The Small Stuff Can Drive You Crazy

Worchestershire sauce bottle

Today’s post is about Worcestershire sauce. I know you think you read that wrong. Isn’t this blog about marriage and sexuality? Did I click in the right place?

Yes, you did. But one of the eye-openers about being married for a while is that the small stuff really will drive you the point of insanity if you let it. My illustration is the Worcestershire sauce in my home. It goes inside the refrigerator door, bottom shelf. That is where it belongs. To make sure that everyone in the family understands its proper placement, I even whipped out my handy-dandy label maker and put a sticker sign on the shelf that reads “Condiments.” Yet every single time that I cook something that calls for a little sprinkling of Worcestershire sauce, I come back later to find that the bottle has been returned to the middle shelf, not in the door.

I have asked nicely, I have labeled, I have reminded, I have restated, I have patiently returned the bottle over and over to its proper location, I have prayed, I have pleaded, and the other day, I opened the refrigerator door and found the Worcestershire sauce back on that middle shelf! An unbidden thought — God forgive me — raced through my mind: That of slamming that slender glass bottle over my sweet husband’s head. *Gasp!* Am I really that concerned about where the stupid Worcestershire bottle goes?!!!

Yes. Yes, I am.

But while some of you are secretly chiding me (or maybe not so secretly, since I can’t actually see you), the funny thing is that most of you know what I’m talking about. There is some very small thing that you wish your spouse would do and you ask them to do . . . nicely the first 53 times, then less nicely the next 128 times. You wonder why, why, why he/she would not make it a point to get this teeny, tiny thing right when they know it matters to you.

It’s such a small thing after all. It’s not like you asked your spouse to scale Mount Everest or win a hot dog eating contest for you. You’re not asking for a kidney or bone marrow. You don’t expect them to take a bullet for you or vote for your political candidate (almost as bad as a bullet to some of you). This itty bitty request is a chance for them to prove you are important, to pass a test of their love for you!

Yes, I know for me that it is just a bottle of Worcestershire sauce. But I could make the same point to my husband: IT’S JUST A BOTTLE OF WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE. PUT IT AWAY CORRECTLY.

Why am I obsessing about this on my marriage and sexuality blog?

Because the small stuff will drive you crazy if you let it. You can let that small stuff curdle up in your belly and become resentment and frustration — the very things that make you disinterested in sharing time, affection, and lovemaking with your spouse. You can come to bed so hurt and angry about the laundry he won’t put away or the clutter she keeps on the kitchen counter, or him drinking the last soda or her buying another pair of shoes, or whatever that you forget to focus on the big stuff.

And the big stuff is growing your intimacy.

That small stuff really isn’t a test of love. My husband adores me. In fact, he’d happily take a bullet for me. (Well, maybe not happily.) He would scale a mountain, give me a little marrow, or eat a hot dog or two. But at home, he forgets to put the Worcestershire sauce where it belongs and remembers to cuddle up with me.

Believe me, when I forget to pick up his shirts at the dry cleaners, I honestly did just forget. It was not intentional. But it has happened more than once (too often, I admit) . . . because, as much as I absolutely love and commit to my hubby, my brain skips sometimes.

Today’s goal is to ask yourself what small infractions have you keeping score in your marriage. Are they hampering your ability to feel receptive toward your husband? Are they interfering with your desire for him? Have you given the small stuff more import than it deserves?

I promise I won’t be smacking my husband with the bottle of Worcestershire sauce. (So nobody call the cops. It’s okay. I promise. He’s safe with me.) However, I will be smacking him with my lips and snuggling up to his hot body.

And after a great night of marital intimacy, I’ll be lying on my bed with a goofy grin murmuring, “What Worcestershire sauce?”

21 thoughts on “The Small Stuff Can Drive You Crazy

  1. Sara with an H

    Oh man, I’ve actually been thinking about this same sort of small thing myself. When my husband takes off his socks for the day, he puts them on the floor…NEXT TO HIS CLOTHES HAMPER! I go into our bedroom every morning after he goes to work (I don’t ever notice it until the next day), and I have to put them in the hamper. I’m like “WHY CANT YOU PUT THEM THE 6 INCHES FURTHER INTO YOUR HAMPER?!” It’s something he’s always done but lately its been really driving me crazy (maybe because I’m pregnant, I dunno). But I’ve realized that I’m positive I do annoying little things that bug the snot out of him, and he never mentions them. So I will continue to pick up his socks in the morning (sometimes not so happily), and just try not to let it bother me, because I love him and at the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter.

  2. Anonymous

    So true. It’s just the small stuff, but I can see where a whole lot of small stuff can add up to one big problem of laziness, selfishness and disrespect. However, if a hubby is genuinely and frequently a decent, loving, sacrificing guy who forgets to put the worchestershire sauce in the door of the fridge, or clean the whiskers out of the sink, then it is certainly worth over looking.

    Any husband reading this, though, take note! The small stuff DOES matter…we wives can just choose how much it matters. So, when she’s on her hands and knees scrubbing the kitchen floor, don’t tromp across it in your boots. If you sweep your whiskers off the vanity top and some land on the floor, vacuum it up, don’t just leave it. And for heaven’s sake, clothes go IN the hamper. Not next to, not on top of, not draping off the side…in with the lid on!

    As a wife, a housewife for that matter, I certainly don’t mind care for hubby, children and home. It doesn’t bother me to scrub the toilet week after week and wash endless loads of laundry and dishes. But no husband should ever make more work for his wife when he is perfectly capable of cleaning up after himself. Believe me, your marriage will go a lot farther if you have some consideration.

