It was our 15th Wedding Anniversary last Wednesday. Our tradition is to go for a steak dinner. But now, we have one more. A few years ago, I started asking her this simple question, “What are three things I can do to be a greater blessing to you?” on every anniversary. Once she answers, she asks me the same question. It may sound like a small change in our anniversary tradition, but I think it made a big difference in our marriage. Though the question remains the same, the answers are always different, so it makes our anniversary dinner more meaningful. But most importantly, as we begin to answer the question, we get valuable knowledge about what each other wants from each other that was difficult to communicate in our daily lives.
What I have come to realize is that what my wife requests from me often sounds like a tiny change. But just as painful blisters happen through small but repeated agitation, small change is not small at all. When I make the requested adjustments, I know she will be much more satisfied and less agitated, increasing the chance of a happier marriage.
It is easy to ignore what we consider to be small problems. However, we always need to factor in frequency and duration to understand the real impact. Small lies, small misunderstanding, small revenge, all become something big as they pile up, for a long time.
We typically try to create a big difference through big change. But most of the important things in life, such as relationships, health, growth and character, require constant small deposits for a long time, not a big deposit for a short duration. It may sound disappointing, but it is also good news. Because we just need to start paying attention to the small routines and habits in our lives and make necessary adjustments.