I’ve heard it said that “big things come in small packages” and that “the best things come in small packages.” When it comes to marital conflict, I agree with both statements.
Sometimes “big things do come in small packages.” Unfortunately, these “small packages” can bring “big things” like dynamite to blow your marriage up. For instance, “small package words” like name-calling can create “big thing problems” and explode in your face. “Small package words” include phrases like “That’s stupid,” “You always burn the toast,” “You’re lazy,” or “You never clean this house.” These “small package words” create “big thing problems” that become a minefield in your marriage. One wrong step and they explode to release anger that has built up in response to these “small package words.”
“Small package actions” can also cause “big thing problems.” Rolling the eyes, a demeaning laugh, or simply walking away in the middle of a discussion are “small problem actions” that lead to “big thing problems.” It’s true that “big things come in small packages” but those “small packages” can blow your marriage up.
On the other hand, the “best things come in small packages” as well. For instance, “small package words” like “Thank you,” “I love you,” or “You’re the best” are the “best things” to hear. Through such “small packages” we know we are loved, valued, appreciated, and adored…and those are the “best things” we can receive in our marriage.
“Small package actions” can also give us the “best things.” For instance, intentional and patiently listening to our spouse is one of the “best things” we can offer. Such a “small package” but one that reveals the “best things,” our love and concern.
Another “small package” that gives our spouse the “best things” is a thoughtful response or loving question. “Small package” statements like “Tell me more about that,” “You sound excited (sad, unsure, or whatever emotion fits the context),” or “Can you explain that more so I can understand better?” These short phrases, “small packages” so to speak, express interest and value in the one we love and that’s one of the “best things” we can offer our spouse.
Yes, “big things” and “the best things come in small packages.” Just make sure the “small package” you give to your spouse is one that gives the “best things” you have to give.