Poems, Personal Stories, and Observations

Posts tagged ‘perspective’

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.”

Perspectives

So painful when we misunderstand each other.
Different ways of seeing things;
We grew up in different worlds.

I’d like to listen to your pain,
But it hurts too much
To add another pain to my own.

Education helps –
Exposed to different perspectives.
But can I keep my identity
And still cherish yours?

——————-

I used to think that
When we disagreed,
You didn’t love me.

——————–

Are you a liberal or conservative?
I’ve decided that I’m a libative.

——————

There is One who knows all our pain —
Yours and mine –
But do we know His?

Everybody’s Talking

Everybody’s talking,
Fighting all the time.
Think that their opinion
Is wise and so sublime.

Have their own perspective,
Think it’s the only way,
Can’t listen to another,
Must jump into the fray.

Can’t see the other viewpoint,
Don’t let others have their say.
Must always be the winner
Must always have their way.

They never ask another,
How do you see things?
How does your perspective
Fit all that’s happening?

We’ve got to learn to listen,
Each one of us has guilt.
Let’s use our ears more often,
Our lips have got to chill.

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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