June 2010 Entries
“You never listen to what I say,” Kari said forcefully to her husband, Derrick, during a recent counseling session. “I can’t do anything right,” Derrick quickly lamented, following her critical comment. “Everything I do is wrong. I’m sick of it. If I’m not the man she wants, why doesn’t she just get rid of me?” Kari, his wife of 15 years, rolled her eyes as Derrick complained of her treatment of him. After a moment, she decided to respond.
Every marriage has its ups and downs. That is to be expected. Some marriages, however, seem to have more than normal. Some relationships seem to have more times of crisis than peace and harmony. Why is there such tension, you wonder? During the worst of times, the tension is so thick you can cut it with a knife. You walk on eggshells, hoping not to make your spouse angry.
Many people write to me angry about the behavior of someone in their life. Their emails are filled with justifications for their right to be angry, hurt, and resentful. They offer a litany of abusive behaviors, which led them to the conclusion that they are the wounded party and have a right to either end the marriage or blame their mate for their misery.
Someone said that if we took the time to fully understand where another person was coming from—if we walked in their shoes for a mile—we wouldn’t be so critical of them. Knowing what they’ve been through, their life experiences, we’d understand why they think the way they do, feel what they feel, and make the choices they do.
I received a vivid lesson about fire and fuel one warm, summer day. Lying on our backs in the tall grass behind my house with a couple of buddies, stalks of dried grass hanging out of our mouths, we told stories and enjoyed ourselves. Life couldn’t have been sweeter.