Every few weeks I talk on the phone with my friend, Marion Anderson.
She’s also wise beyond her considerable years.
Me, I’m just wise enough to ask her advice. On marriage, for example.
“Don’t sweat the little things,” is one of her favorite adages.
From the perspective of husband Johnny gone on to glory several years ago, she tells me to treasure every moment I’m given with Sharon.
And to avoid tripping over things that don’t matter.
Like having to be right all the time.
So let’s say I drop off our Ford SUV at the auto mechanic at 8am on a Monday morning and ask Sharon to swing by and get me.
At 8:30am, however, I’m still stranded at the garage, now having dialed her phone about 15 times.
Finally she picks up. “Ohhh. I thought you said Tuesday,” she protests.
But I know I said “today.” I’m out of town Tuesday — doesn’t she remember that?
There’s no doubt, I’m right about this . . . as usual!
* * *
According to Marion Anderson, there’s a different way I should respond.
I should think to myself that in the long view, my time with Sharon is limited. We won’t be together forever, and it’s this “forever” perspective that should melt the edge of my steel pride.
So at 8:40am when I climb into Sharon’s car a little miffed, I ought to say with a smile on my face, “Forget about your husband? Old age creeping in?”
And when she says, “I heard ‘Tuesday,'” I ought to reply with, “Yeah, I might have said ‘Tuesday’ but I meant Monday. You’re supposed to read my mind.”
And maybe Sharon laughs at my lame attempt at humor (or maybe not) and gives me a little kiss (one hopes), while acknowledging the misunderstanding.
* * *
Checklist of one item for resolving disputes with spouse (or co-worker or friend, etc.): To what extent is this argument about my need to be right?