Daily Gospel Chat | Jan 7 | Soft Answer

A soft answer turneth away wrath… -Proverbs 15:1


Their marriage had been going badly. Quarrels and recriminations. Criticisms and complaints. Then one evening when he came home, the husband sat down near his wife with a pad and pencil. Looking at her speculatively from time to time, he began to write.


"What are you doing?" she finally asked him.


"Writing a list of your good qualities," he said.


"Good qualities?" she echoed incredulously. "I didn't know you thought I had any!"


"Well, you do," he said and went on writing. Pretty soon, being human, she asked to see them. He demurred but finally yielded. She read what he had written with amazement and pleasure. "Why," she said, "I had no idea that anything about me pleased you anymore."


"Lots of things do," he said cheerfully. "A few don't." "Well," she said, "maybe you'd better list those, too."


"I will," he said, "if you'll do the same for me." The result was that both got their grievances out in the open in such a calm and amicable way that they were able to resolve quite a few of them. How do I know about this?


Because I was the one who had reminded the husband that the desire for appreciation is one of the deepest of all human cravings. If he would make a deliberate effort, I told him, to satisfy that craving in his wife, things might improve dramatically in their marriage. And they did.


I'll have to confess that the method he used was all his own. Not a bad technique, is it? Wouldn't it help almost any marriage occasionally? Even yours?


Father, give us the insight to see the good qualities in other people and the wisdom to tell them. -Norman Vincent Peale



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