It’s ALWAYS the Small Stuff


The following is a slightly tweaked edit of an old post because it is worth repeating: our #1 piece of advice for couples and anyone in a relationship of any kind: speak up!

Quiet Shock

We once had conversation with a divorced man. He had been married a long time before the divorce and someone asked him what happened.

He started his story by telling us about a short conversation from his honeymoon. The details don’t matter, but here’s the gist:

  • Him: “Honey, how ’bout we…..?” And no, it was not an intimate request.
  • Her: “No, I don’t want to.”
  • Him: quietly shocked and bewildered at her response.

He said that this was the beginning of realizing that they were mismatched and it never really got better.

What If?

What if he had spoken up? What if he had asked, “why not honey?”

And what if she had said:

  • “Not now, how ’bout later?” or,
  • “I’m just tired.” or,
  • “I’m sorry honey, I didn’t know it meant that much to you.” or,
  • “Why are so upset?” or,
  • “I’ve been wanting to talk to you about this. I’d prefer if we…” or, or, or…

What if they had communicated that first time? That first time they were “not on the same page” or, “missing each other”?

What if they had discussed what ultimately became a HUGE division between them when it was small – maybe even nonexistent?

It’s the Small Stuff

We have seen this time and time and again. And we have also experienced it first hand in our own marriage: The big stuff that tears couples apart starts with small stuff kept inside. The kind of small stuff that we think is not worth discussing.


If you want to survive for the long term, speak up about the small stuff.

Great marriages are built on mutual respect that encourages – maybe even demands:

  • “I was hurt by what you said at the party”
  • “Can we be more careful when we talk about…?”
  • “I may have misunderstood, but did you mean…?”
  • “How can I help you believe I mean…when I say…?”
  • “Can we talk?”
  • Etc., etc., etc., etc…

EVERY TIME we’ve done this we’ve caught something potentially big and damaging while it was small and easily discussed.

So again, our #1 piece of advice: speak up! Always. Often. And ESPECIALLY when it seems like a small stuff.