I love this thought from my good friend Doug Fields. Great guest blog.
Minimize the Little Annoyances in Marriage
It’s obvious there are some marriage issues that are so big they cannot be ignored. Left unresolved, these large and painful issues can and will destroy a marriage. Similarly, there are some little things in marriage, which if ignored, can also lead to big issues. In this post, however, I’m not going to refer to any of these types of issues. Instead, I want to focus on the “little annoyances” every married couple experiences. And I want to encourage you to minimize them in your relationship.
Some of these little annoyances might be:
• Leaving the toilet seat up
• Squeezing the tube of toothpaste in the “wrong” way
• Leaving clothes on the floor
• Returning empty or nearly empty containers to the refrigerator
• Leaving an empty roll of toilet paper on the holder
• Leaving the cap off the shampoo in the shower
• Refusing to ask directions, or to use GPS in the car
• Stealing the blankets in bed
You get the picture.
The first step in minimizing little annoyances in marriage is to identify them. Identifying them allows you to train and discipline yourself to let them go, and to refuse to give them power over your attitude toward your spouse. Your energy, passion, and concern toward these little annoyances aren’t worth the effort you invest into them, because there will always be “something.”
Here’s how you might define a little annoyance in your marriage: If you’d most likely be embarrassed to tell a marriage counselor about the behavior, it’s likely a little annoyance. You can almost anticipate the counselor’s response, “Really? That [behavior] actually bothers you?”
When you come up against the kind of raw, everyday stuff your spouse does that bothers you, how do you respond? Do you pull back? Yell? Withdraw? Go passive/aggressive? Do you retreat into your emotionally gated heart and hide? Do any of these actions help?
Here’s the truth: the chances are very high that some of these “little annoyances” your spouse does, won’t ever change. If they won’t change, why maximize them? Who wins with that attitude? It results in disappointment, arguing, and constant tension. No one wants to live in that type of environment.
The chances are also very high that your spouse isn’t performing these behaviors as little acts of defiance to wound you. When I leave the toilet seat up in the middle of the night, I’m not thinking, “Hmmm… how can I make Cathy’s life more miserable? I know, I’ll leave the toilet seat up. Yeah! That’s it!” No. I’m just half-asleep and not thinking.
Who cares?! Let it go. Do your marriage a favor. Minimize the little annoyances.