Sunday, January 2, 2011

Meeting on Common Ground


We sleep in a queen-size bed. Given that we've been married for twelve years, I know this is not a shock to anyone. Buttercup is transitioning out of the queen-sized bed. That might be somewhat more of a shock, but we keep a family-bed concept going for the first couple of years and then move them to their own space (or more likely, space that they enjoy sharing with a sibling.) Most nights, the queen-size bed is fairly comfortable for the three of us: all have enough room and covers; we're cozy and warm without being crowded.
In Buttercup's case, she usually kicks her covers off and freezes me out in the process. That's part of the reason she sleeps on one side.

The other night though, I annoyed Jeff a bit, as married folks do at times. The cause of what annoyed him is not the point of this post. The aftereffect of our late-night discussion is the point. One of the things we decided early on in our marriage was to follow the adage of not going to bed angry - or really even in disharmony with one another over an issue. Accordingly, we came to a more agreeable state before looking to sleep at around 4 a.m. (we didn't get into the discussion until 3 so it didn't keep us up too much later than we might have been anyway.) But as I laid back down, I noticed that while our queen-sized bed normally feels cozy, on this occasion, we were both just far enough away from one another to create a gap in the covers, and a cold one at that. All of a sudden, the bed was downright roomy but not in a comfortable way!

THAT is the point of this post:

a minor annoyance can put a mountainous wedge between two people, even when they love one another.

What a problem that wedge can be when we haven't predetermined how we'll deal with it! Just as a metal wedge is used to split huge logs, a mental wedge can split apart friendships, marriages, sibling relationships, business partnerships... One of the things I strive to teach the boys (and later Buttercup will be included) is that it is not only what we say and do to another person that can make the difference in how things turn out, but also even our overall attitude about that person or situation. If I take the attitude that my position is the "right" position, no matter what, then in the end, I am bound to loose, "no matter what" because my attitude will become an invisible wedge in the situation.

If I open my mind to what the other person is saying and really try to hear that person, I am more open to the possibility of reconciliation. In the end the relationship may not work out or be what is best, regardless of my position on things, but it is important to at least make that effort to understand where the other person is coming from, and where I may be wrong in my own standing.

As an aside for my children and their future spouses: overcoming your pride and recognizing that you may be W-R-O-N-G can help insure that you have very few nights with cold feet and a gap in the covers!

In other words: learn to listen, learn to let go of your pride, learn to say "I'm sorry." Finally, never go to bed annoyed with one another - at least try to talk it out and come to a middle ground on which to continue later.

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4 comments:

  1. Four AM ... I'm almost out of bed by then!

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  2. yeah it was late. I didn't sleep any more after that - had too many ideas on what I wanted to get done! Oh well - it ended up being a VERY productive day!

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  3. Hey Melissa! Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving your comment! I appreciate it! :o) I love your blog link that you posted- you make a great point! :o)

    Gretchen @ The Proverbs Thirty-HUH?! Woman
    proverbsthirtyhuh.blogspot.com

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  4. There is great wisdom in this post! We have the same rule of not going to bed angry. What a great word picture too. Thanks so much for sharing! :)

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I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

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