Let It Go, Sis: How To Pick Your Battles Wisely In A Marriage
I have been known to hold a grudge or two in the past that has ultimately led to the destruction of a friendship or the permanent damage of a relationship. I was hoping that as I prepared to say “I do,” I would be mature enough to know when to let things go. But within the first few months of my marriage, I realized my old habits could be detrimental to my new relationship. Therefore, I came to the conclusion that being married forever meant that harping on small issues was a waste of time — it was the big problems that needed to be dealt with. That’s when I made the decision to talk it out, try to come up with a solution, and move on from certain matters. This way, we could discuss the issue at hand and never talk about it again. Or so I thought.
“Choose your battles” is one of the pieces of advice that I had received right before getting hitched. Although this wise counsel is widely popular, how many people attempt to use it or learn to simply “let it go” in relationships? Let’s be real, letting it go isn’t always easy. You don’t want to give in, you don’t want to be the bigger person, and sometimes you just feel like being petty. However, we all know that bickering over each minute incident does not positively contribute to a healthy marriage.
Etiquette expert and founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach, Jacqueline Whitmore, told ABC News that knowing how to pick your battles is a skill worth mastering. “Healthy relationships hinge on a couple’s ability to know which issues are worth fighting over and which ones are worth letting go.”
Below are a few of Whitmore’s provided tips on how to pick battles worth fighting, and how they applied to my own relationship.
Only fight about issues that are truly important.
Whitmore suggested asking yourself these questions when you’re worked up about something: “Is this worth addressing?” and “Will I care about this tomorrow?”
If it made me angry or annoyed, I definitely wanted to talk about it. If I didn’t discuss it, then it had the potential to fester, which is detrimental in its own way. Although every issue was important to me, it was how I handled them that really mattered.
Don’t react immediately.
Whitmore suggested to “Walk away from the situation for a few minutes.”
This is something that my husband and I have since become masters of. I remember a time when I was mad at him. We didn’t have time to really discuss the topic thoroughly, so he wanted to change the subject. But until we could talk about the important matter, I wasn’t ready to gloss over it by talking about something else entirely. I simply said, “I’m not ready to talk now” and waited until I was in my right frame of mind to continue the conversation.
“Don’t assume your partner knows what you’re feeling,” Whitmore said. What that means is that your partner can’t read your mind, so explicitly tell him or her your thoughts. Get it out there and then get over it. Even though I love to communicate my feelings, I had to learn that after we discussed the issue at hand, it was time to move past it.
Mastering this approach can be a challenge, but it’s well worth it on the journey to a healthy marriage.