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This blog is maintained by the Ruth Institute. It provides a place for our Circle of Experts to express themselves. This is where the scholars, experts, students and followers of the Ruth Institute engage in constructive dialogue about the issues surrounding the Sexual Revolution. We discuss public policy, social practices, legal doctrines and much more.
In celebration of National Marriage Week, Ave Maria Press is featuring a short series of stories with important pieces of marriage advice. For more information about this celebration of National Marriage Week visit, www.avemariapress.com/marriageweek.
While they probably won’t admit it, every married person holds on to some little things that annoy them about their spouse. It may be the way the other person brushes their teeth, or makes the bed, or chews their food. Or maybe it is the annoying habit that they just can’t shake. It is always something minor, yet irritating, that can turn into something very annoying.
Betsy Kerekes, author of 101 Tips for a Happier Marriage, learned a valuable lesson when it came to these little annoyances.“Keep a sense of humor,” she says, “and let minor things go.”
Betsy’s husband loves their kids. He wants them to be safe and make good choices. Like any parent, he tries to stop the kids when they are doing something wrong.
When he would see them doing something wrong, though, he would say “Stop! Stop! Stop!” three times. Always three times. He did this repeatedly.
This started to bug Betsy. It really started getting on her nerves to the point that she confronted him saying, “When the kids are doing something wrong, you can just say ‘stop’ one time! You don’t really have to repeat it over and over.”
Now, this confrontation might have led to a fight for a lot of couples. He could have gotten defensive, even angry.
Instead, he responded, “Okay . . . okay, okay, okay.”
They both laughed.
“I love his ability to keep things light-hearted,” Betsy said.
It didn’t take long for Betsy to realize that her husband was really having a hard time breaking his triple (or even quadruple) stop admonition. Instead of getting annoyed, she realized she should just let it go. He clearly couldn’t help it and what was the big deal, anyway?
Now, whenever that triple “stop” comes out again, she is reminded of their little joke. She smiles rather than getting annoyed because she’s able to keep a sense of humor about the situation. There’s no reason to turn it into a conflict because now they have a little inside joke to make each other smile.
“Little things are not worth getting upset over,” Betsy said, “and a sense of humor goes a long way to marital harmony.”