In our many meetings with married men over the years, we discovered a pattern that contributes more to the destruction of a marriage than we realize. It’s called bickering, characterized by nasty digs, one-ups and put-downs delivered in a tone of voice suggesting that the one delivering them is far superior to the one receiving them and expects the latter to acknowledge that fact while on their knees. It begins in the early stages of a relationship with seemingly good-natured little references to what might be called a fault.
Repeated often enough, they become a fault-in-fact and get added to the collection and are soon delivered with gusto. It becomes a competition determining who can make the opponent feel worse, never mind who is right and who is wrong. Sad, because so many couples have failed to realize that all they have to do is STOP, agree to trade all that in on a hug and a smile, and a resolve to put the respect
back into the relationship.
Henri Nouwen has a great way of describing relationships. When two people first meet, one usually reveals something about herself/himself and puts it in the space between, to encourage the other to do the same; this exchange continues, back and forth, until the space between becomes filled with the two qualities that make for a strong relationship, respect and trust. Respect for one another, trust in one another.
That’s the kind of relationship that exists in our caregiving program. When we first meet with someone going through one of life’s trials, we establish that respect and trust by agreeing to talk openly, honestly and completely, assured that whatever is revealed remains in the space between the two of us. Of course, we hope the Creator has been listening in, too, and makes His presence known.
One of the virtues of sculpting is that you can be thinking of something else while your hands are busy creating something that will be cherished for a lifetime. My something else is usually someone else’s problem.