John came home and saw a note on the kitchen table that said “Honey, I am really upset because you forgot to make the bed. Please try harder!” John wrinkled up the note and threw it on the floor. Jenny had been nagging at him for years to be better at picking up after himself and keeping their home tidy. John felt ‘mothered’ and started resenting her.
Making the bed seems like something ‘small’ that Jenny needs to just ‘get over’. If we said to Jenny, “Don’t sweat the small stuff”, we’d be right however if we said “It’s the small stuff that ruins marriages”, we’d also be right.
Neither John or Jenny are wrong in their actions. John didn’t grow up making his bed and Jenny grew up with a very tidy home. Neither were wrong, they’re just different.
It’s ok that Jenny wants the bed made every day. It’s ok that John isn’t naturally wired to do it, at all. What’s not ok is neither one making minor adjustments for the other. Jenny needs to lower the bar a little and John needs to raise his a little. Each person would feel valued if the other gave a little ground. This is a perfect case where Jenny shouldn’t sweat ALL the small stuff yet John needs to step up on SOME of the small stuff.
It’s not really the small stuff that ruins marriages, it’s having an uncaring attitude towards the small stuff. Jenny may be harboring resentment because John never validates her desires or attempts to adjust to her wishes. John feels resentment because Jenny is making mountains out of mole hills.
It’s their lack of interest in making adjustments regarding the small stuff that leads to the big stuff. When a husband disregards ALL his wife’s wishes, big problems creep in. When a wife disregards the small signs her husband is frustrated, big problems creep in.
So, lower your bar of expectation, raise your bar of performance and you may find happiness and joy. Keep your eye on the accumulation of small grievances and try to address and remove them or they can turn into huge problems.
Pam and I love you very much.