We don't do it with outsiders. We do it - and do it again and again - with our own spouses. In our relationships ... the most significant area of our life.
We know, where the shoe hurts our partners the most. Because, we have come so close to each other. No one else knows the place, no one else knows what would make us break down - cry, depressed, go crazy, even angry and violent ... except our partners. And, when we shouldn't do it - we do it. We say something, do something - which we know our partners cannot handle, towards which they are vulnerable - and hurt them. We know where it hurts the most for him, or her, and cause that hurt.
Today, this simple thought came to me:
Do I know these areas where my wife gets hurt the most?
Do I hurt her, consciously, again and again ... by those words and actions?
Do I sincerely apologise when I hurt her?
Do I make my promise - to be more careful and caring next time?
How important is our relationship to me, its quality?
Which are those areas I am too vulnerable for hurt?
Have I - in a very defenceless state - let my spouse know about them?
Have I 'expressed my deep need' not to be get hurt?
Then this thought came:
Not to cause hurt to my partner, is within my powers. Apologising to her when I do, and making a sincere new promise - these, too, are within my powers. But, what about the hurts my partner may cause me, over and over again?
Well, I still have the choice, there. I would like to borrow from Dr. Stephen Covey from his famous "Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People/Families".
The first habit is the most crucial. 'Be Proactive'. Be in charge of your own well-being. The rest of the habits are linked to this one.
The second habit: 'Begin with the end in mind'. In my case, the end - the goal - is the quality of my relationship with my spouse. I should decide, keep the vision before my mind.
The third habit: 'First seek to understand, and then to be understood'.
O God! This one is the most challenging!
Seek to understand when my partner 'hits' me where she knows hurts the most?
Yes. I am convinced, after all these years: that is the only way.
And, the only hope.