My newest passion has kept me busy as of late. I am endeavoring to gain further skills in conflict mediation. Do you know anyone in conflict? You do? I thought so.
I heard a story right along these lines. A man was standing at the bed of his dying wife, she told him she had but one request. Leaning toward her hanging on her every word he stated, “anything, you name it.” She surprised him by saying that she wanted him to promise that he would ride to the cemetery in the car with her mother. The husband was taken back. He hadn’t spoken to his mother-in-law in 10 years. She was such a nag. The wife begged him to promise that he would indeed sit with her Mom all the way to the cemetery. Realizing his wife would not take no for an answer he said begrudgingly, Okay I will, (sigh) but it’ll ruin my day!”
Sometimes our conflict makes us focus on issues that would appear rather misguided in comparison to the bigger picture. One small example here, does it really matter where we choose to go on vacation? Isn’t one less day in the office anywhere, better than spending it at (you fill in the blank)! Resolving conflict really does require negotiation and a new way of thinking.
A husband had battled his wife for years over her bad attitude and had reached his breaking point. Reading the newspaper one afternoon his wife came home and began complaining as she always had done. The first thing from her mouth was, “You won’t believe the day I’ve had!”
Quickly trying to defuse another volatile conversation he emphatically said, “Stop! There’s a new rule in this house. Unless you can say anything positive, don’t open your mouth!” The wife taken back by her husband’s new initiative changed the pitch of her voice immediately. Speaking softly with a fake cheery demeanor she said with excitement “then honey, you’ll be happy to know the air bags work!”
Herein lies the quandary of the marriage relationship. If disagreements arise often between a husband and wife and they do, why aren’t we better experts at resolving it after umpteen years of togetherness? I’d really like to answer that question but I can’t. My wife is reading this over my shoulder and if I told you my opinion, it may cause a conflict!