They mean nothing, if I refuse to kill that weed of irritation!

So what do you replace irritation with? How do you tear it up by the roots, and refuse to let it grow?

You meditate on Christ’s love for you.

You realize how perfectly 1 Corinthians 13 describes your Redeemer.

You feast on the pure love of your Father, and drink of His compassion, and thrive in His kindness. And then your heart will hold the roots of that love, and your mind will nourish the seeds that showcase HIS glory. And irritation will dissolve — and God’s holy love will blossom in its place.

Because {true} love is not irritable. {<–tweet about it!}

Love is not irritable.

QUESTION: What practical ways have you found to help battle irritation? How do you prevent it from taking root in your heart?

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14 thoughts on “Love is Not Irritable

  1. Hi! I nominated you for a Liebster Award and would love for you to participate in the fun!=) Learn more, here:

  2. So right, Elizabeth. We chose it. Grace helps us see our choice for what it is, and leads us back. Thank you.

    1. Thank you, friend! You’re right, it is only by His grace that we can grow in His love!

  3. Thank you for this!! I needed it. <: )

  4. Love love love this!!

  5. Oh, girl! I could have written this post myself last week! I can so relate! Such words of encouragement. Thank you for reminding me of them. Love your blog and your heart for encouraging women in the Word!

    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Nancy! Blessings!

  6. Another good word, Elizabeth. I have to remind myself that irritability (even when exacerbated by pain) is always a flag to check my heart.

    1. “Even when exacerbated by pain” – or hormones, or insomnia, or whatever – amen!! Something God has been teaching me quite deliberately!

  7. I find myself getting irritated when I am focusing on myself, my unmet expectation, my disappointment, my, me, oh… Yeah. When I take my eyes of myself and refocus on the greatness and tender love of an amazing God, my motives are checked, my attitude is checked, my irritation fades. Do I really have the right to be irritated? “Look at the abundance that surrounds you Falen. Do you have the right to throw a fit right now?” Yeah… this is a common thought thread… 🙂 Great post dear! I tweeted this! So happy you shared this at Into the Word!

    1. Yes, and I am still working on this. Struggled through it again yesterday, in fact! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  8. Wow. I needed this. Thanks for your wisdom!

  9. Great post! I have been reminding myself “love is patient” (out-loud!) when I find myself at that point where I’m about to jump into the cranky me mode! 😉

    Found your post at Rediscovering Domesticity Thrive@Home link-up.

    1. Exactly what I’ve been doing (with “love is not irritable”)! Thanks for stopping by today!

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