To have a good marriage, don’t sweat the small stuff


By Bob and Yvonne Turnbull —

There is a book titled, “Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff,” but have you noticed that it IS the ‘small stuff’ in marriages that oftentimes cause couples to become irritated with their spouses?

     That used to be us.  Yep.  That’s true.  Big Time.  Now what is Big Time with us is that we make sure that the small stuff turns into something positive in our daily relationship, and WOW, has THAT made a marked difference in our marriage.

   Every day now we make sure that we live a life style that brings laughter into our relationship.  We share jokes, cartoons, funny emails and especially laugh at ourselves.  Even after 40 years we continue to be playful with each other.  And we pray together every day, too.  Sometimes quickies and sometimes longies (such a word? there is now) to go along with our devotional readings.

    Every day we talk with each other as if we were talking to a stranger – meaning – it is sad how often people are more polite to strangers in the marketplace then they are to their own family members.  You are not that way.  Are you?  Anyway, we make sure we speak in a pleasant tone to each other as well as we don’t forget common everyday courtesies like ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’  We try to not take each other for granted which unfortunately occurs in waaayyyy too many marriages, especially as the years tick by following their wedding.

   Now.  A reality check.  Do we do this 100% of the time?  No.  Of course not.  Nobody does and that sure includes us.  Yes, we will do that in Heaven, but we are not there.  Yet.  Right now here in our temporary lives on Planet Earth “all of us fall short (way short) of the Glory of God.”  (An aside here:  Do you know – REALLY KNOW – what the true meaning of The Glory of God means?  If you do, super, but if you ‘fall short of that complete knowledge’ we suggest doing some serious biblical research to fully understand what it does mean.)

    However, as each year passes we do this more and more, with the past discourtesies and rudeness becoming less and less – as we both grow closer and closer to our Lord.

   Every day, and we do mean EVERY DAY, we make sure we say, “I love you,” not just once but several times.  We don’t do it out of duty but out of the very true love we do have for each other.  And we do it in a variety of creative ways so it is not the same o same o.

   Every day we are aware of our “hellos” and “goodbyes.”  If one comes home and the other is already there, our initial goal of walking into our house is to find the other one and give them a warm “I’m home” greeting.   Usually a hug and a smooch.  And of course it works the same way for the one at home to seek out the returnee as well.

   (And now read this next one very carefully and see what God would have you to do) – we always do three things when we are saying good-bye to each other on any occasion that would separate us.  We say (1) I love you, (2) kiss each other and (3) say words like, “May God be with you and you with Him.”

   You, like us, have probably heard stories like couples who have a big, hurtful argument, and one storms out of the house and drives off and then is killed in an auto accident.  When the surviving spouse is interviewed a few days later so often their comment is something like, “The last words we said to each other were cruel words.  I wish I could have my mate back to say, ‘I’m sorry’ – but I cannot.  Now I’ll live a life of regret remembering the last horrible words we exchanged with each other.”

   Each time we presented our “TeamMates” marriage/family seminars and conferences, Bob often illustrates that example and ends with – “So if a California Highway officer comes to my door and says to me, “I’m sorry Mr. Turnbull to inform you that four hours ago you wife was killed on the I-5 freeway” – and as shocked and traumatized as I would be, nonetheless I can live the rest of my earthly life knowing that our last exchange was a kiss and an I love you and a spiritual blessing.  THAT I can live with.”  Couldn’t you, too?

    What are the actions YOU do every day?  What are some things you could start to do if you haven’t already?  Can some of the above actions be incorporated, if not already?

 Remember, do not sweat the small stuff, but do remember to do the ‘special’ small things for each other EVERY DAY.  God certainly does that for us!

A few months from now we would like to do a follow-up to this message and we would very much like to incorporate – with your permission – some of the ‘small things’ you do in your marriage?  Or what you’ve heard or seen occur  in other marriages.  Please do email them to us.  We would appreciate that.  Thank you.

(And to be sure that you have PEACE WITH GOD we would like to encourage you to visit and then click on Grow Your Faith followed by clicking on How To Know Jesus.  You may want to share this link with family members, friends, co-workers, neighbors, etc)

 PO Box 5580

La Quinta, CA 92248

Phone: 760.238.4588

E-Mail: [email protected]