Agreeing on The "Little Things" in a Marriage

My husband and I have been married 10-1/2 years. While this isn't ages, it does feel long enough that maybe we have some insight into what makes a strong marriage. And we do have a strong marriage. I trust him with my life, plain and simple, and he trusts me. If that isn't a foundation for a solid marriage, then I don't know what is.

One thing we've learned through observing other people's marriages is that sometimes it really is the "small stuff" that matters. While we tend to think people need to be compatible on the "major life decisions" level, like political beliefs, religion, and cultural background, we also see plenty of strong marriages between people who seem like polar opposites in these categories. I think if you really love each other, then having lively debates on these topics is fun and not something that drives you crazy on a day-to-day basis. (Although I do think having a common religion is helpful in creating a basis for a marriage and family. Especially once children come into the picture. But that's not what this post is about.)

On the other hand, what do my women friends complain about to me the most when it comes to their husbands, and what do I complain about the most when it comes to mine? What drives us crazy? What do we find ourselves harping on? That's right. The small stuff.

For example, my husband and I agree on the following:

When to turn on headlights. (It's perfectly fine for the headlights to be on when it's still light out. Err on the side of caution and turn them on if you think you need them. And for sure turn them on when it's raining!)

Which way the toilet paper should hang. (The loose end should be over the top, of course!)

A/C or windows down in the car? (Windows up, air conditioning on in the car. We both like as cold a car as possible and dislike the wind blowing in our faces.)

Emergency brake usage. (You should apply the emergency brake when you park.)

Peanut butter storage. (Peanut butter should not go in the fridge. It gets too hard to spread.)

Making the bed. (We both don't see a point in doing so.)

Certainly there are things we don't necessarily agree on, and sometimes those things do drive one or the other of us a little nuts, but we feel that our agreement on many of these basic facts of life make for fewer arguments and less aggravation for both of us.

As for the things that are truly irritating, accepting it as part of the whole, a piece of the character, and making light of it is healthier for both of you. Does it bug me when my husband shuts the bathroom door but leaves the light on when he's finished? You bet. It makes no sense! But how hard is it for me to go turn out the light if I feel it's necessary? Not very.

Does it annoy my husband when I don't use a knife to help me eat rice, and instead scoot the rice onto my fork with my finger? It does. He turns it into a joke on American table manners in general, but I'm sure we both appreciate having one less piece of flatware to wash.

What little things do you and your partner agree or disagree about? How do you handle the disagreements about the little things?

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Jessica on Babies

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