Y’all know how I feel about marriage advice so lets’s preface this with my usual caution; use what works for you and ditch the rest. Seriously, advice only works if it benefits you in your specific situation.
The Water Man and I are celebrating a decade of marriage this year so I have been thinking about how we have evolved over the last 13 years and all the different marriage advice we have gotten and I am reminded of two pivotal moments in my life concerning relationships and toilet paper.
My government teacher from high school once told us that one day we would realize our marriage or divorce would boil down to how you put the toilet paper roll on. I guess this wasn’t so pivotal at the time, because I had no idea what he was talking about and I thought everyone knew how to properly put toilet paper on the roll. I don’t know why his statement has stuck with me all of these years but I have never forgotten.
Fast forward to me marrying a man who did not know this information. In fact, he does not prefer either way. He simply sets the new roll on the old, empty roll. (enter eye roll emoji) For years this drove me CRAZY. Do you know how long it takes to remove the old roll and put on the new one, over the top, obviously. 7 seconds. It only takes 7 seconds to do something so simple and helpful for the entire household. You know how I know that? Because I use to sit and count as I changed out the rolls every single time. EVERY time. Annoyed was an understatement, this was one of my biggest pet peeves about him. 7 seconds would make such a difference.
Then one day, as I was sitting there fuming thinking about those 7 seconds and something completely changed for me. Suddenly the angry and annoyed “7 seconds” re-run in my head turned around on me, it only took me 7 seconds. It dawned on me for the first time that The Water Man does not care where the toilet paper is as long as he can reach it when he needs it. He is naturally a big picture guy who doesn’t pay attention to details. I do though. He leaves all the details to me. I care, I want the toilet paper on the roll with the paper coming over the top. It doesn’t bother him, it bothers me. Epiphany! I was frustrated over something that only bothered me and only took me 7 seconds to fix.
I know how silly this sounds, I know how simple and juvenile this seems. But think about the pet peeves you have for your spouse. Are they all really that important? What is that one thing that drives you batty? Or is it a bunch of little things? Many times we make the little things into big things and that my friends can destroy a relationship. That is what my teacher was talking about all those years ago. Losing sight of what is really important is a marriage crusher.
Plain and simple, you cannot nit pick each other, even in your mind and expect to feel connected. Some times, lots of times, you have to just let it go. You can’t focus fairly on the important stuff if your perspective is clouded with a bunch of little annoyances. Like with anything in life, perspective is everything and nothing could be more true of your relationship. I have to remind myself of this often. I like everything clean and organized, clear counters and clutter free. The Water Man is like a bull in china, he’s never put anything back in his life, closed a cabinet or shut a drawer. The Water Man doesn’t let things bother him, he does let things go, including the fact that I don’t. If we both sweat the small stuff, we’d be pretty unhappy.
Of all the things you see and hear about marriage and even all the marriage advice that is dished out, there’s one thing I rarely hear people talk about. Relationships are hard and marriage is a lot of work. The work pays off in the best possible ways. A true partner in this life is invaluable but it does not come without growing pains, sacrifice, compromise and in my humble opinion, a sense of humor!
I encourage you to evaluate your relationship, your own “grievances” with your love and let go of what you can. I promise this will make so much more room for the good stuff! I have to tell you I giggle now when I think about the toilet paper and how ridiculous that was to bother me so bad. I find when I put things into perspective and count my blessings, it is much easier to close cabinets and pick up clothes thrown on the floor next to the hamper.