Fight of the Week: When Small Things Become Big Things

Fight of the Week Michelle Lindsey April 3, 2014

When Small Things Become Big ThingsSometimes the smallest things can cause the biggest problems.

They tend to add up and spark bickering between spouses. Last week I walked into our bedroom and saw Scott looking all frustrated. “What?” I asked him. He pointed to the scale. He told me I had left it out again right in the middle of the bathroom floor. “I’m sorry, I don’t see that as a real marriage problem,” I didn’t even see it as an real life problem. I tried to muster up some empathy though and asked him why it bothered him so much. “It takes up too much real estate.”

Wow. I couldn’t feel his pain. I thought he was being ridiculous. Yes, our bathroom is small, but there are genuine issues going on in the world, and that just didn’t strike me as one of them.

Stomping out small fires

Even though I felt he was nitpicking, the next time I gathered enough courage to weigh myself, I put the scale away.

It’s not that I agreed with him, I just decided to not die on that hill. And it required very little effort on my part to make him happy. A few years ago I probably would have left it out on purpose just to annoy him. Or maybe to teach him that he can’t control everything. But that isn’t kind, and all it does is cause more bitterness.

Letting it go

There are little things aggravate me as well, and it’s my choice how I decide to respond. My husband likes to use clean dish towels to wash down the counters. It infuriates me watching him take out a newly washed, dried, folded, and put-away towel to use one time. I have begged him to use washcloths for over two decades to no avail. We have had real, heated arguments over this. I found myself becoming bitter every time I watched him scrubbing away. I would tell myself how much he enjoyed torturing me, and I would get really angry.

Knowing it was sapping me of emotional energy, I finally gave up. If he wanted to use clean towels to scrub grease on counter-tops, so be it. I just started using paper towels to dry my hands, and I never bought hand towels that were cute. Problem solved.

Some things aren’t worth fighting over. Most things, actually. It feels nice to let it go.

Forgiving often

I would guess that many of the fights in your marriage start as small problems, too.

You might even focus on those little annoyances and use them to justify your own harsh actions to your spouse. I find myself having that conversation in my head all too often . . . “Well HE did that on purpose just to bug me, so take that.” It rarely ends well and usually escalates things quickly. A good way to sidestep this vicious cycle is to look at the big picture and remember that you both do annoying things.

Be quick to offer forgiveness and grace because that’s what God gives to us. After time, you will find that the little things stay little.

“Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” —Colosians 3:13

[ois skin=”Post Footer”]