Vail Daily column: And the greatest of these is love
May 17, 2012
Recently a friend of mine forwarded me a link that led me to read a very disturbing article. It was about the rise in domestic violence during trying economic times. And not just the challenging economy we find ourselves in today, this is a sad statistic that dates back many generations and covers many historical periods.
I guess I had heard this before but either chose to selectively ignored it or never really let it sink in to a deeper level. But this article bothered me, as it should have.
There is no doubt that the gap between the have’s and the have not’s continues to grow. And it is also important to recognize that there are still many people throughout our community, our great nation, and the world that have been unemployed for prolonged periods of time and are feeling the burdens and stresses more than most of us. But we should never ever allow this to become an excuse to hurt a spouse, child, or anyone.
Just as the best way to ward off temptation is to remove ourselves from the thing we are most tempted to do, or at least prepare ourselves in advance for how to deal with a temptation that is before us, I encourage you to do the same thing when facing those situations or areas of life that cause such stress that it may lead to acting out in a violent or hurtful way. Walk away, take a breather, seek counseling from a trained therapist, or friend. But remove yourself from the room or situation.
I am only permitted a certain number of words for this column each week so I cannot possibly list all of the songs or lyrics about love or biblical passages that reference love and that could possibly prescribe a part of the answer for any person who is dealing with domestic violence at any time, not just during tough economic times.
So if I could ask you to remember just one and to share it, live it, demonstrate it, and be it, it would be this one…”And the greatest of these is love.”
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It is easy for spouses to blame one or the other for the problems, and that can easily spill over into pointing the finger of blame at the children. You know how it sounds, “If I never married you, if we never had kids, if you didn’t spend so much, if you worked harder, if you had a better job” and the list goes on and on.
What if we thought and acted from our heart first and then changed the words that came out of our mouth to sound more like, “I am so glad I married you and that we have each other during these tough times, we have such beautiful children to remind us of our love for each other, maybe we can both watch our silly spending a little more so we can have more date nights together, I believe in you and know a new job or better job is in our future.”
William Schmidt was a blue collar worker, worked long hours, and came home many times with grease under his finger nails and oil and dirt stained coveralls. He worked through the great depression and rode out the many turbulent economies with his bride Dorothy. And each and every day when he came home, regardless of the day he had or the state of the nation or economy, he kissed her lovingly, sat down and talked with her, held her hand wherever they went, and opened her car door each and every time. He was tired, he was stressed at times, but first and foremost he was a husband, a father, and a grandfather. And I know this story to be true because he was my grandfather and I witnessed it all first hand.
“And the greatest of these is love.” Love first, love in the middle, and love last. If you are wrestling with this I ask you to please seek help and seek it fast. If you would like to share your story of love, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and please make it a better than good week.
Michael Norton is a strategic consultant, business and personal coach and motivational speaker, and CEO of http://www.candogo.com. He writes a weekly motivational column for the Vail Daily.