Both ask the question, “does it really matter?” before reacting.
by Ed Wimberly, Ph.D.
The 21 characteristics of healthy marriages I will suggest to you over the weeks ahead will not be in any particular order of importance. That said I do believe that none of the characteristics that are found in healthy marriage relationships is more important than this first one.
Usually in healthy and growing marriages, both have the ability and willingness to consider just how important their gripe, criticism or complaint really is before bringing it up as an issue. And usually, they get it right; they disregard what is of little importance while they express and address those issues in their marriage that do matter and need to be talked out.
Interestingly, in unhealthy and struggling marriages, each may ask the question, “does it really matter?”, but they invariably come up with the wrong answer! Too often, the issues that really do matter that need time, attention and discussion are ignored, set aside and placed into the category, “it doesn’t really matter”. And it is usually with an unproductive attitude (hurt, anger, resentment, etc.) that the issue is declared unimportant and then set aside. Likewise, those issues that are really unimportant that could be disregarded, become the focal point and reason for an argument.
In short, men and women in healthy marriages make it a priority to pick their battles, and by doing so, appropriately ignore what is not important, while dealing with the issues that really do need attending to.
Feel free to weigh in with your thoughts.