Stop Your Divorce & Save Your Marriage Part 8: Sweat The Small Stuff
Gender Differences Are Not Irreconcilable
One of my favorite comedians is Bill Cosby. He claims that gender differences fill a marriage with vibrancy and delight. In other words, women aren’t just “men” who can happen to have babies. And men aren’t just “women” who have a thing for spiking footballs.
Cosby says, “Americans may like the style called unisex, but the wiser French have a devout appreciation of the wonder they call la difference.”
A true appreciation for our gender differences should nurture a more mature and enlightened view of marriage.
WHAT MARITAL UNION IS NOT
In this blog, I’ve often talked about how marriage makes two people one.
This is true.
However, this doesn’t mean that we allow marriage to absorb our uniqueness or individuality so that we lose our personal identity altogether.
Marriage forms a union of two distinct people and creates a life that becomes more than the sum of their parts. Marriage is unity not uniformity.
WHAT MARRIAGE DOES NOT DO
Marriage doesn’t automatically take an unhealthy person and suddenly make him or her healthy.
A man or woman who has self-confidence problems, or issues with self-esteem, brings those issues with them into the marriage. So, sometimes marriage stability is threatened by stuff that is unrelated to the “union” of the man and woman who have decided to join together in holy matrimony.
While we have every right to look to our husband or wife for support, we do not have the right to expect them be the “cure” for all of our problems and issues.
There are things in life that we must take responsibility for solving and healing. One of the best things we can do is take responsibility for our own issues and short comings – we are in charge of our own personal development and growth.
DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF? REALLY??
It’s amazing what a big impact small things can have, especially on relationships. So instead of shrugging off the small stuff, pay attention to it if you want a healthy, happy marriage.
Give thought to the smaller, less glamorous things. Consider the following items:
- Do you wait to talk about something that needs to be fixed around the house when your husband or wife is under a tight deadline and needs time to work without distraction for a few hours? Or do you pile on yet another “to-do” item onto their already burdened shoulders? Your choice sends a message about how much you really care for them.
- Do you help out with the kids – play with them or help with their homework – while your husband or wife is in the middle of a project or preparing dinner?
- Do you ever offer to pick up the dry cleaning, go to the bank, or run to the post office to help your spouse because he/she was so busy that they forgot about it yesterday?
- Do you ever fill the car with gas even though it might not quite need it because you know that your spouse has an important business trip coming up and already has enough on their mind?
- Have you ever made plans to do something special with your spouse that he or she loves even though it might not be your first choice – but you did it anyway just to show how much you love, care and support them?
At the end of the day, it’s the little stuff that sends a message about whom we care about most: ourselves or our spouse.
So, how is it with you and the “little stuff?”
Do you write-off the little stuff as unimportant? Or do you take notice and do nice things for your spouse because you care about their life and want them to know that you are there for them?
Your answer determines whether you are likelier to be a disgruntled and angry spouse or happy and mad about marriage.