|You know someone who would like this on a coffee cup. You should get it for them.|
Obviously we know how this quote relates to religion, in particular Christianity. But it also relates to anyone who bullies another into silence in an argument. Being able to win an argument, something many people think is of paramount virtue, is not really winning if all you actually do is cause the other person to be silent.
When I was married to my first wife I didn’t realize how intimidating and overpowering my way of communicating was. I was from a loud, expressive and quick witted family, and didn’t have any experience to tell me there was anything negative about that. But my wife didn’t come from that same background. Her family’s way was soft, non-confrontational, non-argumentative. I liked that about her and I was under the impression that our marriage was successful because we didn’t argue like my parents had.
But I was mistaken. The reason we didn’t argue was because my wife was intimidated. I wasn’t a belligerent, abusive man. But I could be loud and defensive and I could argue until the cows came home. Combine that with her quiet style and other elements of her personality and upbringing and what actually happened was she simply became silent. Not converted, just silent. I wasn’t always like that, I have many cards still stashed away from her telling me how much she appreciated my listening and caring. But the truth is it doesn’t take much to intimidate, less than we are even aware of at times.
20 years after we got married we got divorced, in large part due to her having built up many, many years of silent resentment and regret. I know I have many of those same traits, and I am not apologizing for who I am but I have worked to be more discerning of when to be those things and when not to.
The goal for any of us who are like that is to have more control and more wisdom in knowing when we are trying to ‘convert’ rather than ‘converse’.
Drawing by Marty Coleman of The Napkin Dad Daily
Quote by Christopher Morley, 1890-1957, American Writer