My buddy, Jake, is much like you and I. He works hard, does his best, and is a good father. One day Jake comes to me and tells me that his wife wants a divorce. It caught him unprepared, he had no clue about the way that she felt. He had it all together. He did what it takes to hold together a marriage. The catalyst to her wanting a divorce was not necessarily a small one but it wasn’t on the magnitude that warranted a divorce. He was blown away. It hit him right in the gut and took him to his knees. The wind was knocked out of him and he was drowning. He was grasping on to any thread of hope and using it as a lifeline to salvage his crippled marriage. Eventually, she admitted to him that it was her excuse to get out guilt free. To him, it came out of left field, for her it was a building resentment that had festered for years and went unaddressed. She didn’t communicate her needs to him and so he thought everything was good. This infection of resentment and neglect that seeped into her heart is what killed their marriage, while he was completely unaware of the devastating time bomb festering within her. He treated her with respect, he didn’t balk or complain about her shopping habits, he was involved with the kids’ activities, he even made sure she had fresh flowers. He thought he was doing good. He thought he was rocking it. He had all the big things in place and they were solid. Unfortunately, he got tripped up by the small things. I am not saying that the divorce is his fault, but it would have been less likely to occur if he had all his bases covered.
I am sure we have all gotten the “don’t sweat the small stuff, and everything is small stuff” advice at some point in our life. Most often I hear it applied to not arguing with our spouse over things that won’t make a difference tomorrow, next week, or next year.
I am here to tell you to sweat the small stuff. Let it keep you up at night. Let it weigh heavy on your mind and conscious. The small stuff is where the difference is at. We can all hit the big ones, have a nice house, keep a nice car, don’t cheat, don’t lie, don’t steal. We can all hit the biggies without much effort. It is the small stuff that makes the difference. What do we do that ensures that our spouse knows that they are the focus of our life? What are you doing to divorce-proof your marriage?
Doing all the big things right won’t keep you from getting divorced. Neglecting the small things will most certainly build resentment and animosity in your relationships, and that resentment will end your marriage. When we ignore the small things we are communicating that we don’t particularly care about paying attention to our partner. We are telling them that what is important to them is not important to us. We are subconsciously communicating that we don’t care about their desires.
Building an intimate relationship takes work, and the work is hard. Fortunately, the hard work pays dividends that can never be measured. The average cost of divorce is $15,000 to $30,000, so it could be argued that not sweating the small stuff can cost big money. I don’t know about you but if I am gonna drop 30 grand on my wife it is gonna be for a badass vacation or new car, not a divorce.
Not sweating the small stuff creates damage that ripples through generations of our children and grandchildren. Not sweating the small stuff creates a rift between you and your partner that is hard to heal. By “sweating the small stuff” we are making deposits in an emotional bank account that will be cashed in when the big things rear their ugly head.
The biggest thing to figuring out what you should be paying attention to is communication with your spouse. Once my wife and I started to communicate, we had to go through the hurts and resentments that built over the years. It created conversations that weren’t just uncomfortable, but they downright sucked. I would have rather walked away than to hear about how I had been negligent, and she would have rather deflected my chief complaints, and we did do those things. It was not a magic switch that got flipped and now we were holding hands on the beach talking about all the good things we have going on. I would get hurt or angry and shut down and walk away. She should get hurt and angry, but instead of going silent she would go on the attack. It wasn’t until we learned to communicate effectively that we really saw the difference. Once we learned how to speak to one another so the other would hear is when we really started seeing progress in our marriage.
A moment of indiscretion won’t wipe out years of a
If you need help identifying your blind spots and recognizing the small stuff please don’t hesitate to reach out through our contact page.
Stay in the fight men. Stay in the fight for your wife, your children, your sovereignty. Standing Shoulder to Shoulder through the trials and triumphs of life. See you next time men.