Today, I was with my family at Chic-fil-A, and my two-year-old daughter was eating a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich that my wife had in her purse. After my daughter finished her fries, she asked if she could dip her sandwich in her ketchup.
“That’s gross – no,” I said.
Then I thought about it and was like, who cares? The only reason I was telling her no is because it’s not something I would eat, and I had this vague fear she would grow up loving the taste of PB & J with ketchup.
“Okay, go ahead,” I said, after which she plunged her sandwich into the ketchup cup and took a big bite of the nasty sandwich.
Six years ago, I would’ve told my daughter “no” and wouldn’t have thought twice about it, and here’s the reason: six years ago, I wasn’t married.
When I got married, my wife and I were always having stupid fights over meaningless preferences. You know, that gets awfully tiring after a while.
After butting heads over ridiculous stuff enough times, you either become steeped in your selfishness, or one day, as you’re discussing what you’re going to do on Sunday evening, you have a big revelation. And it goes something like this: who cares if we watch her favorite show that I care nothing about?
Then you shrug your shoulders, take a deep breath, and say, “Sure, let’s watch Downton Abbey.”
When that breakthrough happens, your spouse looks over at you just to make sure that’s actually you, and replies, “Really? That’s so sweet.”
And life gets easier – way easier – because you’ve finally started to realize that letting someone else eat their peanut-butter-and-jelly-and-ketchup sandwich doesn’t really matter in the long run.