“Cutting Through the Unimportant”

As a Pastor who has done over 200 weddings through the years I’ve developed a kind of “standardized” premarital counseling. In other words, things that I talk about with each couple.

One of those things is learning how to “fight fair.” Most couples warm up to the discussion very quickly. However, there are always couples who say; “we never fight,” and they are somewhat offended that I would even bring it up with them. Those couples are the ones who are in for a rude shock when they are married, because all couples fight. No I don’t mean screaming matches, but issues that they just can’t seem to get together with each other.

Somewhere in the discussion I always bring up the concept of “giving in.” I state it as a proposition that, assess the issue you are in conflict with your partner and ask the question of yourself; “how much does this really matter to me?” If the answer is little or very little then give in to your spouse. It’s just not worth the effort to continue the fight.

I think this is a good lesson for all of us in today’s divisive world. What really matters to me? Often we find ourselves in conflict or feeling quietly anxious or frustrated about some situation in the world. If we were to take a step back we might find that the issue really isn’t that important to me.

In our greatly interconnected world of social media we are bombarded with topics on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TicTok, with more platforms sure to come. Often we find ourselves in virtual conflict with other people over things and issues that we don’t really care about. Far too often these conflicts migrate over from the virtual world to the real world. 

We find our anxiety levels on the rise, stomach acid churning, headaches onsetting and other very real symptoms. When we take a few steps back and shut down our computers, phones, and i pads and ask ourselves how much this issue really matters to me?, we find that many of those things don’t matter. I’ve just allowed myself to get spun up by them because I’m spending too much time in this virtual world and I’m allowing someone else’s emotions to invade my heart and mind.

Human beings don’t have the emotional capacity to be deeply invested in everything that is going on out there. I’ll give you a sports analogy because people who know me know that I love sports, but not all sports, and even in the sports that I love I don’t love all the teams.

There are two teams that I care about in the NFL, the Pittsburgh Steelers because that is where I’m from, and the Washington Commanders because this is where I live now.

Both teams have had questions about their QB in recent years (yeah I know the Commanders for about 30 years) I care about and am invested in their search. But what about the other 30 teams? I don’t care. I may observe who they have and will he be around next year because I am a football fan. I will listen to the discussion about who the best young QB is, by the way it’s Patrick Mahomes, but I’m not emotionally invested in his play. Sure I watch the game and marvel at how good he is, maybe I’ll even wish he played for the Steelers, but there isn’t that emotional investment like there is with the Steelers or the Commanders.

To get through these difficult and divisive times we need to cut through the unimportant to the important. Too often we get sucked into making things that don’t matter to us become something important. Remember we only have the bandwidth to have so many important things in life.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: