Life’s little irritations can make or break us. How we choose to deal with them affects our mates and marriages. It determines our level of contentedness.
Years ago people dressed their salads with oil and vinegar and homemade dressings. Homemakers were delighted when ready-made dressings became available in stores and were awed to have several choices. Fast forward to 2013 where salad dressings take up one third of a grocery store aisle. Options for flavors, brands, and sizes abound.
I like Ken’s Country French dressing. It was often unavailable at the local stores I shopped so when I’d spot it, I’d buy several bottles at a time to hold me over a dry spell. The dry spells got longer and longer until it had been so long I began to wonder if it was still being made. Yet I look each time I go to any grocery store. And grumble as I have to select from one of the hundred and forty-two other choices available.
But I don’t want Seven Seas, Paul Newman or Kraft – I want Ken’s. And not Ken’s Ranch, Vinaigrette, or Italian. It has to be Ken’s Country French. It’s special. It has a touch of honey in it. So I keep looking at every grocery store. And I keep getting disappointed.
You’re probably already tired of me whining. I hear you thinking: “So squirt some honey in one of the other brands and get on with your life for Pete’s sake. It’s salad dressing – how much time are you going to spend on such a petty issue?!”
Not very attractive, is it?
Let’s look at some of the things we grumble about at home. Clothes left on the floor? Toothpaste cap off? Toilet seat up? Anything that can finish this sentence: “I have told you a hundred times to/not to [fill in the blank].
Now rate this recurring issue on a scale of one to ten where ten is “life changing” and one is “I usually forget about it within a few minutes.” Then ask yourself these questions:
1. Has my grumbling about this issue changed my mate’s behavior?
2. Can I list three things I love about my mate that far outweigh this issue?
And, if you’re really brave ask yourself:
3. Is there something I do that annoys my mate that I have no intention of doing different?
Nobody’s asking you to stop grumbling cold turkey – that might throw your body into shock. Wean yourself. Next time the annoying event happens, count to three before reacting. Increase that count a little each time it happens. You will eventually count high enough to forget why you’re counting and what you almost grumbled about.
Let me start us off. I’ll stop grumbling about not being able to get Ken’s Country French dressing and start appreciating available options. But if you happen to spot it somewhere, will you pick me up a bottle or two?
Have a tip to help squelch grumbling? Please share it in the comment section below.