How To Be Reconciled: Finding common ground

My husband and I are soul mates.  We’re best friends.

And from time to time, we fight.  Because we’re human.  And because sometimes we just feel like we’re right and the other person’s blatantly wrong and unconscionably inconsiderate.  I’m sure you know the feeling.

In one of our recent arguments, I found myself trying to get him to see my point.  And my point was that he was being selfish. And I was not going to rest until he saw the crystal clarity of my logic and admitted his thoughtless error.  I think his point was the same, but in his mind I was the transgressor.  I honestly don’t remember the context of the argument, which just goes to show how important it was.  But it seemed pretty important at the time.  So important, in fact, that I was refusing to give an inch.

In the middle of the argument, I remembered a technique for reconciliation that we had learned on a meditation retreat.  And the premise was simple: tell the person you with whom you are arguing three things you appreciate about them.

But wait, I thought, if I tell this man that he is generous and thoughtful and kind (which he is!), then what happens to my core argument that he is being selfish? That is the very grounds for my argument.  And if I tell him he is generous and thoughtful and kind — well then — I lose my precious ground.  It just disintegrates under my feet!

And so? What is so precious about that ground? It’s a pretty nasty place to be standing: a harsh and unforgiving landscape.  Arid and punishing. And lonely to boot.

Wouldn’t it be better to step off that righteous little piece of territory and find the broader common ground where love blossoms?

When I thought of it that way, the choice was clear. Give up my ground and meet my husband in the fertile field in which we can plant seeds of understanding and compassion.

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