My husband, Wendell, and I are celebrating our 42nd Valentine’s Day together this week. I still remember the first card he gave me (and I hope his feet still haven’t touched the ground). But I’ve forgotten lots of other things. And frankly, you should, too.
If you hope to have a long and healthy relationship with your spouse, your parents, your friends, your boss, or even the neighbor across the street, here are a few things you should simply ignore:
1. Socks that miss the hamper.
Easy for me to say, because Wendell’s never do. But dirty-socks-on-the-floor represent those irritating habits of a person who shares your space. Especially the habits that force you to carry more of the load. The coworker who never cleans up her coffee mess in the break room. The neighbor who leaves his trash can on your side of the driveway. You can waste a lot of time being irritated, or you can just pick up the socks. Move the can. Wipe the counter. And thank God for the people in your life who are still alive to make messes!
2. Budgets that get busted.
Or, budgets that burst. My friend, Judy, might remind me to correct myself. (Inside joke from first grade.) I spent years steaming over a few dollars that I considered misspent every month. Today, I couldn’t tell you where any of them went. Well, maybe a few. But, the point is, I worried so much about what I considered my husband’s over-spending, that I couldn’t even enjoy flowers on Valentine’s Day for fear of how much they cost. (I’m way over that, Baby. Way over.) That is all earth stuff. Our relationships are eternal. So what if your roommate isn’t coughing up her half of the grocery money and is still eating all the Little Debbie’s you stashed in a back drawer? You can talk about that when you feel calm and collected someday. But don’t fret. And certainly don’t let it change your friendship. It. Is. Just. Money. It isn’t even paper anymore. It’s mostly virtual. So, get over it.
3. Unpleasant Words
We are frail, human beings with wiggly tongues, and we say unkind or unwise things way too often in this life. Or, is that just me? It isn’t easy to ignore those verbal sticks and stones, but life is better when we do. I take a key from the Apostle Paul’s counsel these days and simply try to “always believe the best.” Maybe your boss had indigestion and that’s why he grouched at you in front of the entire staff. Maybe it really wasn’t personal. Or, maybe it was. Forgive him either way. And take this advice from one of my good friends: “Never get stuck in the moment.” If you replay the words all day long, their power will grow. If you shut them down and move on, the power dies.
I have not perfected these three things in my life and relationships yet, but I’m working on all of them. And that is part of the secret, of course. Never giving up. Always working it out. Forever loving and enjoying one another. Even with socks on the floor.