It’s the Little Things

It’s the Summer of 1970, I’m sitting in a priest’s rectory in Monterey California. Anita and I are getting pre-marital counseling. The one thing this priest said that stuck was, “It’s the little things … your marriage will be defined by the little things.”

What he meant of course was the fact that your marriage is defined by the countless little things that happen day in and day out. On August 15th of that year we got married in a little Chapel in Big Sur. Let me give you one example of how I have applied this advice over the years. When leaving the house, Anita would ask, “When are you coming home?” Now to most men this is a straight forward and simple question. That’s where they make their first mistake. There are many levels and meanings imbedded in this seemingly harmless question. So, when asked when I was returning, I would pause and think about my answer. “When did I think I would be back?” … and then I would add an hour to it.

Coming Home

So, I would say, “Six o’clock.” Then I would arrive home at 5:15 and Anita would say, “You’re early.” And I would respond, “I couldn’t wait to get home to you.” She would smile and so would I. We were both happy. Some of you may laugh and scoff at that. It worked for me.

Why is it important to pay attention to the little things? The foundation for relationships is trust. And if you can’t be trusted to do the little things, how can you be trusted to do the big things?