Poems, Personal Stories, and Observations

Posts tagged ‘conflict’

Blueberries and Junk Piles

“… most marital arguments cannot be resolved.”
How about that for a startling statement?  Read on …

Now that my husband is retired, we have more “opportunities” to learn about each other’s perspectives.

Many years ago, I did learn that certain of my husband’s behaviors were not deliberate attempts to hurt me, though they often felt like it.  Now I am learning that we truly do see things differently, which is why we often have (usually settled amicably) conflicts.

Take the case of the blueberries.

One day we were beginning our breakfast routine, and Tom said he was going to put some frozen blueberries in his bowl.  I said, rather harshly, “Please eat the fresh blueberries first.”  A little while later, he asked me, “Why was it so important that I eat the fresh blueberries?  I like the frozen ones, because then the milk (or half and half) I pour on them freezes a little and it reminds me of ice cream.”

So I had to explain that I hate for food to be wasted, and I wanted the fresh berries used up before they became rotten.  Why didn’t I explain that, instead of being harsh with him?  Maybe I assumed he would have the same perspective I have, namely, the need to not be wasteful.  But he was seeing blueberries in a whole different way.

Then there’s the case of the junk pile, or piles.

I came home and noticed that my husband had kindly put out the trash bins on the street in anticipation of the following day’s trash collection.  When we went for a walk the next morning, he mentioned that he had started breaking up some items in the side yard, to “clear up more junk,” and had put them in the trash collection.  I said, “What exactly did you you put in?”  He named some items, and I said, “Wait a minute, I was going to give those to Goodwill or freecycle.org.”  “But I’m trying to clear up junk like we agreed to, and it was in the junk pile.”  “But,” I said, “the junk pile is in [area A], not the area you were clearing.”  He replied, “I thought the junk area was the whole side yard, and those items have been there for months.”

Well, besides us never having explicitly defined the actual junk pile area, and me leaving items out for a long time (because I needed to clean them before giving them away and I had procrastinated on that task), I realized that we needed to have a lot more communication.  “Why,” I asked, if he wasn’t sure about throwing something out, “did you not ask me?” “Because you weren’t home and I wanted to get the task done.”  Anyway, I thanked him for his effort and rushed home, but the trash collector had already come.  [By the way, afterwards I did clean up some remaining items and most have been given away successfully.]

So my point is that many disagreements have to do with misunderstandings and assumptions.  They aren’t necessarily examples of people being mean to each other.  Perhaps my husband and I have not talked enough about our perspectives, priorities, and what values are important to us (in this case, my value of frugality or not being wasteful).

In the book “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work”, by John M. Gottman and Nan Silver (Harmony Books – 2015), on page 28 the authors state, “… most marital arguments cannot be resolved.  Couples spend year after year trying to change each other’s mind — but it can’t be done.  This is because most of their disagreements are rooted in fundamental differences of lifestyle, personality, or values.  By fighting over these differences, all they succeed in doing is wasting their time and harming their marriage.”

The Fates of War

I was once your enemy;
The fates of war
Placed us on opp’site sides —
We had our pride.

We had a cause,
We gave not pause –
Our cause was just –
To fight we must.

Sure those in power
Were not always right,
But many focused
For loved ones to fight.

The many fallen,
The dead, the suffering,
The broken hearts,
The shrapnel puncturing …

The refugees,
The enemy aliens,
The lost, the forgotten;
The orphans taken in.

And then it ends;
We pick up the pieces.
We must forgive,
Or hatred increases.

In the end, the good will win,
Despite our many, varied sins.
And in every conflict, however grave,
If we want the same, we must forgive.

(Memorial Day, 2016)

Misinterpretation

MISINTERPRETATION

Misinterpretation
When acted upon
Is flirtation
With misunderstanding,
Grudges, unnecessary conflict

Lack of guidance
Or true teaching
Brings reliance
On distorted facts –
Our mind has a lack

The ache of non-acceptance —
Too young —
Grows seeds of diseases
Of the mind, heart
And soul – perhaps body too

Only God’s light
Can set things right

Surrounded by Saints

Imperfect people,
Conflicts abound,
Striving for light –
In Christ, heaven bound.

Difference of viewpoint,
Don’t always agree,
But somewhere in heaven,
We’ll all be free.

And I’m
Surrounded by saints.
In God’s eyes, so great –
I’m surrounded by saints.

They don’t shout the good things
That they have done,
Humbly continuing
God’s work, ‘til it’s done.

And I’m
Surrounded by saints.
In God’s eyes, so great –
I’m surrounded by saints.

Yes, I get angry,
I get in a funk –
Don’t like what they’re saying
‘Cause I’m selfishly stuck.

But I’m
Surrounded by saints.
In God’s eyes, so great –
I’m surrounded by saints.

So, Lord, make me humble,
Please melt my hard heart.
And teach me to trust You
To do my own part.

‘Cause I’m
Surrounded by saints
Made whole by Your grace –
I’m surrounded by saints.

Sweet Sleep

Come sweet sleep, awareness take;
Let heavy eyelids close their gates.
Let all my cares be put to bed —
Tomorrow they’ll be there instead.

Snores and sighs and murmurings;
Tossings, turnings, vivid dreams —
Let the shade of sleep be drawn
Until another day’s new dawn.

Where goes my soul when I do dream?
Unconscious in a sense I seem,
Yet living in another land
Of fantasies and fleeting scenes.

While in it’s slumber, mind does mend
The conflicts that my heart do rend,
And somehow then when I awake
A fresh perspective do I take.

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