How to be United When it Really Counts

couple sits watching sunset while woman lying on partner shoulder
by Vance Larson

In a recent conversation, I mentioned that my daughter had passed away unexpectedly. The person I was speaking to said they admired my inner sense of calm and peace in such a situation. As a follower of Christianity, I do believe that I have the faith of a mustard seed. Also as a follower of Buddhism, I have the ability to master the art of letting go. However, above all else I attribute my calmness to the incredible bond between myself and my wife. 

My wife and I have an amazing relationship. We both are laid back people, and we don’t let the “small things” unravel our relationship. This has given us the reserves and the ability to deal with the really big challenges that life has presented. Over the years working with clients who had relationship problems, what stands out most is, that many put pride over peace. That the need to be right is more important than finding what is right. Which brings me back to creating arguments over small things. 

The need to be right is more important than finding what is right. 

I once worked with a couple that owned a business together. They owned a home, had children and filed taxes together. On paper, it looked like a fairytale romance, but do you know what was missing? Trust! They did not trust each other. I recall one of their sessions blew up, because one of them would not let the other look at their phone. She had a compelling argument. They had kids together, a home, business and joint checking accounts, but he lost it when she answered his cell while in the shower. His reply was that she doesn’t need to know everything. Despite the fact that she could have levelled him financially, this was his deal breaker?

How many times do little things become big things? I had another couple at war with each other because he wanted to go to the gym after work, when she had already cooked dinner. They didn’t talk for a week. To me, this is turning big things out of little things. These types of scenarios are all too common. These are the small and unimportant things. Far from deal breakers. Relationships should be built on open communication and trust. If we keep a record of wrong doing, or get bent out of shape over the little things, how do we come together when something big happens? 

We trust each other, to have each other, when the big things come our way.

I said to the person, I was speaking to about the recent loss of my daughter, “My wife and I are close, we are close because we trust and we trust because we respect.” As we have built our relationship on respect, we honor our imperfections. We talk openly and most importantly, there is no time to engage in arguing over things that really do not matter in the broad scheme of things. For that reason—we trust each other to have each other—when the big things come our way. 

It’s something to think about. Learning to let go of the small things. Is it really worth not talking to your partner over something small? For the sake of being right are the heated conversations worth it? Only you can answer that. For my wife and I, with the passing of our daughter, the answer would be no. Our daughter is not longer here and I am thankful we both appreciate every moment. 

Let the small things go, because generally if you are together long enough, the big things will hit. If you can’t come together on the small things, how do you expect to be united when it really counts?

In 1997, I read a great little book, it was called Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff. It’s a fun read, with suggestions to help keep things in perspective. Letting the small stuff go or arguing to be right? Our response and what we put value on makes the difference. When it comes to relationships, try being happy that you have them in your life, appreciate them. If you cultivate a healthy relationship, there will be enough capacity to deal with life’s challenges.

If you don’t, one day it may be gone and you just may realize just how much time was wasted on things that were not really that important. 

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