Anybody who has been in a long-term relationship knows the feeling; you both woke up on the wrong side of the bed and now you’re at each other’s throats. All of the sudden that clicking thing that they do with their jaw as they’re eating seems amplified by 1000. The towel that was left on the floor becomes a reason to have a screaming match. You wonder to yourself, have they always had a habit of picking at the dry skin on their face?
When you get comfortable in a relationship it can be a great thing. The pressure of having to be perfectly done up when they see you, the nervousness of making sure your living space is spotless, and the insecurity over your stomach making that weird gurgling noise seems to vanish.
While this carelessness can feel so good, if you aren’t careful it can spill over into other parts of your relationship, causing toxic habits.
When you feel comfortable in a relationship, you feel much less shy about confronting the problems you have with your significant other. Whether you are married, dating, engaged, whatever point you are at in your relationship, consideration of the other’s feelings may get lost as you begin to fade from the honeymoon stage into the flaw-noticing stage.
Don’t get me wrong, arguing and disagreeing is a healthy part of any relationship. It’s not practical to just sit there gazing into each other’s eyes and thinking every last thing about each other is adorable.
What I am saying, is that as you move on from that honeymoon faze and into that faze where you begin noticing all of that person’s flaws, it is important to pay attention to how you treat your partner.
It is at this point in a relationship that you face a crossroads; either you love this person and that trumps the things that annoy you, or you realize that their flaws are too much for you. Should you choose to stick with them, you will want to know this golden rule…
Don’t sweat the small stuff.
I’m going to say it again…
Don’t. Sweat. The. Small. Stuff.
I’m telling everyone out there this message as well as myself, because this is an area where most of us, including me, can use some work.
I know that I personally have a really bad habit of taking very minor things and making them a larger deal than they need to be. I also lack a filter for saying things that probably don’t need to be said. These are two character flaws that I have been putting myself through bootcamp for.
I see it this way…
If you go into each day just waiting and anticipating for your partner to do something irritating, then you will definitely find something. Whether this is something that they can help, or something that is just so minor that it isn’t truly affecting you in any way, you will find a way to make it a problem. A negative mindset will cause you to go looking for problems.
Spending every day on edge and waiting for your partner to annoy you is not a fun way to live, believe me.
This habit is actually much harder to break than one would think. A habit is something we instinctively do. Habits are the things we do when our body is in autopilot mood. This is why making a change is so difficult. How are you supposed to change something you don’t even realize that you are doing?
Here’s what I found works…
When you are with your partner try to take yourself off of autopilot mode. Not only are you less likely to make a snide comment or remark that you may have if you weren’t paying attention, but the time you are spending together will be much more meaningful.
Put your phones away, turn off your computers, and put whatever you’re doing down until your attention doesn’t need to be divided. When your partner seeks out a conversation with you, give them your full attention and watch how your brain thinks and what you are tempted to say back.
If there is something irritating you that will not bother you tomorrow, keep that comment to yourself. If nothing productive is going to come from that comment and you are just hurting the other person’s feelings by saying it, then take the comment and lock it away.
As you begin filtering what graduates from thoughts to words, you will begin to notice your outlook changing. The list of things that bother you will slowly shrink.
Why? Because you chose not to let these things bother you by reasoning with yourself before you put them out into the world. That comment can’t make an impact in your relationship if you don’t allow it to, and if it is never allowed to leave your thoughts and enter your relationship in the first place.
If you are in a bad mood and you notice all of these comments coming up in your head about every little thing, then tell your partner that you need some “you time.” Go do something that will help ease your mood and calm you down before you make a decision to take it out on them.
Trust me, I’m still not perfect by any means. (And I never will be, because everyone makes mistakes and has flaws, nobody is perfect). I know that I often get an attitude way too easily, and I make comments that really weren’t necessary. However, forcing myself to think about things more thoroughly has helped me decipher what is truly worth reacting to and what isn’t.
If I do make a choice to spill out whatever ridiculous thing was bothering me, I try very hard to apologize each time and let it go.
The bickering I was having with my husband has lessened quite a lot by practicing these strategies. Our relationship has grown stronger because we have become friends first, and we are learning to understand each other as we adjust the traits that are damaging to one another day-by-day.
I have to tell you that it feels much better to just have fun and have an open mind instead of letting every little thing unhinge me, a feeling too many people can relate to.
So, please, take a minute and think before you make that comment. We only have one life to live, let’s not spoil it by taking everything too seriously.