"I'm dropping my shirts off at the drycleaners," my husband, Tom, said as we were leaving for town. He had five or six shirts crumpled up in his arms that needed a good wash and a stiff starch.
"Don't forget to bring in your wallet, because they charge you when you drop off your stuff," I replied, happy that I wouldn't be washing those shirts myself.
"No they don't. They don't charge you until you pick them up." He looked at me like I didn't know what I was talking about.
"Yes, they do. They do charge you at drop off." I argued. "Otherwise, they'd do the work and people wouldn't come in and get their clothes and they'd be out the money."
"I've never been charged until I pick up my shirts. I've done this for years."
We went around a few more times, each of us convinced we were right.
Finally, I smiled and shrugged at him, "OK." I realized it wasn't worth arguing over something he would soon find out for himself.
And he did. They charged him at drop off.
I didn't even have to say anything about it when he got back into the car.
"Where should we eat?" I asked instead.
I don't know how things go down at your house, but sometimes my husband and I argue over the most insignificant things. Silly stuff.
- How far it is to College Station.
- Who was the last person to use the jam (and forgot to put it away).
- How long I was in labor.
- Was it a green shirt or a blue shirt I was wearing that night?
- How much we paid for something.
- What we ate last time we were at this restaurant.
And right when tensions are getting really high and each of us really wants to be the one who is RIGHT, somebody will pull out a phrase borrowed from Tom's grandpa, "Well, make a liar out of me for a dollar." Or a mile, or an hour, or when you get charged for shirts.
It's a funny way to diffuse those tensions that escalate over the things that don't really matter. A reminder that, for the detail of a dollar or an hour or an enchilada, it isn't worth making the other person a liar. It works everytime.
Today's Small Thing is to diffuse a disagreement or soften a tense situation. Instead of getting caught up in being "right," let your goal be "peace."
There are many ways you can stop an argument in its tracks. You can use humor, a soft answer, a change of subject, or simple refusal to get drawn in. You can choose to agree to disagree, or you can acquiesce to the other. Will it kill you, when you know you are right, to let the other person have the last word? Of course not. What would be the worst that could happen if you shrugged and said, "You're probably right. Let's not argue about it?"
Of course, there are situations when standing your ground is important - life decisions, moral situations, buying a boat.....but even then, it is important to remember that "a soft answer turns away wrath,"(Prov. 15:1) and that prayer and time may be a woman's greatest assets.
If you don't have an opportunity to argue or get into a tussle today, I'll give you through Friday to work something up. Wait, that sounds like you're looking for a fight....THAT'S not what I meant. I just meant you have until Friday to implement some diffusion. :)
Please share! What's YOUR favorite diffusion tactic? Have you had a situation where a soft answer has made all the difference?