“There is a book titled, ‘Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff.’ But have you noticed that it IS the ‘small stuff’ in marriages that oftentimes cause couples to become irritated with their spouses?
“That use to be us. Big Time! Now what is Big Time with us is that we make sure that the small stuff turns into something positive in our daily relationship; and WOW, has THAT made a marked difference in our marriage!”
The above quote comes from a marriage newsletter written by Bob and Yvonne Turnbull. Bob and Yvonne have a wonderful ministry that has literally helped thousands of marriages. And we’re going to share the rest of what they wrote on this issue (because it pertains to every married person). We pray it ministers to you in your relationship.
The Small Stuff in Marriage
Every day we make sure that we live a lifestyle that brings laughter into our relationship. We share jokes, cartoons, funny e-mails and especially laugh at ourselves. Even after 40+ years we continue to be playful with each other.
And we pray together every day, too. Sometimes quickies and sometimes longies (such a word?) to go along with our devotional readings.
Every day we talk with each other as if we were talking to a stranger. It is sad how often people are more polite to strangers in the marketplace than they are to their own family members. You are not that way. Are you? Anyway, we make sure we speak in a pleasant tone to each other. Also, we don’t forget common every-day courtesies like ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’
Additionally, we try to not take each other for granted. This unfortunately occurs in waaayyyy too many marriages. This is especially true as the years tick by following their wedding.
Reality Check on Small Stuff
Now, here’s a reality check: Do we do this 100% of the time? No. Of course not. Nobody does and that includes us. Yes, we will do that in Heaven; but we are not there. Yet. Right now, here in our temporary lives on Planet Earth “all of us fall short (way short) of the Glory of God.”
However, as each year passes, we do this more and more. The past discourtesies and rudeness are becoming less and less—as we both grow closer and closer to our Lord.
Every day, and we do mean EVERY DAY, we make sure we say, “I love you,” not just once but several times. We don’t do it out of duty but out of the very true love we have for each other. And we do it in a variety of creative ways.
Every day we are aware of our “hellos” and “good-byes.” If one comes home and the other is already there, our initial goal of walking into our house is to find the other one and give them a warm “I’m home” greeting. Usually, it’s a hug and a smooch. And of course, it works the same way for the one at home to seek out the returnee as well.
(And now read this next one very carefully and see what God would have you do.) We always do three things when we are saying good-bye to each other on any occasion that would separate us. We say (1) I love you; (2) We kiss each other. (3) And we say words like, “May God be with you and you with Him.”
You, like us, have probably heard stories of couples who have a big, hurtful argument. Then one storms out of the house, drives off and is killed in an auto accident. When the surviving spouse is interviewed a few days later so often their comment is something like, “The last words we said to each other were cruel words. I wish I could have my mate back to say, ‘I’m sorry.’ But I cannot. Now I’ll live a life of regret, remembering the last horrible words we exchanged with each other.”
Each time we’ve presented our marriage/family seminars and conferences, Bob often illustrates that example and ends with: “So if a Highway officer comes to my door and says to me, “I’m sorry to inform you that four hours ago your wife was killed on the freeway” – and as shocked and traumatized as I would be, nonetheless I can live the rest of my earthly life knowing that our last exchange was a kiss and an I love you and a spiritual blessing. THAT I can live with.” Couldn’t you, too?
So, what are the actions YOU do every day? What are some things you could start to do if you haven’t already? [We hope you’ll share some in the Comment section below.] Can some of the above actions be incorporated, if not already?
Remember, do not sweat the small stuff; but do remember to do the ‘special’ small things for each other EVERY DAY. God certainly does that for us!
We couldn’t have said this better ourselves! Repeatedly we said, “Amen! That’s what God led us to do also!” That’s profound!
We’re so thankful that Bob and Yvonne Turnbull allowed us to share this Marriage Insight with you. (You can find their ministry web site at: Turnbullministries.org.) We can trip over the small stuff; or we can turn them around and make meaningful, loving changes that make big transformations. The choice is up to us. So, why not make choices to change negatives into positives? Turn the “small stuff” into something special instead. We have (and continually work to do so). And we hope you will too!
On this same issue here’s something Pastor Mark Gungor says about small, tiny things turning into big things:
Little, Small Things Can Speak Volumes
“It is the little things, that when given, really are the big things that help to glue a marriage together and make each person feel loved and valued. And when these little things are missing, they can become the big things of bitterness, anger, resentment and contempt; and these are the things tear a marriage asunder. I know husbands and/or wives who can’t (or won’t) be bothered to greet their spouse with a civil good morning, hello or good night. They won’t apprise the other of their schedule or change of plans. Heaven forbid, they go a few seconds out of their way to ask, ‘Is there anything you need while I’m out?’ Such. LITTLE. Things.
“Really?! Will it kill you to fill up a second bowl of ice cream for your mate on your trip to the kitchen? Ten extra seconds to scoop it out and carry back into the living room while you watch TV is too much for you? If you really want to improve your marriage and show your spouse that you love him/her, stop thinking it takes some gargantuan move and start thinking little. Small. Tiny. Simple.
“Your spouse really isn’t looking for the impossible from you. What can you do today that actually requires little to no time, effort or energy, but will speak volumes in terms of acknowledgement, kindness and consideration? Maybe it’s lowering the toilet seat when you’re done; or it could be replacing the roll of toilet paper. Perhaps it’s remembering it’s garbage day, saying thank you, making eye contact and smiling, or putting your hand on his or her shoulder as you walk by. See? SIMPLE!” (Mark Gungor)
So, look for little ways to bless your spouse. Turn the little things into ways you can bless your spouse in special ways. Again, turn the small stuff into something special. Show love in big and small ways.
Above all, we are told:
“Be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:1-2)
Sending Love from our home to yours,
Cindy and Steve Wright
— ADDITIONALLY —
To help you further, we give a lot of personal stories, humor, and more practical tips in our book, 7 ESSENTIALS to Grow Your Marriage. We hope you will pick up a copy for yourself. (It’s available both electronically and in print form.) Plus, it can make a great gift for someone else. It gives you the opportunity to help them grow their marriage. And who doesn’t need that? Just click on the linked title or the picture below:
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