I’m convinced that one of the hardest things about marriage is not allowing the “small stuff” to get to you.
A sock on the floor, a chore left undone, not being 100% present in the conversation, in the grand scheme of things, they are all pretty minor. But, when we allow them to compound, they can become a bitter root that tears up the whole foundation.
So what do we do about these small irritations??
Here’s 3 things Ryan and I have learned when it comes to sweating the small stuff:
It can be so easy to think “it’s not that big a deal” or “it’s not worth mentioning.” And while our mind may (and even rightfully) tell us it’s not that big of a deal, if it’s enough to sit like a grain of sand in an oyster and irritate us, it’s worth mentioning, because unlike an oyster, the result isn’t a pearl.
One thing I will throw in here though, is mentioning it at the right time. Mid-irritation is rarely the right time to bring things up. Another no-no is when you spouse is already irritated with something else. If at all possible, wait until both parties are relatively free of other stressors. But don’t wait too long either. Within 24hrs or before bed is generally the rule we keep.
2. Humility is Key
As human beings, we are naturally defensive creatures. Recognize that approaching your spouse with an irritation will likely trigger a defensive response. Ryan and I have learned one of the best ways to combat this is to use language like “This made me feel” rather than language that assumes your spouse’s motivation.
Sometimes your spouse will argue that their motivation or intent was not what you believed it to be. In those times, it is not our job to correct them, but to trust that they are being truthful in their intent, and it is our job to work together to assure that we are on the same page moving forward. Which brings me to Number 3 . . .
3. Recognize you share the same goal
I cannot stress this enough.
At the end of the day, both spouses have to operate from the belief that these conversations are necessary and that both parties share the the ultimate goal of a healthy and Joy-filled marriage. When you trust that your spouse is coming from a place of pure intention, it changes the way you communicate.
If you like videos and want to see Ryan and I in Action, check out this 10min unscripted video of us chatting about this very subject!