This week Cathy and I are adding a Monday-Friday vacation to a Saturday/Sunday speaking engagement that I have in New Hampshire. Because I’ll be with my wife and best friend 24/7 this week, I thought it would be fun to focus on marriage for this week’s posts.

It’s no secret that marriages are in trouble. Half of them end in divorce and many that stay together have morphed into nothing more than compatible roommates.

Obviously there are hundreds of reasons marriages deteriorate, but one thing I’ve observed is that many couples have allowed the “little things” or “the basics” to disappear in their marriage.

• It’s often the “little things” that lead to big issues.
• And, it can be the “little things” that can also lead to big change.

Obviously, there are many “little things”, but I’ve come up with 7—one for each day of the week—that are worthy to consider.

Monday: Minimize

Obviously there are some issues that are so big that they can’t be ignored. Painful Issues left unresolved can and will destroy a marriage. I’m not referring to “those types of issues” when I challenge you to minimize. I’m referring to the “little annoyances.”

Identify the “little annoyances” and train/disciple yourself to let them go and now have power over your attitude toward your spouse. Your energy, passion and concern toward “little annoyances” isn’t worth the fight… because there’s always “something.”

“Little things” might be:

  • The toilet seat being left up.
  • Toothpaste being squeezed in the “wrong” way.
  • Clothes left on the floor.
  • Milk returned to the wrong shelf.
  • Toilet paper not replaced.
  • Leaving the cap off the shampoo.
  • You get the picture!

Here’s how you might define the “little things” in your marriage: You’d most likely be embarrassed if you told them to a marriage counselor. You can almost anticipate his/her response: “Really? That

[action] actually bothers you?”

When you come up against this kind of raw, everyday stuff that bugs you… how do you respond? Do you pull back? Withdraw? Go passive/aggressive? Do you retreat into your emotionally gated heart and hide? Do any of those actions help?

Chances are very high that some “little things” your spouse does won’t ever change. If that’s true, why maximize them? Who wins with that attitude? It results in disappointment, arguing, and constant tension. No one wants to live in that house!

Chances are also very high that you’re spouse isn’t performing these little acts of defiance to wound you. When I leave the toilet seat up in the middle of the night, I’m not thinking, “Hmmm… how can I make Cathy’s life more miserable? Yeah! That’s it… I’ll leave the seat up.” No. I’m just not thinking.

Who cares? Let it go. Minimize it.

I can hear some people’s thoughts: “Wait! Doug, are you saying that I should ‘give up’ on some of the stuff I’ve been fighting for… for so long?”


Question: What is one thing you need to minimize in your marriage? Share it here and help others see that we’re not alone in our psychosis.


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