    Put it this way: You don’t have a problem working hard and providing for your family so bills are paid and food is on the table. But how would you like it if your wife went clothing shopping all the time and got manicures and pedicures and other things that jack up the credit card bills and force you to work OT to make up the difference? It’s the same idea.

    I mean, if she’s generally a frugal wife who manages your hard earned money well and likes to pamper herself with a monthly massage or pedicure, then I’d overlook it, like the worchestershire sauce. But a wife should not make more work for a husband when she is perfectly capable of going without the treats.

    Ok, done with my complimentary blog post in the comments! LOL! J-love your blog!

  3. Anonymous

    I don’t keep my Worcestershire sauce in the fridge either. 🙂 Seriously though lately whenever I find myself getting annoyed with my husband, my thoughts flash back to the night before and I figure that a man who can do what he does to me can put the Worcestershire sauce wherever he likes. Furthermore, there are many other things he does “right” – both in the bedroom and out!

  4. Lydia

    Oh my word! Seriously you have to STOP posting these kinds of things because my husband is starting to think that I really am writing your blog. Believe me, I wouldn’t be doing half as well as you are — but still. I agree. With it all! I unfortunately tend to struggle with that. Here’s to not worrying about the small stuff and focusing on the better stuff!

  5. Anonymous

    My dad used to tell me to “Don’t sweat the small stuff, and it is all small stuff.”

    It has helped me a lot to learn to let go and b relaxed about stuff. Certainly still working on it tho.

  6. Dave

    I learned a significant principle about “small stuff” from Dr. Willard Harley (author of His Needs Her Needs). I think this would fall under his umbrella of “annoying habits.” The basic principle I’ve come away is this: Will it be easier for me to change my attitude towards her annoying behavior, or will it be easier for her to change her annoying behavior?

    The main hazard in this question is that our tendency is towards “it is always hard for me to change and easy for my spouse to change, so all change must come from the spouse.” If we are honest and sincere in wanting what is best for the marriage (not just for me), then sometimes the answer will be, “it is easier for me to change my attitude about where the Worcesteshire sauce goes than for you to learn to put it away correctly” and sometimes “it will be easier for me to learn to put it away in the right place than for you to change your attitude.”

    1. J

      Oh my goodness! Thanks for telling me. I don’t know where it went! It got swiped somehow. I’ll figure it out.

  7. Christy

    I think this little lesson rings true for me when let’s just say my hormones are out of whack. But I swear my husband chews louder during this time of month and it’s like nails on a chalk board. Instead of getting mad it has kinda become a joke in our house and he has enlisted the children to “help” annoy me when I am fighting the uglies. Ha!

  8. Joshua Belyeu

    The first thing I thought of when reading the headline of this article had nothing to do with the refrigerator. Once I finished, I just started chuckling, realizing my brain went way out there with this kind of topic.

  9. Bev G

    This is a good word, especially now that we are in the holiday season. Sometimes we get so hung up on how we want things that we forget about being that kind and loving person God wants us to be. I have been reading Karen Ehman’s – From Chaos to Calm 5 day Christmas challenge. It is amazing how the little things can pile up and become the CHAOS! Let go of the control and let God guide and direct you EVEN WITH THE DECORATING!!! My goal this holiday season is fun, laughter, peace and most of all to feel the hands of God on my shoulders during the whole season.

  10. Danica

    I am a mental health therapist who works with kids. I feel like I spend all day telling the kids to stop and take some deep breaths before they react to situations that annoy them, because most of the time, the situations don’t seem nearly as bad once we’ve cleared our head. When I started applying that to my marriage, (we’re in our 20s and have just been married a little over a year), I found it really helps! I have a tendency to see a small thing like the Worcestershire sauce, and before I know it, I’ve blown it up in my head into something way bigger than it is, and will sometimes start a fight about it. If, after seeing the Worcestershire sauce in the wrong spot, I stop for a second, take some deep breaths, and remind myself of something my husband has done FOR me or something I love about him, I almost always feel my mood switch from upset and hurt to overjoyed that I get to be married to this amazing man!! Yeah, he often forgets little things, but he so much more often remembers little and big things, and life is so much happier when I focus on those!! I do address the little things sometimes, but it’s always from a positive perspective, coupled with a compliment, when we are both in good moods.

  11. Anonymous

    I heard a story an elderly widow told….
    She was at a Ladies Conference and heard several women complaining about this or that about their husbands.
    She got up at spoke how much she would love to hear her husband snore one more time, or how much she would love the opportunity to pick up his socks that he didn’t bother to put in the proper place.
    Point: Men shouldn’t be so thoughtless, and women have the right to vent, but in the big picture of life…when you have buried the love of your life, you’ll miss all the daily annoying things he did. You will long for socks to pick up, or Worcestershire sauce in the wrong place…because that would mean your love was still with you.
    Just something to think about..
    And, I’m a wife, and have plenty to complain about, and do so from time to time, but when I catch myself complaining, I think about this sweet elderly lady.

  12. Anonymous

    The Worcestershire sauce in the room … I love it 🙂 One of the biggest “small things” that God has given me an opportunity to overlook is that my wife never puts anything away. Its maddening sometimes, but I have to keep reminding myself they are small things. Several years ago we attended a marriage event where Gary Chapman was the speaker, and part of his message was just on this subject. He related how early in his marriage he was upset that his wife would leave cabinet doors and drawers open and was not shy about telling her. However, after years of marriage he came to realize that she was not going to start closing doors and drawers from his nagging, so he learned to let it go and just close them himself. I was so impressed by his story that I took the same attitude in my marriage, and I am so glad I did. Do I do this perfectly? well no, but then again I am, like the rest of us, a work in progress.

Comments are closed.