I wrote this on the same day I wrote 16 Ways I Blew My Marriage. It was supposed to go up the next day, but better late than never, right?
Hope you all don’t mind a few more reflective posts. Therapy will do that to me every time.
So, last Wednesday I told you about the night my family went around the room dispensing marriage advice to my little sister who would be married the next day.
A lot of the things my family said were poignant and beautiful. Some of them were textbook; some of them were pretty dang profound.
But nothing was quite as stirring (to me) as the statement my sister-in-law Caitlyn made as she gave her advice.
She said something to the effect of, “there are so many smaller and amazing parts of being married. You know, like when you come home and you can tell your husband, this is what I had for lunch today, and he actually cares. It’s nice to have someone care about the things that nobody else will, no matter how small.”
The moment she spoke the words, it hit me. That’s it. That’s why watching that empty pillow can be so hard sometimes. That’s what I miss most. I miss having someone to tell the things nobody else cares about, and actually have them care.
I’ve been trying to put my finger for months on what exactly I miss about being married, even though I really don’t miss being married that much at all.
I’ve tried to assign that strange occasional loneliness that I feel to a wide spread of different dynamics. I’ve thought it could be all sorts of things… Someone to hug when times get tough. Someone to be there in bed next to me. Someone to cry to when life hands me lemons. But in the end, none of them were the chief culprit. Valid, yes. Things I miss, yes. But ultimately, each of those things all centered on the little things that nobody else is ever going to really care about, don’t they?
When I hug my spouse during the tough times, it’s almost always going to be after telling her all the little reasons I need that hug. I loved having someone on the pillow next to mine because that was the time that we would always talk, sometimes late into the night, about the little things that are going on in each other’s lives. And when life hands me lemons, it really is the little things that make all the difference in what those lemons mean to me.
God, I miss the little things. I miss being able to share them, and I miss having someone whose little things are important to me. I mean, it seems the little things can always be talked about in marriage, can’t they? Whether the marriage is cranking at full speed or it’s struggling to keep its final cylinders going. Even in the bad times, it’s the little things that keep communication alive at all, sometimes. Heaven knows that when times are tough, small talk about the little things is all many couples are able to achieve.
And at the end of the day, when the computers and phones and TVs are off, it seems to be the little things that bring you back together again.
It seems to be the little things that start the healing of new and old wounds.
It seems to be the little things that are able to finally wiggle past the pride, and the hurt, and the stubbornness.
It seems to be the little things that are the foundation for so many of the big things.
It seems to be that the little things often are everything.
And when you’re single… well, the little things end up being yours and yours alone.
Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing
PS. What do the little things mean to you?