Don't Sweat the Small Stuff!
We've all heard the saying "Don't sweat the small stuff" right? But are we putting it into practice in our marriage?
When you decide to share your life with another person there are going to be things about that person that gets on your nerves. There will be things that they do that annoy you. The way that they do things will not match your standard or be the way you think they should be done. So many of these things, if we step back and look at them in perspective, are very small things. I heard someone say recently that if 10% of our spouse gets on our nerves, we so often let that 10% outweigh the other 90% that is loving, caring, sweet and all the other good things. It's because we are focusing on the bad.
Focusing on the 10%
Does it drive you absolutely crazy when your husband leaves his dirty clothes on the floor rather than putting them in the clothes hamper? You see those clothes sitting there in a pile and you start stewing in your head and feel yourself getting angrier and angrier.
Does it make you so mad when your wife drives the car all day and brings it home almost completely out of gas? You've asked her repeatedly not to do that and you've warned her that one day she's going to get stranded without gas on the side of the road. She never listens and now you have to leave early tomorrow to put gas in the car. You feel yourself getting resentful.
You've shown your husband how to load the dishwasher 100 times, but he still just throws all the dishes in there any which way and you know they will never come clean like that. Now you have to take all the dishes out and re-load the dishwasher. Now you're rolling your eyes and saying nasty things about him under your breath.
I'm sure you can relate to something here. We are going to experience annoyances and inconveniences as a result of living with another human being. Maybe when we first started dating and we thought that other person was perfect and we loved everything about them we could never imagine that one day we would be annoyed by them breathing too loud! Well, it just might happen!
I spent way too many years of our marriage living like this - and don't let me fool you - I still get annoyed by things that Ron does. Where I have made a major change is that I don't let the small stuff get to me like it used to. Does it still get to me sometimes - yes for sure, but I have learned how to let it go more often than not. I cannot tell you what a difference this has made in our marriage. No longer do I sit and seeth in anger when Ron does something to annoy me. Sure I will still probably roll my eyes and sigh, but then I try to move on. There is a classic quote "You can't control other people, you can only control your reaction to them". If we learn to apply this concept to the smallest of actions in our relationship we will see such a difference. If Ron loads the dishwasher in a way that I find unacceptable, well guess what? That action is already done - I can't change it, but I can decide how I am going to react to it. If I decide to get angry about it and pick a fight with Ron that is going to ruin our whole day. However, if I decide to roll my eyes and get over my annoyance quickly and then move on, then it's over. I did not let my reaction ruin the rest of the day or cause an unnecessary fight.
A few tips to stop yourself from going down the path of anger or resentment:
Stop and take a couple of deep breaths
Think about how CRITICAL the issue really is
Think before you speak
Don't stew on the issue - move onto something else
Too often we let the small stuff get in the way. If we can learn to practice letting the little things go we are all likely to experience much more happiness in our marriages. So my tip for you today is don't sweat the small stuff!