Christian, my beloved husband, and I have had countless arguments in our four years of marriage, but one of the running disagreements we have comes down to a philosophical difference.
His line of thinking is that you should simply treat others in the way that you want to be treated. Sure. The Golden Rule.
Do unto others as you would have them do to you.
Christian operates on a strict black and white framework. If he isn’t supposed to say it, neither is the other person. This is because he has contract-like beliefs about behavior and interpersonal skills–if someone expects him to say sorry, then that person had better be ready to say sorry too. This makes sense.
But what about when he wants undivided attention during a conversation (no texting, no emailing, etc.) and undivided attention isn’t as important to me as meaningfully responding in said conversation? So if Christian wanted to scroll through the news or check the weather while listening to me deliberate on whether to rearrange the living room again or one of the kids’ rooms and then actually say something meaningful (more than “sure, sounds good,” or “yeah”), that’d be okay with me. I tell him to feel free to check his mail or do something else because I know I’ll be jabbering away and he’s got something he wants to peak at for a second. As long as he can stay connected to the conversation, that’s fine with me.
Not for him.
And what about when what he wants and what I want aren’t the same and the doing unto the other how you would want them to do unto you breaks down?
Don’t get me wrong. Most of the time I think that the Golden Rule is a pretty solid one. But what I’ve discovered is that my philosophy is more in line with another rule, the Platinum Rule. Though not a sage on par with the greatest philosopher, the coiner of this rule, Tony Alessandra, gives a spin to another rule, something of the opposite to the Golden Rule.
Do unto others as they would like done to them.
I argue that when two people are talking, they should be mindful of what sets the other person off and what will be easiest for the other person to hear and respond to. I advocate choosing words based on what the other person needs to hear as opposed to what I want to hear, unless, of course, they turn out to be the same thing. I am continually saying to him that I don’t care if he does X, Y, or Z because those things don’t bother me. He persists though. Everything has to be equal and everything has to be done unto the other as the other would want done unto them. (What a great passive voice sentence!)
And I’m not saying that my philosophy is better than his. We are two humans on the path of life together, doing life together and learning how to communicate. I only think that if we could strike a good balance, perhaps a little Golden and a little Platinum together, we could shorten some of our arguments and definitely cut out a lot of the crazy, mindless tangential spin offs that whirl up from out of nowhere.
And when all is said and done, even though I believe in doing to others what they’d like done to them, I don’t have a very great record of that going yet. So I’ll get working on that!
And thank goodness for the fact that Christian is willing to listen to all my ramblings! (Whether it’s because expects me to listen to his or because he knows I want him to listen to mine doesn’t matter to me!)