The Gift of Three Things Unsaid

The Gift of Three Things Unsaid
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** This post is part of a 14 day series. To read more of my “The Gift of…” posts, scroll to the bottom of this post for links.

“The difference between a successful marriage and a mediocre one consists of leaving about three things a day unsaid.” -Michelle Gelman

This quote was written on an index card and handed to me at my wedding 17 years ago. I got lots of advice that day, but this one stuck out. At 21 years old, I’d never before heard anyone comment on the beauty of leaving three things a day unsaid.

Those three unsaid things are a gift.

Wait, you’re saying. I have to say those three things.

I have to say those three things…and more! Because crumbs on the counter and wet towels on the floor and lights that get left on and his inability to shut a door quietly drives me nuts!

I know. Trust me.

I get it. I’ve been there.

And you somehow feel like if you point out everything they’re doing, you’ll end up with this awesome scorecard where you can tally up how amazing you are and how much he/she still has to learn.


Y’all, that’s not how it works.

The best piece of marriage advice I ever received was simple, and has served me well in many areas of my life.

Let’s be clear here…

Now, I’m not advocating lying down and playing door mat. You can be a strong person without having to comment on every. single. blessed. thing.

And, let’s also be clear—there are things that need to be brought up and dealt with.

What I’m talkin’ about here, however, is this: before we are so quick to rattle off those three or twelve or thirty-six things that have been done today (strictly to annoy us, of course) we might do well to take a good long honest look in the mirror.

Know why? Because when you take a good long honest look in the mirror, you might start to see your own faults.

And you might realize someone else has been quiet about them.

Take a look in the mirror. What are you doing?

My husband does not comment on my inability to communicate without sarcasm.

He doesn’t make snippy comments to me about the fact I occasionally press my snooze alarm way more times than should be legal before I actually get out of bed.

He doesn’t roll his eyes when I forget to check the oil in my car or that I never remember to ask for an oil change until it’s way overdue.

No heavy sighs when I sometimes forget to use a cutting board when chopping things up.

And no big lectures when I bring animals to our farm that were not “previously discussed”.

I could go on, but I think you get the point. We all have faults. None of us are perfect.

When you realize and are honest about your own little annoying faults, it’s really hard to snip about someone who forgets to put away his shaving cream in the bathroom every single night.


Do we really need to comment on all the things our family does?

I know we feel like we have to point everything out. But how big is the issue, really?

Barbara Johnson advises (and I love this):

“Remember a small trouble is like a pebble. Hold it too close to your eyes and it puts everything out of focus. Hold it at a proper viewing distance and it can be examined and classified. Throw it at your feet and see it in its true setting – just one more tiny bump on the pathway.”

I challenge you today to the gift of leaving three things unsaid.

The best piece of marriage advice I ever received was simple, and has served me well in many areas of my life.



Gift #1 — The Gift of an Open Door

Gift #2 — The Gift of One of Those Days

Gift #3 —The Gift of a Dog’s Friendship

Gift #4 — The Gift of Mess

Gift #5 — The Gift of Our Silence

Gift #6 — The Gift of Routine

Gift #7 — The Gift of Community

Gift #8 — The Gift of Three Things Unsaid

Gift #9 — The Gift of Perspective

Gift #10 — The Gift of Being Real

Gift #11 — The Gift of a Bowl of Corn

Gift #12 — The Gift of Encouragement

Gift #13 — The Gift of Unanswered Prayers

Gift #14 — The Gift of Actually Listening

Tired of the sugarcoated version of homeschooling? Read my book The Homeschool Highway: How to Navigate Your Way Without Getting Carsick.

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1 thought on “The Gift of Three Things Unsaid”

  • Just found your series thanks to IHN. Loving it! Thank you. This one speaks to what I need to practice more. My husband is so good at not saying all the things. Me, not so much.

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