Friday, July 13, 2012

Those Little Irritations

Having just come back from vacation, I was reminded of how useful it can be to be nearly blind. Of course, I’m not talking about being physically blind, because there is nothing useful about that. I am amazed by blind people who can still do things and wouldn’t want to join their ranks for anything.

No, what I’m talking about is being blind to things that are better off not seen. In the book “Shogun” there is a statement made by an older woman, where she says something to the effect that she’s glad that she can’t see well, because she’d rather not see many of the things that are going on around her. Although she was referring to her physical loss of sight in the first part of that statement, in the second part, she was talking about sight in the metaphorical sense.

There’s some great wisdom in that. Often, there are things that we’re better off not seeing. A person who is physically blind can overlook many things, because they can’t see them. On the other hand, those of us who are sighted tend to focus on things that are best ignored.

Let’s be real here. It’s impossible to live with others, without finding things about them that irritate us. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about kids, co-workers, neighbors or spouses; they all have something irritating about them. You know something? We do too.

Why is it that we spend so much time and energy focusing on those unimportant little irritants in our spouses? Wouldn’t we all be much better off if we learned how to overlook them? Why focus on the way that she does things differently than your mother did them, if what she is doing works for her? Isn’t that ultimately the proof of the pudding, that it works?

Any marriage counselor can tell you that when a couple comes in for help on their marriage, the things that they complain about first aren’t the real issues; they’re the minor irritations. They’ll talk about how he throws his dirty clothes on the floor and how she leaves her lingerie hanging in the shower. Other major issues, such as how a toothpaste tube should be squeezed and which way the toilet paper roll should go on the holder are also popular complaints.

I just have one thing to say about all that… so what? Are those things really all that important? Are they worth fussing over? Are they worth even paying attention to? NO!

In my office, my son is in the habit of leaving the chair for the computer he uses sticking out in the aisle when he leaves. That means that I have to push that chair in, so that I can get to my desk. Now, if I was into majoring on the minors, I could very easily get irritated about that. I could even work myself up into being angry over it. After all, it costs me a whole two seconds to move that chair and I have to do it two or three times a day. If he cared about my time, he’d be more considerate and not leave that chair in my way!

Sound ridiculous? It is. Yet, that’s how ridiculous we all sound when we make a big deal over the little things that our wives and other family members do. So what? Let it go. Quit using a magnifying glass to look at your wife, so that you can find her flaws. Focus on the good, not the bad.

A great word here is the word “overlook.” It expresses the idea of looking over something, so that you can see another. That’s what we need to learn how to do. We need to learn how to look over the minor things our wives do, so that we can see the great people that they are. What a great way to do things. That helps us to keep a positive attitude towards them, maintaining our love, instead of building our anger and hatred.

Love cannot continue to exist without grace. When we first met our wives, we extended them lots of grace. Everything that was wrong with them and everything that they did wrong was overlooked. We need to go back to that. Why bother being upset about things that don’t really matter. Appreciate the wonderful woman that she is, and love her for it.

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