The monks at a remote monastery deep in the woods followed a rigid vow of silence. Their vow could only be broken once a year—on Christmas—by one monk. That monk could speak only one sentence.
One Christmas, Brother Thomas had his turn to speak and said, "I love the delightful mashed potatoes we have every year with the Christmas roast!" Then he sat down.
Silence ensued for 365 days.
The next Christmas, Brother Michael got his turn and said, "I think the mashed potatoes are lumpy, and I truly despise them!"
Once again, silence ensued for 365 days.
The following Christmas, Brother Paul rose and said, "I am fed up with this constant bickering!"
The absurdity cuts to a truth: some couples can carry on a conflict that last nearly as long.
In our book Love Talk, we devote an entire chapter to “When Not to Talk.” It may seem a bit unorthodox that in a communication book we are telling our readers to stop talking but let’s be honest, some conversations simply don’t need to take place. They waste our time.
If you’ve been telling your wife for three years to clean her hair out of the shower drain and she’s still not doing do it, or you’ve been arguing for four summers about whether or not to buy an expensive barbecue grill, it might be time to take a permanent break from the conversation.
At some point you’ve got to realize that talking is not going to provide the solution.
"Marriage is one long conversation, chequered by disputes." --Robert Louis Stevenson
The point is that if your conversations are getting you nowhere, you need to give it a rest and reclaim the time you’ve been wasting on them. Of course, in some cases, there are actions you can take that do speak louder than words.
If you’ve asked, cajoled, threatened, and harassed your wife about cleaning her hair out of the shower drain when she is through showering, and she keeps promising to do so but never does, you have some options:
A) You could decide to clean the drain for her and say no more about it.
B) You could leave it there and say nothing.
C) Or you could take the hair and place it on the vanity next to the bathroom sink.
This last option is for those with a mean streak (we don’t recommend it). The only option not available to you is to keep taking about it.
The bottom line is that you need to give up the conversations you keep having over and over and over. They will grind both of you down and steal precious time from talks that could be much more meaningful.
This post was written by Drs Les and Leslie Parrott. For more information, go to their website: http://www.lesandleslie.com