Have you ever looked back at a fight you had just had with your husband or your wife, or your boyfriend or girlfriend and thought well, that was really stupid? Have you ever looked back at it and couldn’t even remember what had started it?
Don’t answer that. Of course you have. The truth is - most fights we have with our partners are over nothing. And yet, once the fight starts, it can be like wild fire, can’t it? Something triggers us, and off we go!
But what if we could catch ourselves at the very moment when that trigger is about to get activated and turn it off? Not take the bait, not swallow the hook?
Here is something that happened to a woman I know well.
I am changing her name for the purpose of privacy,
I am going to call her Susan.
Her story is today's Food for Thought.
Susan is an Aries. In the Western Astrology, people with their Sun sign in Aries are ruled by Mars, a warrior planet. Forgive me for simplifying the astrology. ( I too am an Aries, I love being an Aries, but it took me some serious work to quiet down the impulse to jump into battle at the slightest provocation.)
Susan knows that her knee-jerk response is to go to war at a drop of a hat.
And she also knows this is NOT her only option when it comes to resolving a conflict. She has been working at not fighting back diligently. Still, it's an effort, because to her, this doesn't come naturally.
One night, clearly by the grace of God, she had an astonishing experience.
Here is what happened.
Her husband Steve ( not his real name) was angry about something. And when Steve gets angry all hell breaks loose. Theirs was a happy but volatile marriage. Both of them were too quick to anger, too quick to fight back. Do you see the problem they had?
When they were having a fight… well, let’s just say it was really hard to stop it.
Now imagine them at home. The day is done, and now it is evening.
Steve is already in bed. Susan is still up, but in the bedroom as well. Suddenly Steve gets angry about something Susan did or said and begins to yell at her. He is furious, screaming, arms flying. You’d think the end of the world was coming and his wife was Enemy of the State.
And at this very moment, when normally Susan would jump right in, filled with indignation, angry at “unjust accusations” … something else happened to her instead.
Something that had never happened before.
She found herself 10 steps removed. Like watching a comedy act brilliantly performed right in front of her. It was simply good theatre, and it had nothing whatsoever to do with her.
And it was funny. So funny that she had to use all her will to keep herself from laughing out loud. (She didn’t want to hurt her husband’s feelings. She didn’t want him to think she was laughing at him.)
Well, as you can imagine, she could only hold it for so long and eventually she simply burst out laughing. Her husband fell silent as if stopped in his tracks. There was a flicker of confusion in his eyes. A pause.
Unable to stop, Susan kept on laughing, covering her mouth, whispering “I am sorry, I am so sorry, I am not laughing at you, it is just so funny… .”
And guess what happened next??!!
In the next second – they were both laughing! Looking at each other and laughing so hard. Rolling with laughter, tears in their eyes, in stitches, on the floor, then in each others arms, laughing, kissing, laughing some more… .
“I don’t know what came over me,” Steve was saying wiping his eyes, still laughing.”
“It doesn’t matter, it was too funny,” was all Susan could say.
And that was it. The storm had passed. They were happy again.
They turned off the lights, curled up in each other’s arms and fell asleep without another thought. They never talked about what had started the fight. What did it matter? The only thing that mattered was that they loved each other.