The Possession Arrow
- Tuesday, 02 June 2009
A father has many roles and responsibilities. We provide for our family’s physical needs. We attend tea parties. We don the funny hats. Occasionally, we even change poopy diapers. A less obvious, but equally essential, role is as protector of the emotional harmony of our homes.
Life can be challenging and, let’s face it, raising kids is no easy task. Inevitably, it leads to stresses that can adversely affect our marital relationships. Our moods sour, our tempers flare. We lose perspective and may treat our spouses in less than loving ways.
It is an unfavorable path. When mother and father are at odds, the entire family suffers.
As fathers, we cannot allow anything to interfere with the solidity and closeness in our homes. Simply put, we need to keep it all together, always, no matter what.
One method that might work is to give our wives their way all the time. While my wife would surely approve the trial, I fear it would prove unsustainable. Good relationships require balance and equity. Winning at another’s expense does not work. Husbands and wives have to be a unified team, filled with common purpose, respect, and mutually recognized value.
Consider a tip that has helped me through some tough moments. I call it the possession arrow and it is a concept taken from college basketball. At a basketball game, the scorekeeper has an arrow that points, alternating from one team to the other. When there is a question as to which team should have the ball, the referee simply looks to determine the direction in which the arrow is pointing. If it is your turn, you get the ball. Next time, the other team gets the ball. And so it goes, back and forth, back and forth.
There is an innate fairness to the procedure.
Many of us feel that we are never wrong, particularly when arguing with our partners. The possession arrow can help prevent impasses. Whether you are right or wrong, you need to give in if it is your turn. Apologize. Tell your wife you love her and that you do not want to argue. Agree to try to do better. Let it go. Next time, it will be her turn.
This strategy helps me resolve conflicts in a healthier and less threatening manner. It provides a reminder to my wife and me that neither of us is perfect. It teaches us trust and allows us to quickly move from raised hackles to warm embraces.
When parents are happy and living with love, their children are also happy and live with love. If that is not a goal a father to shoot for, I cannot fathom what is.