Give Me a Break–Let Go of the Small Stuff So Your Relationship Can Soar

The small stuff piles up on you and becomes big stuff which then morphs into character flaws.

The small stuff piles up, becomes big stuff, which then morphs into character flaws.

Ahhh, the small stuff — like paper next to the garbage can that never made it, jelly on the countertop, the bag of dog food that never stays closed, toothpaste squeezed from the middle (or bottom whichever bothers you), an empty carton in the fridge and my husband’s personal pet peeve–foil left around the top of the crunchy peanut butter. You mean you didn’t get CRUNCHY PEANUT BUTTER?

The self-help books on the shelves now are loaded with titles about not sweating the small stuff, “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff for Wives, Husbands, Kids, And Small Lizards”–you name it, they’ve got it. Okay, I will confess that I haven’t read one of them. I can, however tell you the big mistake in taking the small stuff way too personally.

The small stuff piles up on you and becomes big stuff which then morphs into character flaws. For example, the wet towels on the floor, week after week becomes why-are-you-making-extra-work-for-me and then morphs into you-are-a-lazy-slob. Next it’s if you loved me, you would pick up the wet towels–once! Finally, it’s obvious that you don’t love me. Wow, all that from wet towels.

But, you hate the wet towels so what do you do?

Prioritize. In the span of your entire life, how important are those wet towels? Do you want dry towels in your casket? Do you need a dry towel do experience eternity? Give your “small stuff” its’ proper place. Then you can focus on the one or maybe two things that are essential: like the foil on the peanut butter.

Do It Yourself. If there is something that is s-o-o-o important to you, do it yourself. I appreciate the kids sorting the clean clothes and putting them away. However, DO NOT FOLD MY TOWELS. In “Evelyn’s Personal Handbook for Life” there is a certain way towels should be folded. Instead of fussin’ and cussin’ about poorly folded towels every week, I fold the towels myself. They are usually perfect. And, the weeks when they stay in the basket because I just haven’t gotten around to it–all of a sudden properly folded towels are not an issue.

Choose Your Battles. If you do have one “thing” that bugs you to death, then make that the ONE thing you insist upon. This means you have to let all of the other stuff go. Breathe. Focus. Forget. Forge Ahead! The special folks in your life can – and should – accommodate one request gladly. Of course, that means they get one thing too! I ALWAYS buy two peanut butters–one creamy, one crunchy; and I don’t open the crunchy unless I am willing to remove all of the foil.

Don’t Assassinate Your Spouse’s Character. Leaving the mail un-opened on the counter for days at a time does not mean that your spouse is lacking in discipline. They do get up and contribute to the household or community and generally exist in this world; therefore, they do have some discipline. Maybe just not in the area that you feel it should show. Don’t begin to think and then speak that your spouse is lazy, uncaring, insensitive and dishonest because some “things” may go undone or not be done to your satisfaction.

Deal with the Big Stuff. Finding yourself in a situation where all of the small stuff drives you nuts may be an indicator that there is a deeper issue that needs to be dealt with. The small stuff is easy to talk about. Your spouse charging items behind your back and blowing the budget will make ALL of the small stuff they do seem impossible to deal with because there is a bigger issue that is really bugging you. Sit down and figure out what the “real” issue is. Talk about it. Pray about it. Get counseling. Whatever you do, resolve the big issue and the small stuff will be just that–small stuff.

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Evelyn Ransom

Evelyn Smith Ransom is still trying to decide what she wants to be when she grows up! For now, she is: a wife of 24 years to an Army colonel; a mom to two boys, 24 and 18; two girls, 17 and 13; a kindergarten teacher, an avid reader; a lover of scented candles; and an ever-developing Christian.

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