Tuck has chosen to excavate the basement surrounding the steam-leaking heat pipe rather than dig up the Italian tiles of our kitchen floor above -- as our plumbers had advised -- to fix the ailing heating system.
"As with many things, the advice seems deceptively simple: Be kind," was the bottom line at the recent Evolution of Psychotherapy Conference [via Arts & Letters Daily], something we would never attend, especially after we googled the philosophy of the keynote speaker, the disagreeably all-about-me Patch Adams. Yet there was much there that made sense:
The relatively young science of psychotherapy -- 120 years old -- has spent much of its time focusing on just one person in a couple, thinking that curing that person's neuroses would automatically improve the marriage, Zeig says. Not until recently have researchers begun focusing on what successful couples do to foster enduring marriages.
Q: What's the most common problem for couples in jeopardy?
A: Often it's a struggle to be right, and couples will sacrifice being effective in order to be right.
As he excavates the site around the offending heating-system pipes, Tuck decants the soil into big old, mostly joint-compound and driveway-sealer blacktop containers and then wheelbarrows them out to the west forty.
More from the "Evolution of Psychotherapy Conference:
Q: What are things people do that doom marriage?
A: Criticism. Any generalization that begins with, 'You never,' or, 'You always.' Criticism is a communication stopper. Using contempt. Calling your partner names. Incessant defensiveness and not being willing to listen to your partner's position. And the most damning is sullen silence. It's just deadly.
Undistracted by his Grandma's and Grandpa's obsessions, Baby is transfixed by a black-and-white puddy atop the fence that runs along the retaining wall out back.
"Be kind" is the bottom line. It works miracles. So simple you'd hardly ever think of it, but try it, early and often.