Charity should begin at home, but should not stay there. ~ Philip Brooks
You have not lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you. ~ Anonymous
A good laugh is sunshine in the house. ~ William Makepeace Thackeray
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I listened as they argued. They were obviously arguing over another couple. One of which she was a friend of the lady and he was a buddy of the guy. I smiled, because I remember having a similar disagreement with my wife.
As is with a lot of couples that become friends, the ladies relate to each other. I have heard ladies complain about their husbands many times. It’s not that they are trying to be disrespectful or cause ill feelings towards their spouse, it’s just that they find, in each other, a sympathetic ear that quite often shares their frustrations. Likewise, the gentlemen relate to each other. They share interests and can relate to each other as men. They too, love their spouses, and would never want to cause them any embarrassment or pain but, just as the ladies do, they find in their buddy a safe ear to speak of their frustrations.
Here’s the twisted part, folks. The couple expressing their issues are not the ones that end up in a confrontation. It’s the couple doing the sympathetic listening that ends up disagreeing. See if this seems familiar:
Her: “Shelly says Ben is being distant. She says he never expresses his emotions.”
Him: “Well, maybe Shelly is reading into things. If a man says everything is alright, maybe everything is alright!”
Her: “Sure, take Ben’s side. You men all stick together!”
Him: “It’s not about sticking together. It’s more about you women making drama out of nothing!”
And before you know it, there’s a fight over whether someone else’s relationship is in jeopardy. That’s right folks… you are disagreeing over another couple’s issues. I’ve seen similar incidents among groups of friends. Two in the group aren’t getting along while the remaining members choose sides according to whose point of view they relate to. I’ve even seen it in business, where two competitors draw a line in the sand and their clientele choose sides. So, how do we know who is right and who is wrong in these circumstances?
These were the thoughts running through my mind as I listened to this couple quarrel over someone else’s quarrel. I must have had a smile on my face or something,
because they noticed I was listening. It can sometimes put you in an uncomfortable situation when you get caught eavesdropping on someone else’s conversation, and this was certainly uncomfortable. I felt my face flush as they turned to me.
Him: “You’re a guy… tell her how stupid her girlfriend is being,” he demanded.
Her: “You mean how heartless and inconsiderate his buddy is,” she sneered.
I had to think quickly on my feet. I was nervously playing with some change in my pocket when, like a telegram from my Maker, Himself, I had the perfect message.
I pulled a nickel out of my pocket and held it on edge under my finger on the table between them. I turned to the gentleman, “From your side of the coin, what do you see?” I asked.
“It’s a beaver,” he answered, looking at me strangely.
I turned to the lady and asked, “From your side of the coin, what do you see?”
“It’s the Queen,” she answered.
“You are both looking at the same coin, agreed?” They both nodded their heads. “Yet, despite the fact that you are both looking at the same coin, and agree it’s the same coin, you view it differently in the moment. I suspect that both of you are right, and both of you are wrong. If I turn the coin around, where you sir, had previously seen a beaver, you would see the Queen. Likewise, your lovely lady here would see a beaver instead of the Queen. Just as there are three sides to this coin: beaver, Queen, and the edge, there are always three sides to a story. The two opposing versions and reality.”
“That’s true, I guess. I only know what Ben told me. I never even talked to Shelly,” the gentleman admitted.
“I’m just as much to blame. I’ve only heard Shelly’s side,” the lady offered. They apologized to each other and thanked me for my wisdom. (Chuckle… imagine me… wise!)
I left with two thoughts on my mind. “Dang I’m good. I don’t know where I pulled that from but, dang, I’m good.” The second thought was, “I really have to get better at being inconspicuous when I’m eavesdropping.”