When Egos Clash
A complaint I often hear is, “We always fight over little things. Everything is an argument.” This is a matter of ego. Somewhere along the way, both husband and wife have decided that they know best and that they will have it “my way.” This gets nobody anywhere. Our own ego thinks that we are always right, that everyone around us should do things the way we say. Couples often begin to quarrel over trivial issues, which then escalates into a full-blown battle. If you actually stop them in the middle and ask,“What exactly are you fighting about?” neither can remember.This is not the way to live.We tend to spend so much time arguing or holding grudges that we forget to love each other.We forget to be thankful for what God has given us. One time when I was in Australia, I was sitting in the car on our way to a lecture programme and we happened to stop at a traffic signal.
Suddenly, even though all the car windows were closed,we could hear a great racket coming from the car next to us.Sitting in the back seat of a big car were two beautiful children, dressed in what looked like brand new clothes.The children were perfectly groomed, but they were trembling with fear and tears were rolling down their cheeks. In the front seat, Mom and Dad were screaming at each other so loudly that even we could hear the noise.There they were, in a beautiful car, with beautiful children, apparently in perfect health,and they were screaming. What for? Probably it’s some small issue.Perhaps he was mad that she took too long to get ready, and so they were fifteen minutes late.Perhaps she was mad that she had to force him to wear a tie, because he didn’t want to. Perhaps he was going to turn left at the previous signal, but she decided that the faster route was to go straight. It could have been any one of a million things, but I am sure that this was not the first time they were fighting like that. Can’t we control our egos long enough to take a deep breath and move on?
Must we really assert ourselves so forcefully at every opportunity? Aren’t we able to — for just a moment — step into the other person’s shoes? We have been given a finite amount of vital energy in our bodies, a finite number of hours each day, and a finite number of days in our lives.Why should we waste so much energy and time engaged in the battle of will? I once came across this wonderful quote: ‘There is no such thing as winning an argument with your wife. If you have ‘won’,then what exactly is it you’ve won? Her anger, her pain and her condemnation?’ We tend to work and assert ourselves in life for our own will — for that which we want to happen.However,instead of living and working for our own will,let us live and work for “well”— the wellbeing of others and the wellbeing of the planet.