The Book- Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty

The Quote- That was the secret of a happy marriage: step away from the rage.

Is the secret to a happy marriage to simply take a step back sometimes?

When my daughter was home for break my Husband did/said something stupid. My daughter asked why I didn’t say something to him. I replied:

“In marriage, as in parenting, sometimes you need to take a step back from the stupid. You have to choose your battles, and decide if the battle is the one to take a stand on.”

First off- which quote is better- mine or the one from the book?

Secondly, is the secret to life not 42, but is it really just stepping back?

The people we are closest to are going to annoy us at least once a day. No two people get along perfectly 24/7/365- I know this for a fact because we just had a situation where people were together 24/7/365, and there was a lot of anger and sadness or for the sake of this piece, rage…

Do we need to harp on them every time they don’t load the dishwasher correctly, or they leave their shoes in the hallway? Annoyed because they are wearing an old concert T shirt that is 20 years old and has no arm pits anymore? Disgruntled because they don’t want to watch the same TV show?

If you have a partner, or a child living with you, how often do you point out their mistakes? Or what are mistakes in your eyes?

For homework, I want you to count how many times you nag your partner/child and why.

How many of these things are life threatening? How many of these things needed to be mentioned, and how many of them could have been stepped away from?

Do you step away more than you engage? How does it work for you?


73 thoughts on “Step Away

  1. There’s a difference between physical and mental breaks.

    You and I know that living in small spaces with constant close proximity to each other doesn’t always allow for physical breaks.

    I need physical breaks to support mental ones. Yes a long walk with the dog or retail therapy sometimes help, but not always.

    One has to get creative.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Stepping back is important. Often we’re too close to it all. That said, while I agree we should choose our battles carefully, the truth is those annoyances build up over time. We need to express our feelings/thoughts. If it’s a recurring thing then best to have the conversation BUT best to take a step back first before opening ones mouth. That’s my take.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I tell myself not to say anything but I can’t help myself. I recognize when it’s happening so I have no excuse. I often sound like my mother which I don’t like. I am consciously trying to bite my tongue but it doesn’t always work. I don’t like that I am so critical. It bothers me a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I will choose not to reflect back at this point and simply say how very thankful I am now. I have only myself to step back from and of course I never have to do that. I agree with everything I say and do 😉

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Deb, the little bird on your profile pic, just caught my eye…would that be a black capped chickadee? I’ve been paying more attention to the birds @ our feeders this winter, and those are some of the ones hanging out.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m going to say correct Doug, and give you the prize, which is just me saying Good Eye! We have chickadees all over here. I love watching them at the feeders I put out. Quite a few nest in a large bush right where I park my car. A little secret: that profile pic is in honor of my dad. He gave me the nickname Bird when I was little. No idea why, but this bird theme has been attached to me in many ways over the years.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. How often do you point out their mistakes?

    Rarely. I’m not here to fix anyone, I’m here to help other people do what they want to do. If what they want to do is a mistake [in my estimation] then so be it. What do I know about their struggles?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My husband rarely annoys me, to be honest. He’s absent-minded and eccentric and that’s why I fell in love with him. So when he leaves the plane tickets on the counter and doesn’t realize until we’re halfway to the airport or he puts the car keys in the wrong place or he gets so involved in his work that he forgets to walk the dog like he said he would…I just remember that this is WHO he is and his quirks are part of the reason whey I love him so much. It’s not that I have to “step back from stupid,” it’s just that I need to remember he’s not being maliciously forgetful. I’m grateful that he puts up with my mistakes and it makes all his idiosyncrasies charming in a certain way.

    But boy do I have to remind myself that people aren’t trying to be malicious when they don’t use their turn signals!!!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I’m not a good person to ask. Tara and I really do get along 24/7/365. It’s weird, I know.

