Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city.
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?
Irritability is a step away from anger. Sometimes being irritable will lead to anger but other times it never escalates beyond being irritable. Regardless, it is not good for a relationship or for one’s personal well being.
As James 4 says, irritability comes from not being able to get one’s way. This comes from a variety of sources and it can be manifested in a number of ways. Children become irritable when they are sleepy. Their body desires sleep but they are fighting to keep awake. The next thing you know, you have a cranky child who is pitching a fit for what appears to be no good reason.
Adults become just as irritable for different reasons. If the person ahead of you in line does something to hold you up, you can become irritable. Your only desire is to get out of the store and head to your next destination but you can’t because someone took 35 items through the express lane or is fumbling through a purse to pay with exact change.
Often with relationships, irritability springs up as a result of expectations that are unfulfilled. Rather than our loved one doing something that bothers us, it is something that they didn’t do that causes us to become irritable. We expect our spouse to take the trash out or have the laundry done but it didn’t happen. So, we become irritable.
The best weapon to use against irritability is patience. When things don’t go our way, take a deep breath and realize that it is a temporary setback. When our expectations are not met, realize that this sometimes happens and that it is probably not because that person is purposely trying to annoy us. Likewise, neither God nor the universe is working against us. When a chain of frustrating things happen closely together this is most usually just coincidence and there is no sinister plot at work. The sooner we realize that things don’t always go the way we expect, the quicker we will be able to move away from irritability.