My friend M called. She's having a discouraging time of it, and I got the chance to be the encourager. That's the nice thing about having friends. We swap roles regularly. I cry on her shoulder and she says the right things. She calls with her aggravations and I am the comforter. What do people do without friends?
She was aggravated at her husband. They'd discussed a situation, and then when it came right down to brass tacks, she stuck to the plan and her husband bailed, leaving her to defend their decision by herself. She was not happy.
These two are well suited and they have been married a long time. The marriage is not in jeopardy. This is just one of those rough spots that happen in every marriage. A good friend recognizes that and does not make the situation worse. I wouldn't dream of making D look any worse than he does. I would not dream of turning her against him. I love them both dearly, and cannot imagine one of them without the other. My job is to comfort my friend. The argument was already on its way to becoming one of those bygones that you let be bygones. Her husband felt bad, and apologized. She, however, was still feeling hurt and betrayed. She felt bad because she had lost all patience with D.
I recognized that humor was called for here. I pointed out that D was merely man, and was subject to the brain farts that affect all men, bless them, especially in times of great emotion. I shared with her the time that Tim and I had a great conflict early in our marriage. I try very hard to be a reasonable person. So I sat down with him on the couch, and I began to put forth my thoughts on it in a very reasonable, logical way. And he listened intently. Emboldened, I went on. He never took his eyes from my face. I felt so much better. I felt like he was hearing what I had to say. I felt validated. Like I mattered to him. Finally, I ran out of words and stopped. He continued to stare at me. Finally, he blinked a couple times. like a man coming out of a coma. And he said, "You know what I was thinking?" I eagarly waited to hear his thoughts on the subject. Tim said, "I was thinking about fox hunting...." The rest was lost in my frustrated shriek. "Mary," I said, "I would not waste a lot of time feeling bad about losing your patience and yelling. It's easier to resolve the situation once you get his attention."