I had put aside the day to write a rather important post on the little things, however, as seems to be the story of my life at the moment, I was rushed off to sit in the hospital with one child while tests were run and hours wasted away. So forgive the rush job for the first Conversation over Coffee, I promise next month to be more eloquent and poetic.
I've written in the past that happiness is made up of lots of little things but by the same token, it's the little things that can destroy a relationship or happiness. They can pile up and become a weight on the shoulders that eventually becomes too much to carry around. Those little chips at self esteem, those joking comments that are little more than insults delivered with laughter, the actions that neglect.
I'm watching wave upon wave of divorce announcements wash over many of our friends who've successfully sustained a marriage for twenty years. Sometimes it's because of big infidelity but usually, it seems, one person wakes up and decides they're tired of being an afterthought in their life. They want a partner, someone actually sharing their hopes and dreams, not just sharing the dinner table. They want someone building them up, not tearing them down. They're tired of putting their own bucket list on hold while facilitating the desires of everyone else in the family. They want to come first from time to time, not always last.
Ultimately, they're just tired. Tired of not mattering, tired of not feeling attractive or interesting, tired of silent nights in front of the tv.
One little slight is piled upon another and the resentment grows until a careless joke on Facebook feels like a humiliating insult. It's from little things, big things grow.
I never see these announcements coming. They're not couples that you think 'well, yes, that was only a matter of time'. Never any cracks that show prior to the news of the split. Which makes me think it's no ones fault, but over time we become complacent. We forget the little things we worked so hard on in the beginning.
What was more special than when someone looked into your eyes and told you they thought you were beautiful?
When you planned some alone time because it was what you wanted more than anything?
When you listened to their woes without checking your phone or changing the subject, because you wanted to make them feel better?
Remember delighting in finding them the perfect gift? In organising a surprise party for them?
Whatever those things you did when you started courting, why'd you stop? Did your partner become less important? Do you know if they FEEL like they are less important now? If you aren't doing those things anymore, maybe it's time to start again.
Kids get in the way, as does work, as does life in general but they're only little things. Very tiny things that cost no money. They cost a little time, and they cost a little effort, and they cost giving a little more of your attention to someone who many years ago you thought deserved it.
Maybe it's time to turn back the clock. Think of the other person and what they might be needing to hear or feel more than anything in the world at this moment. Spend a little more time every day investing in your partner and your life together. Maybe it's not enough, maybe I don't really know the ins and outs of these failing marriages and it's something else entirely. It may not make a difference, but they're only little things, so there's no harm in paying a little more attention to your spouse. Words cost nothing, listening isn't difficult, taking an interest is mere politeness, so why not?
The little things mean a lot. When you add up all the little things, they make a big difference.
(For the record, I'm glad the trip to the hospital turned into a complete waste of time, just a little thing that once checked out, can be ignored...)
Linking with the very last #WorthCasing