I got up early and went out for a jog this morning.  The weather was incredible; cool and calm; just the way I like it.  About 15 minutes into the jog, I noticed there was a small pebble in my shoe. “Oh, man!” I said to myself. “I hate it when that happens!”  I considered several options when I noticed the pebble.  First, I thought, “Well, I will just keep running and in time, I won’t feel it. It’s small anyway so it can’t do that much damage.” Second, I thought, “I could find a place to stop and sit down and take off my shoe and discard the annoyance.” Finally, I thought, “Maybe if I kick my foot on the ground as I’m running, it will get lost in a space in my shoe where I won’t feel it!”  True to form, I picked the latter option to try first as it seemed to be the option that might resolve the issue the quickest.  Well, I must say that it must have looked pretty funny if someone was watching me jog and slam my foot against the ground to dislodge the pebble. After about 2-3 minutes of ridiculous behavior and no success, I aborted this option.  Next, I decided to just continue to jog and hoped that over time, I wouldn’t feel the pebble anymore and it would be no big deal.  This option wasn’t very pleasant either because although the stone was really small, it made a big impact on the way my foot felt as I jogged.  I had only gone about a quarter of a mile when I suddenly had an epiphany! “This is ridiculous – why am I letting something so small have such a big impact on me,” I thought.  “Stop and find a place to sit down and get rid of the pebble so you can enjoy your jog!”  Well, that’s what I did – the whole process took about 3 minutes and before I knew it, I was back to jogging and not having to deal with that nasty little pebble no matter how small it was.  Then, I got it……I really got it.  Wow, that’s how relationships are – something happens that seems to be small and we try to find a way to dismiss it or avoid it or deny it’s affect on “us.” Sometimes we go for a long time dealing with the “pebble” and it still is bothering us and causing us pain. Then, the little pebble becomes a bigger issue and before we know it, it’s really difficult to solve because it has caused additional problems to surface in the relationship.  Doesn’t it make more sense to sit down with your partner and deal with the annoyance in the beginning when it is a little “pebble” than to continue to deal with it and allow it to create more pain and more discomfort? Why is it so easy for us to think that denial of an issue will get rid of the problem?  I think it’s because none of us like conflict and we think if we just let it go, we will get over it. However, like the little pebble in my shoe, it’s not going to go away. It has to be dealt with and the sooner we deal with it, the better chance of enjoying our relationships and not allowing that “pebble” to cause more damage.  I encourage you to examine the little “pebbles” in your relationship and make a decision today to sit down with your partner and “get rid” of the annoyances so you can enjoy each other and the life you share together!