Book Review: Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff in Love

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Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff in LoveRichard Carlson Ph.D. and Kristine Carlson

(Available in print, ebook and audiobook.)

This little self-help book is full of the type of good advice you would give a friend if she complained about problems in her marriage. A lot of it is common sense—but the sort of thing we never recognize in our own relationships or apply to ourselves, so it helps to read it and have it sink in.

The authors stress that there is no such thing as a perfect relationship, but that no one should settle for one that is “just okay”. Their goal with this book is to give you the confidence and advice to solve problems or to help you put them in perspective so they don’t damage the relationship. A lot of the focus is on setting priorities, maintaining perspective, realizing what is just “small stuff” and not important enough to allow to interfere in a good partnership. The sections are labeled things such as Be Pals, Stay Playful, Throw Away Your Scorecard, Avoid Ultimatums, Think Before You Speak, Balance the Act, Remember the Magic, Treasure Each Other.

I thought the best advice was to treat your partner like your best friend—many of us think we do that, but we really don’t. When you feel like responding in a negative way to something your partner did or said, stop and honestly ask yourself how you would act if it was your best friend who had said or done that. Often, we are more willing to moderate our behaviour to keep a friend than to keep a partner—so teach yourself to truly and honestly view your partner as your best friend.

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