I once worked with a lovely woman who told me a funny story about her previous marriage. Funny-peculiar, not funny-haha. Well, not really funny-peculiar either. But it made a lasting impression on me, and there’s a moral to the story.
Allow me to share it with you. I’m going to tell it in the first person so it sounds more, you know, authentic.
I was married to a man for seven years, and our relationship was generally good — except for one thing.
After he came home from work, he would remove his dirty socks and leave them on the floor. All the time. A hamper was available mere steps away, but he refused to put his socks into it. This drove me absolutely bonkers.
I asked him nicely on many occasions to place his socks in the proper receptacle. He didn’t. I cried and pleaded with him: please, please, put your socks in the hamper! He still didn’t. Oh, maybe for a day or two he’d comply, but then he’d go right back to his old ways. We fought about it tirelessly but nothing changed.
It incensed me to no end. I felt that he was disrespecting me. I know it seems small, but he knew how important it was to me and still wouldn’t make the effort to do this one thing to make me happy. All I asked was to put his freaking socks in the hamper. It takes two seconds, for Pete’s sake!
Why was this so difficult? One tiny tweak to his behavior could have staved off many an argument and kept the peace in our relationship. Obviously, he was completely inconsiderate of my feelings.
Ultimately, it ruined our marriage and we divorced.
A couple years later, I found love again. He was an incredible man – successful, thoughtful, affectionate — and he never left his socks on the floor. We had a beautiful wedding, and I felt very lucky and grateful that the Universe brought us together.
Until one day when I came home and he was fucking his secretary.
It suddenly dawned on me that maybe the socks weren’t such a big deal after all.
Whoever coined the phrase, “Don’t sweat the small stuff” was a smart cookie. I understand marriage is tough and after living with someone day in and day out, some of the annoying habits are inevitably going to get on your nerves and make you want to kick and scream and shove their dirty socks in their mouth then twist their head off and throw it out the window.
But I, for one, think that is a little extreme.
My friend ultimately realized she would have saved herself a tremendous amount of time and emotional energy by simply picking up the socks herself and then forgetting about it. Don’t let the small stuff drag you down. Take a step back and focus on what’s important.
And by the way, this goes for both men and women, mmkay?
Believe me, I get it, the little crap can be annoying — but only as much as you allow it to be. Because at the end of the day, they’re just socks.
Categories: In My Most Excellent Opinion