Oh the agony of marriage. So often couples bring opposite needs and expectations to their relationship. Drastic incompatibilities clash disastrously delivering devastating and divisive disharmony. What to do? What to do?

She likes coffee; he likes tea. She prefers action movies; he likes romantic comedies. She wants a beach vacation; he wants to take her to a four-star Manhattan hotel. He wants a spruce Christmas tree; she wants a Douglas fir.

It’s enough to make you stay single your entire life.

Yes, I know there are different viewpoints and requirements in most marriage relationships. Some might even seem to be deal breakers. But most are not. Most can and should be worked out. And that’s the point.

Do you really argue over crunchy vs. creamy peanut butter? Buy two jars.
Is there debate about who makes the bed? It’s the last person up.
Every January, do you clash over the setting on the thermostat? Invest in a cuddly comforter for whichever spouse gets the winter chills.

This is not rocket science, people. You married each other for better or worse. These little irritants may not be part of the “better,” but they are not even in the vicinity of “worse.” Unsnagging these minor snags just takes a smidge of common sense, a little extra effort, or a dash of compromise.

Gary Chapman's Seeds of Love
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She flips out when you leave whiskers in the sink? Splash them away before you leave the bathroom.
You get ticked when she leaves the cap off the toothpaste. Is it really that big a deal?
You prefer Italian food and she prefers Mexican? You probably don’t need to hire an attorney to negotiate the details of that peace accord.

Of course, the real topic of this chapter is not about dealing with differences. Differences are the spice of marriage. Your differences were the reason you got married in the first place. What you can’t do, she can. And vice versa. You complete each other. The real purpose of this chapter is just to remind you to play nice. When it comes to silly little quirks and shortcomings, choose to be amused more than annoyed.


If you let them, there are plenty of things that can rob the joy from your day. Some of them you cannot control. But on all those teeny-weeny inconsequential issues, take the easy way out. Laugh them off. Do the easy fix. Find common ground.

On a serious note, there are some issues on which compromise isn’t an option. In many marriages, one party might be required or requested to make a huge sacrifice and that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Sometimes a husband or wife needs to set aside their own needs for the long-term benefit of the family. Situations arise: A mandatory cross-country move. A season caring for a loved one. Putting your spouse through school. Staying home to raise the kids. Months living apart due to military service or career responsibilities. Starting a new business. For the short term, these things will strain even the best marriages. Don’t sugarcoat it. Acknowledge the sacrifice. Appreciate the partnership.

But if the biggest frustrations you have in your marriage are about TV remotes, wet towels, dirty dishes, lost car keys, scuff marks on the linoleum, “check engine” lights, thermostats, or peanut butter, then you’d better start counting your blessings. You’ve got a marriage made in heaven.

Excerpt from 52 Things Wives Need from Their Husbands © 2012 by Jay Payleitner. Published by Harvest House Publishers. Excerpted with permission from the publisher. All Rights Reserved.