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The Littlest Things

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

posted by Andrew

Last weekend I celebrated my anniversary. Looking back on the time I have spent with my partner, I realize how far we have come and how much we have grown in our understanding and love for one another.

It was a sobering thought.

While thinking of how far I had come in our relationship, I am still aware that the growth process in our relationship will never end, and that like the tree, will continue to thicken and grow as each season passes. While I feel really pleased with how far we have grown, I am aware that there are areas in my life that I have reluctantly held close to my chest, and managed to retain, partly as a form of security, and partly because they are deeply entrenched behaviors that are familiar to me.

I love my partner so much, but at the same time, I can be a selfish person. I can focus so intently on how things affect me, that it is difficult to actively listen, or put myself in his shoes. I can focus on so many of the silly things going on around my life that I overlook the core. Sometimes I can’t see the forest for the trees.

It has been like that quite a bit lately, and I guess I have let little stresses in my life become something bigger than they need to be. I have an obsession for cleaning. I really do. I have dark carpet in my home, and the smallest piece of fluff or dirt can be spotted by my obsessive-cleaning radar the moment I enter a room. So I vacuum the house every day. I clean benches and floors, I dust side tables and fluff around with curtains. It seems when I’m stressed everything needs to be perfect, and this in itself stresses me out. Then I get snappy, mostly angry at myself, but this comes across as hostility to my partner. Then that makes me unhappy.

It’s a vicious cycle.

In the midst of wanting everything to be perfect, I make myself miserable. So I need to stop and take a look at the bigger picture.

  • I have a great man.
  • I have a great job.
  • I have a great home.
  • I have great friends.
  • I have a great relationship.
  • I really do have a great life.

Sometimes the greatest pleasure can be derived from the simplest things. Light some candles the next time you make dinner. Buy a cake of chocolate and go to bed early with your partner. Make them a cup of coffee or tea. Buy their favorite packet of biscuits. Go for a walk together in the evening.

Perhaps the greatest lesson of all is to appreciate each moment you have together and realize that your attitude and effort is what makes each special moment a reality. Things may not be my idealized version of perfect, but I am very lucky with what I do have. I am a lot better off than a lot of people. I have a lot to be grateful for, if I only take the time to see it. Rather than focusing on how it can be better, focus on how great it is already.

For my anniversary I got a really cool bunch of flowers from a flower design gallery. I got my partner a bracelet. And the next morning when we got up and had breakfast, we went out shopping at one of our local markets. Simple, but satisfying.

It doesn’t always have to make sense.

It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money.

It doesn’t have to be perfect. 

But sometimes the little things, and your attitude, are what make your relationship great.

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