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.