There is usually more than one right way to do something.
One of my favorite concepts from college psych class is that perception is a person’s reality. Your past experiences, your personal opinion, and your history of outside influences weave together to create what we personally insist is the “right way”. I mean, what other way could there be? In my mind, I can’t understand how another way could be better.
Enter the difference of opinion. In marriage, there’s a lot of navigating the difference of opinion. Living so closely with another person 24/7 means infinite opportunities to clash over the little things.
I have one thing that comes to my mind right away when I think about how this applies to our marriage: how to fold t-shirts.
It seems so silly now, but a few years ago we actually had to work through who’s “way” was going to prevail.
I just whip that t-shirt into quarters and pop it on the stack. Easy peasy, fast and simple. Joel has this thing where he wants to fold them like they do in the store. You know, where they lay it out and fold it into thirds, and then fold it in half. All nice, neat, and proper. (He claims it’s faster and easier, but it definitely takes me longer).
After many discussions of which way the t-shirts need to be folded, we eventually compromised. I fold Joel’s t-shirts into the fancy little folds and fold mine the fast way. He painstakingly folds every single t-shirt the fancy way. Including mine.
We all think our own way is best, whether it’s an important issue or something as simple as a daily chore. When it comes to living everyday life together, this difference of opinion might catch us off guard. There are plenty of things that don’t really matter (like t-shirts), but there are also important and complex things that do.
Before you insist that your way is the only way, decide if it’s really worth it. I’ll probably never be swayed by the superiority of complex t-shirt folding, but I also realize that it doesn’t really matter. I’m happy to painstakingly fold Joel’s t-shirts like an Anthropologie employee if it brings joy to his life.
So many little disagreements can be resolved if you are willing to let go. Is it worth it to promote peace in your marriage? Sometimes we get so caught up in the emotion of wanting our own way that we forget about how little it actually matters.
Come at it as a team and be willing to let go. Just let go. You’ll probably find (like I did) that once you let go, it barely even bothers you anymore. You just adapt and move on.
The next time you guys debate over the correct way to load the dishwasher, remind yourselves that you both might be right.
P.S. Looking for more thoughts on marriage? Don’t miss learning about The Real Benefits of Marriage!
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