Monday, August 11, 2008

Fighting While Holding Hands

A few years ago, while I was still in my Master's program - we were asked to give each of our classmates what we deemed to be the most important piece of advice we ever received. I'll never forget what Mike, a 45 year firefighter told the room full of people 20 years younger. We were all expected something centered on our careers. Instead, he simply stated "When you fight with the one you love - and trust me those fights will come - hold their hands."

After class, I cornered Mike and asked him to explain what he meant. He responded that when we was first married, he often let petty things build inside him until he blew up and his frustrations led to much larger fights with his wife. He said that he was 30 when he received the advice. "Now, if I am holding my wife's hands while we fight, I am forced to look into her eyes - and that causes me to consider her feelings, her thoughts - and I choose my words with great care."

Mike's advice has lingered in my mind for more than 3 years. Last night, I put it into practice. M and I were going for what was our first run in 2 months. I was tried, hot, and sore from my workouts on Saturday. To top of it all, I was cranky and itching for a fight. Half a mile into it, I blew up at M. The next half mile seemed much longer - maybe it was the uncomfortable silence, or my own tears. Either way at the 1 mile mark, I stopped....waited for M to catch up to me. And I look him dead in the eye. "Can we talk this out?" I asked.

For the next mile, we walked, talking, holding hands and sorting out our frustrations and issues. By the end of "run", we had worked things out. And Mike was right, holding M's hand while I talked - made me look at him - and I chose my words carefully for I was all too aware that what I said could not be taken back.

So, I am wondering readers, what is the best piece of relationship advice you've ever gotten?


dadivastreet said...

This is great advice. It will work well with the "Never go to bed angry" advice my parents gave me! Thank you!