The Little Things in Our Relationship Won’t Ruin Us

Conflicts of Interest Blog by Vivian Scott

A few months ago Yahoo Style published an item by Sloane Bradshaw that talked about how letting the little things go in her relationship ended her marriage.  The headline caught my eye and, as I began to read, I expected to recognize small warning signs in my own relationship.  My goal was to address whatever was contained in the article before the snowball effect took over and our issues were too big to resolve. I didn’t want to end up like Sloane and her husband heading for divorce court (or whatever people in long-term relationships who aren’t legally married head toward).  So, I was ready to accept whatever the blog had to offer.  Bring on these little things that can end a marriage—I will meet them head on!

But, I didn’t find any little things.  Instead, what I found were some pretty big signs that her relationship had been off track for years.  Reading along, I couldn’t help but feel for this lady as she described her sadness and disappointment while filling out parenting plans and asset division paperwork.  And, yet, I couldn’t stop shaking my head over her view of these so-called small things.  She gave a number of examples of how she had endured years of playing second in her husband’s eyes (like the year she turned 40 and he completely ignored her birthday).  I get that we are all second to someone because, well, it would be creepy weird for them to put us first all the time.  But none of the time?  How is that a small thing?

When it comes to little things we could work on, I thought she was going to say that some nights they were too tired to kiss goodnight or that her husband never offered her the last cookie in the package before gobbling it up himself.  Maybe she was going to say that he spent just a little too much out in the garage on his projects.  Or, that even though she could count at least a dozen times she had asked him not to put the big spoon in the dishwasher slot right in front of the soap dispenser because the spoon stops the dispenser flap from opening all the way and then the entire cycle is ruined because nothing gets clean, he does it anyway.  Oh, wait, those are the little things in my relationship.

I know comparing relationships isn’t necessarily a productive activity, but after comparing the small things in her relationship to the small things in my relationship I came to the conclusion that I have a much better relationship than I thought.  At least this man who watches too many Barrett Jackson auto auction marathons remembers my birthday and lifts heavy objects.  I’ll take it!

                        author

Vivian Scott

Vivian Scott is a Professional Certified Mediator and the author of Conflict Resolution at Work For Dummies.  She spent many years in the competitive and often stress-filled world of high tech marketing where she realized resolving conflict within the confines of office politics was paramount to success.  Through creative solutions… MORE >

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