I am sitting here at my kitchen table as I type. Just ahead of me and to my left is our above-the-stove microwave. On the screen of the microwave blinks a number … 0:06 … and a single-word question: START?
I will never for the life of me understand why my husband can’t 1. Just wait six more seconds for his food and 2. Just hit the STOP/CLEAR button so that the microwave screen reads the time again. It’s not hard. It’s really. Not. That. Hard.
But do you know what else?
It also doesn’t matter. It really does not matter. But I could probably give you an entire notebook’s worth of times when this issue, and others like it (hello spot by his side of the bed that serves as his laundry pile), have caused me to go completely ballistic and cry or get all passive-agressively pouty in an attempt to change my husband’s behavior. And I can’t think of one time when it worked. Because my enneagram 8 husband is all about being all about things that really matter. And the blinking number on the microwave screen really doesn’t matter.
When you first get married you hear veteran husbands and wives encouraging you to, “Not sweat the small stuff.” You hear it and you agree. Yes, this makes sense. Don’t sweat the small stuff. But small is a relative term and when your life is relatively simple and easy, it’s hard to really see the small stuff as small. It isn’t until you’ve experienced the “big” stuff that you can truly see.
As I look back over our eleven years of marriage I see how Josh lead me so well through the “big” stuff, including becoming parents, losing babies, enduring months apart while he was in anesthesia school, and navigating the various choices that life continues to bring our way. I look over these past eleven years and I see a fearless leader who is careful in considering his options, deliberate in seeking wisdom and information, and unwavering when it comes to accepting anything less than the best for his family. He is also incredibly driven, smart, strong, and really funny. They say a man will storm hell with a bucket full of water if he only has a woman standing behind him and believing in him. With all sincerity I can tell you that for my husband, I am that woman. He has proven himself time and time again and I have no reason to think or feel otherwise.
Now don’t get me wrong, we are not perfect. Do his funny, leave my glasses, wallet, and keys everywhere habits drive me bananas? Yes they do. Have his extremely blunt and black and white communication styles caused me to perfect my exaggerated eyeroll to olympic proportions? Why yes, yes they have. Do I sometimes wish he would grab a broom without being asked and help clean up the mountains of cheerios and rice from under the table? For sure. But all of that? That’s small stuff. That’s the stuff they were talking about when they exhorted you to not sweat it. Because I can guarantee you that those couples, more advanced in years, both life-wise and marriage-wise, knew a little something about what it meant to go through the big stuff together.
Tomorrow is our anniversary. Maybe we’ll go out to dinner. Maybe we’ll get a babysitter and come home to a house full of sleeping children. And maybe we’ll push the toys off the couch (the ones I thought he’d help the kids clean up), and maybe we’ll put our feet up on the coffee table (after moving aside his coffee cup, water bottle, and glass mason jar with traces of seltzer water and lime), grab the remote (after searching for it under all the couches, couch cushions, and throw pillows because somehow he never ends up putting it back in the proper spot), and turn on our favorite show. And he’ll pull me close and I’ll snuggle in because all that stuff is small stuff. But when it comes to the big things, the things in life that really, truly count, my guy with the Midas touch has never, ever let me down.
And that, my friends, is absolutely not small stuff.
Podcast episode with my husband.