Walking on Fresh Grass
“I just don’t think we should!”
“Well I do!”
I have a bit of a temper. And no, It’s not because I’m a redhead or have a Scottish heritage. It’s just me. Actually, I have grown quite fond of my temper. It’s a great match for Christian’s hot-blooded European personality. Things can get a bit explosive at times. Like during an argument.
“And that’s another thing, you always get your way.” Christian sparred.
Argue, argue argue…
“And that’s another thing, you don’t understand me.” I retorted and went and hid myself in our room.
I suddenly felt a warm hand on my shoulder.
“And that’s another thing!” Christian yelled “I still love you very much!”
That was it. That was what I needed. The tight hand I had clenched around my opinions lost its debilitating hold.
As we walked along the beach a few days later, I was thinking about this argument. The pristine, beautiful Australian beach is Christian’s place of solace and healing. He goes there often to fling his stress into the waves. This time we both needed the winds and waves to heal some wounds. The tempestuous ocean reminded me of our heated interchange.
We had been arguing over something very insignificant in the
grand scheme. Christian thought we should get solar panels on our roof (a no-brainer if you live in Australia’s sunshine state). I thought we shouldn’t (a no-brainer if your house was on the market).
What resolved the argument? Heart and humour.
On later reflection, I knew it was a technique that Christian talks about in his book about arguing in relationships, but at that moment, I knew he wasn’t using something from a bag of tricks. It was straight from his heart. He had overcome his own fervour to connect with me again: a touch on the shoulder from the heart and a ridiculously loving comment in the middle of an argument.
Those words still bring a smile to my face.
Helpful humour stops you saying things you will regret or stops you letting your feelings run away with you. Helpful humour ideas:
Is this gonna be a short or a long argument?
Should I make a cup of coffee or can we fight over dinner?
Sorry, I just never noticed that beautiful freckle on your nose
Can I phone a friend before I answer that?
Just don’t use humour to avoid the issue or hide your feelings.
Christian sometimes falls into this trap. I fall into the trap of hiding my feelings all together. Neither is healthy.
Using heart and humour is part of healthy arguing. It keeps emotions and reasoning working together.
But it’s not easy. You have to swallow your pride. I’m not good at humour. Touch is easier for me. But even that's not easy in a heated moment. I need to make it a wilful act of love.
After our walk and talk on the long, lovely stretch of golden sand, we just stared at the vast Pacific Ocean. We hadn’t actually solved anything or decided about solar panels, but we had gained perspective.
I still have sand in my pockets from that day. Hurtful words are like the grits of salty sand that get in your eyes: stinging and aching until they are washed out. Heart and humour ease the pain and keep you in relationship.
We haven’t resolved anything, but we're now talking about what we were really arguing about: the problem underneath our words …
TBC in 2 weeks
“Handling problems with heart and humour” is one of the 5 Steps to keeping it together and keeping it great in Your Relationship is your Greatest Asset.
Welcome to our blog. Each blog contains a little story of our journey and an insight drawn from Christian's 18 years of clinical experience as a psychiatrist. The central ideas are in bold. We post every fortnight and would love to hear your comments. Looking forward to travelling with you in this amazing journey called life.