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Little Things Matter

Little Things Matter

The devil is in the details, or God is in the details, depending on who you ask. Little things mean a lot. The things that sometimes we tend to overlook in favor of the big picture are often the things that make the picture big. Details matter.

Anyone can have a relationship with another human being, but it takes hard effort to make it work. One must learn to compromise and value the other persons values, sometimes ahead of one’s own. One must develop a thick skin and understand that things said in anger or in irritation don’t necessarily mean much. Maybe they are indicators of how that person really feels, but do they indicate something that is worth fighting over? Clearly one must use a clear head to consider such matters.

Da Queen and I have had what is by all accounts a good marriage but if anyone would say it’s easy, it’s because we make it look easy. The truth is, we irritate each other all the time. Sometimes we miscalculate the other’s mood; other times we get pissy and deliberately irritate the other or look to pick a fight. There are times I honestly don’t know what the hell I’m saying or doing and yet I say or do it anyway and afterwards I wonder if there’s some sort of alien parasite inside me, manipulating me to do and say things that I know are wrong. I think we all feel that way sometimes.

That’s why the ability to forgive the other’s transgressions becomes a big thing in any relationship. Even though your feelings are hurt, you just have to get past it and move on. There are times I’ve legitimately felt bad about what my wife has said to me in a moment of anger but I realize that it’s just a moment of anger. Occasionally, something leaks out that has to be addressed; when that happens it should be done as calmly and as rationally as possible. Of course, some couples need to fight things out – that works for them and it might work for you. Da Queen and I are far too sensitive for such things. We tend to work better when we’re discussing things as rationally as possible.

But it’s not just about the negatives; it’s about creating the positives. Taking the time to do things for the other indicates that they are important to you. They don’t have to be grand, expensive gestures. Little things can mean a lot; picking up her favorite snack when you’re at the store without being asked. Doing a chore around the house that she doesn’t expect. Making his favorite meal when he’s had a bad day. Things like that can make all the difference between a successful relationship and a failed one.

Making the effort can go a long way, even if you aren’t necessarily successful. There are times when my disability prevents me from finishing a chore around the house but my wife appreciates that I’m at least trying to help out. There are other times when she gets involved in a project that seems to take all her concentration – my Queen can be a bit obsessive about projects. That’s okay; I know that is just her nature and generally speaking her projects tend to be about good things, things that make us or other people happy. It’s hard to argue against that although there are times I have to gently remind her to take a step back. She’s the kind of person who needs to be mentally occupied at all times.

It’s not just your romantic relationship this should apply to; friends, family and colleagues should get the same consideration. How nice is it when someone brings a box of bagels into work unexpectedly, or when you’re invited over to a friend’s house for a night of movies and pizza? Isn’t it wonderful when you feel included and important? That’s a feeling you should pass on to others and FYI it’s the kind of thing that gets that feeling passed back to you more often.

However, this kind of behavior means that we have to think about others instead of just about ourselves. In fact, it means putting others above yourself. In this day and age where selfishness is encouraged and self-centeredness rewarded, that’s not an easy proposition to undertake. However, it is the right thing to do. It is the right way to be. It doesn’t mean you have to be Gandhi. It doesn’t mean you have to donate half your income to charity. It doesn’t even mean you have to spend hours you don’t have at the local soup kitchen. It just means you have to take a few moments out of your day to be considerate to others. It means occasionally thinking about what you can do to make others around you happy. Maybe it means spending twenty bucks at Dunkin Donuts. Maybe it means buying your wife flowers from a roadside stand on your way home from work despite there being no occasion to do so. Maybe it means just means making a list of DVDs you’re getting ready to sell and letting your friends pick and choose the ones they want first and then giving them to them.

I personally think if we all did just one considerate thing a week – just one – the amount of good it would do would be amazing. Can you imagine what America would be like if everybody committed to doing one considerate thing a week for others? Maybe people would be less stressed because there’s a constant barrage of considerate things coming their way. Maybe the divorce rate would go down because couples are feeling more appreciated within their relationship. Maybe this country would end up being a better place to live in.

Clearly that’s a best case scenario and likely getting the world to change is pretty much like trying to get the sky to turn purple but why not try? Our actions are solely within our own control and nobody else’s. If we all made that commitment who knows where it would lead? Wouldn’t it be great if we at least tried?


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