    But in my first marriage, I stepped back so often, I eventually fell off a metaphorical cliff. Should have been far more outspoken in retrospect; things might have turned out differently. I think there’s a balance, but finding it is tricky.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. I think you are correct in telling your daughter to pick your battles. Husband can say stupid things. They don’t need to be corrected all the time, and I wouldn’t want to be either. Did you like the Liane Moriarty book? I haven’t read that one.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I step back almost to a fault, but I just hate making a big deal about something that really isn’t a big deal. My kids knew that when I got mad and nagged about something that they had better do it because if I was complaining, had reached my limit.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Exactly and my daughter has done the same thing, in wondering why I don’t retort to my husband about certain things. I just hope it can be an ezample to her to let some things roll off, for she is more the one to get agitated quicker. My son is more like me. And as for the quotes. I like yours better.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Relationships are meant to be teachers, and I’ve learned it’s safe to speak up instead of sitting back like a doormat as I was all my life. I do pick and choose, to be sure, and I make sure to couch what I say in that “I feel/think/etc…” phrasing that we’re meant to use so we don’t sound like we’re attacking the other person (though there are days 😄).

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Oh yes, your quote is better. I definitely have the same opinion about picking the right things to go to battle over. Thank goodness for my studio to have a place to step back to. Also deep breathing before I speak helps.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I definitely tried to step back when my son was home for his break from college. I try to be mindful about this because this is not how I was raised. I wanted a happy vibe in the house for the holidays.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I recently read The 5 Love Languages; it’s helped me gain an understanding of how to show love. I’ll be writing about it soon.

    I think if more of us worked on being more loving, then what you’ve described here wouldn’t be as much of an issue.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The problem is how people define love. How many people think money equates with love? Or that just doing what someone says means love? Looking forward to your post

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I’ve been known to let too many annoyances fester. And there’s been times where the things he’s brought up as annoyances are beyond trivial. Stepping back is good to a point. Better is learning to respect what the other person is bugged about, even if it seems incredibly minor to one’s self. We’re starting to get there, after 25 years together!!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I don’t often realize how lucky I am until I see things like this. I know I have a really awesome relationship with my Hubby and that I am lucky, but sometimes I just don’t quite see how lucky I am. We don’t have these kinds of things come up usually. Maybe because we are similar enough in the right areas, but there really aren’t things that would be a “nag” item. If there is something that bothers us, we will talk about it and find a way to adjust so that it isn’t an issue. Sure, we’ve had arguments in the past, but we always get to the point where we can see each other’s points and find some middle ground that works for both of us. That has always been a huge part of why we work so well together. Being able to talk and be honest, being able to listen and adjust, being willing to do all of those things.

    My first husband, though… yeah, there are reasons why that one didn’t last.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. I step back usually and then bring it up at a better time because the kids are older now. Back when they were kids I’d choose my battles and I guess I do the same now with a different hitch – I want to give them time to see before I jump in to correct if needed. If that makes sense…

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  17. I like the fact that you hit the nail on the head…these are pure facts and demonstrate that we have different personalities and family or not, we need to strike a balance between our definition of perfection and or success….

    Liked by 2 people

  18. First off I love the title of your blog I think I found it once and mentioned it then. I have found it again and are mentioning it again 🙂 year as we get older it’s all about balance. You realize you don’t have to get hostile for everything or nag. You can say hey pick up your shoes without saying why are you always leaving your shoes on the floor it’s like the 100th time I tell you …But I will check myself from time to time and be like duuuude calm down you’re on the verge of sounding like your mom and then I stop immediately. But it is important to speak up otherwise you’ll blow up one day over something in the dairy aisle at The Ralph’s:) ha! I’ll try that counting experiment today and see how it goes. 🙂

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  19. Oooh good topic. I agree with you, though it’s easier said than done. I was on edge all day today because of drama that unfolded. End result is im going to the doctors tomorrow for my pain. I realized there was no reason to get so angry. A lot of times that is the case. End result I got what I wanted. It doesn’t also have to be exactly how I want it too. We have been in fight or flight mode since October 17th 2019 when the revolution broke out in Lebanon. We feared a civil war. Instead, we got an economic crisis the whole world is talking about. My husband and I are on edge. Sometimes im able to step away. Many times im not. But it is great advice to aspire to.

    Liked by 1 person

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