In my experience with couples in relationships, it’s usually the little things that count. Let me tell you a story by way of example… (this is a fictional scenario):
John and Joan have been married for 5 years and are still very much in love. Of course they have arguments and disagreements, as every couple ultimately experiences. Lately, though, they’ve noticed that they have been getting frustrated with each other over the little things. For example, John is a tidy person and it drives him crazy when Joan leaves dishes in the sink or clothes lying around. And Joan gets annoyed when John lets their dog in the bedroom. They brush these niggling frustrations aside, as how bad can conflict get over annoying little habits?
One year down the line and John and Joan are arguing incessantly and have little patience for each other. What has happened to the love and romance? They decide to seek marriage counseling to solve these insurmountable issues and bring them closer together once again.
This conflict situation could have been nipped in the bud, if John and Joan had only dealt with their frustrations earlier on in their marriage. Remember that it takes individual bricks to build a brick wall, so if they had only dealt with each brick one at a time as they stacked up, they would not have had a wall of resentment and frustration to contend with.
Sadly, many relationships end over trivial matters that escalate over time. So how can couples stop these trivialities from creeping in between them?
- Communicate – deal with your irritations as they appear. Your partner leaves his/her socks lying on the floor? An obsessive TV habit that’s driving you crazy? Tell your partner how it makes you feel. Verbalize what is important to you. But do this sensitively and tactfully!
- Make an effort to change – okay, so your partner has told you that you need to close the lid on the toothpaste, so now what? Do it! Even if it means that you need to make that little bit more of an effort, remember how important it is to your partner and to your relationship. And in return, you will find that your partner will take special care in trying to stop habits that frustrate you.
- Thank each other – notice the effort that your partner is making to keep you happy and verbalize that. Thank your partner – not once or twice, but every time you see him/her attempting to change a habit and let him/her know that you really appreciate it!
Try this and you will see that you will feel more loving to your partner and this will bring you closer together.
Remember, it’s the little things that count…