Does This Really Matter?

One of the secrets of learning to become more positive in your marriage is to ask yourself a basic but core question: “Does this [issue/tension] really matter?” Let’s apply this important question to the toothpaste tube that you both share. Your spouse grew up squeezing it from the middle of tube, and you roll it neatly from the bottom (like Jesus probably did). It bugs you that your spouse doesn’t do it “right,” right? Now to our one vital question: Does it really matter? Yes, we know you wish he/she would do it like you want it. We even understand that it matters to you. We are also aware that it makes you mad and triggers negative thoughts. We get it. Now, drop the emotion for a second and ask yourself, “Does this toothpaste tube tension really matter?” Of course not! It doesn’t really matter. Do you have a preference? Absolutely! And your preference is right to you, but it doesn’t really matter in the larger view of your marriage. Since you may be getting a little emotional about your toothpaste quandary, let’s pause for a second. Take a deep breath. One more. Exhale. Feel better? Let’s continue.

We know that illustration may have been tough on you. Actually, we hope you’re laughing with us (at least a little) and you understand the principle behind this vital question. If so, let’s slice this same question another way: “How important is this issue to our marriage?” Does it [the issue] make the Top Ten list of things you want to continue to battle over? Here’s the truth that you must embrace in your marriage: you simply can’t care and have strong opinions about everything. That will destroy your marriage. There’s only so many things that a happy, healthy and vibrant person can ultimately care about in 1,440 minutes every day. There’s just not enough time to care deeply about everything. When “little things” are making you angry, you won’t have any room or space to be positive. You can’t make everything a big deal in your marriage. This truth requires you to relax on a few things and to figure out how to let them go so they don’t continue to fuel negativity. This question can serve as a very helpful course correction if you can really embrace it and use it often.

Let’s face it, you didn’t marry a perfect person. There are going to be some things that bug you, and you’re going to have to ask yourself, “Does this really matter?” We strongly believe that some things should really matter—addictions, abuses, neglect, unkindness, etc.—but there’s so much happening in marriage that some things just shouldn’t matter or you’ll be angry all the time and negativity will flow from you in your thinking, your tone, and ultimately in your actions. Yuck! No one wants that, and no one wants to live with someone who is negative and angry all the time. If you use this question (“Does this really matter?”) often, you’ll find yourself with less battles and more peace.

(Adapted from their new book, The First Few Years of Marriage.)

Back to Top
Jim Burns and Doug Fields

Jim Burns and Doug Fields

Jim Burns is the President of HomeWord and the Executive Director of the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University. Jim speaks to thousands of people around the world each year. He has close to 2 million resources in print in 30 languages. He primarily writes and speaks on the values of HomeWord which are: Strong Marriages, Confident Parents, Empowered Kids, and Healthy Leaders. Some of his most popular books are: Confident Parenting, The Purity Code, Creating an Intimate Marriage and Closer. Jim and his wife, Cathy live Southern California and have three grown daughters, Christy, Rebecca and Heidi. Doug Fields is the senior director of HomeWord Center for Youth and Family and the cofounder of Download Youth Ministry. He speaks to thousands of leaders, teenagers, parents, and couples each year, and is the author or coauthor of more than 60 books. Doug has been married for 32 years to his wonderful wife, Cathy, and they have three grown children.

  • About HomeWord

    HomeWord helps families succeed by creating Biblical resources that build strong marriages, confident parents, empowered kids and healthy leaders. Founded by Jim Burns and supported by Doug Fields, HomeWord and Azusa Pacific University have partnered to form The HomeWord Center for Youth and Family. Learn More »

  • About Azusa Pacific University

    APU is a leading Christian college ranked as one of the nation’s best by U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. Located near Los Angeles in Southern California, APU is a Christian university offering associate’s, bachelor’s, master's, doctoral, and degree completion programs, both on campus and online. Learn More »

  • Contact Information

    • HomeWord
      PO Box 1600
      San Juan Capistrano, CA
      92693

    • Send us an email

    • 800-397-9725
      (M-F: 8:30am-5pm PST)

Close