Has the following scenario ever happened to you? You are sharing something with some friends like, "We had a wonderful time on our vacation. When we arrived home about 10:00 p.m., we were so tired." Our partner jumps in and says, "No it wasn't. We arrived home at 9:45 p.m." A huge argument ensues because we felt put down and corrected in front of our friends. During the argument we are asking ourselves, "What difference does it make whether it was 9:45 or 10 p.m.?" There are partners who correct us over all the little details. We find ourselves angry and exhausted dealing with these partners.
There is a Peruvian saying: "You are drowning in a glass of water." Sometimes in a relationship we argue over what seems to be so small. It is like the saying, "We are making a mountain out of a molehill." Why do we fret over such a small thing? Why do we complain over something that seems so trivial? We may even feel upset with ourselves for arguing over such a trivial matter. Our partner may think that what we are upset about is so insignificant that he dismisses it. His response can upset us even more.
Sometimes in a relationship we argue over what seems
to be so small. It is like the saying,
"We are making a mountain out of a molehill."
There may be several reasons we are drowning in a glass of water in our relationship. What may seem small to others and to ourselves may be pointing to something larger in our relationship. The glass of water may be about a theme in our marriage that is destructive. An example might be in the statement, "I have asked you over and over again to pick up your dirty clothes and put them in the hamper, but again I have to pick up after you. It makes me feel that you do not care about what I want." No doubt you have other examples that are important to you but may seem trivial to your partner.
Perhaps the glass of water is expressed by our nitpicking because we believe we do not have a voice in our relationship. Maybe the glass of water is our making a big deal about small things because we believe our partner controls us by finding fault with everything we say or do. We need to get to the real issue instead of fighting over its symptoms.
Dr. William E. Austin is a licensed psychotherapist and holds a Doctor of Divinity degree. He is a therapist with Tidewater Pastoral Counseling Services . He is well known for his warmth and sense of humor. His book, Creating Our Safe Place - Articles on Healthy Relationships, can be purchased through www.amazon.com.
Tidewater Pastoral Counseling: 623-2700