Friday, April 30, 2010

Ducking the Punches

So I was listening to NPR the other day, and as usual, heard something awesome. It was this lady, Laura Munson, talking about her book called "This Is Not The Story You Think It Is: A Season of Unlikely Happiness”. At first, it sounded like your typical self-help, relationship advice, claiming your life kind of book. Which I'm totally going to admit that I'm a sucker for. I'm constantly self-helping. Not because I really need help, just because I'm always trying to be bigger and better. I see my potential and I want to reach it, dammit!

Anyway, so this book. She talks, she is empowered, she saves her marrigae, it all sounds great. I haven't read the book and only heard pieces of her talk on NPR, but I found an awesome (and short) article that she wrote that covers the gist of her book.

In it she tells of how her husband came to her one day and said, “I don’t love you anymore” and wanted to leave her and their children. Following some crazy zen path, she said “I don’t buy it” and in effect waited him out. Eventually he came around and they have continued to be happily married since. Part of her philosophy is to not take things personally – and even when her husband told her he didn’t love her anymore, she worked to not take it personally. As she describes, he threw a emotional punch at her and instead of making it a fight, she just ducked.

This amazes and baffles me. Its amazing because I totally see the logic behind it and understand how not taking things personally means you can actually work through the issue at hand. It takes a lot of the emotional warfare out between two people and gets to the nitty gritty of whats going on. But it baffles me because I can’t imagine being able to do that! She must be a zen master!

As I said earlier, I’m a sucker for books like this, and this is an area that the mister and I could definitely work on. We come from families who address conflict very differently. I’m a soft Minnesotan who grew up in a soft spoken family where we didn’t argue and never raised our voices. His family is constantly raising voices across the dinner table over whatever hot topic they can find. We’ve worked on reconciling these two styles and have made lots of progress, but the arguing is an art form that we are still learning. We haven’t learned to duck each other’s punches yet and still seem to walk straight into them!

But luckily we have lots of time to learn and even if we get into nasty fights we always come back together stronger and better than before.


  1. Oh, I remember that article! Thanks for reminding me to put this book on my library hold list.

  2. I too dig the self-help stuff- if I can better understand myself and others, it makes me feel harmonious and happy. And who doesn't want that?! Especially when it comes to conflict, we're so jaded by hurt feelings that we forget to look at the real issues.

    This sounds like a really awesome book. Thank you!

  3. Isn't that amazing. I had to read that article a few times to make sense of it.
    I've put the book on hold at the library and I'm looking forward to reading the whole thing.
    Likewise, I just read Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough by Lori Gottlieb, which was a book out of this article.

    I was really interested in what she had to say, and even though I'm about to be married (8 days!) to a wonderful man, it was interesting to read and to take away the lessons from women who are married. All focused on finding the perfect partner- someone who would make a good spouse and father. Might not have all the qualities they were looking for, but what is 100% perfect. It did get slightly repetitive and it was frustrating to see Lori keep making the same mistakes, but overall, an interesting read. I plan on blogging out it soon.

    Also: Committed and Tara Parker Pope of the NYT is coming out with a new book about marriage! It's everywhere!

  4. Holy crap that is a crazy story. Hearing words like that would leave me so heart broken. I'm glad that they were able to work things out. I just don't think in a lot of cases things would be resolved like that because one or both partners would check out.