From Christ in the Home, Fr. Raoul Plus, S.J., 1950’s

Just as bickering, sulking, and domineering opposition should be avoided by husbands and wives, so free and friendly discussions should be encouraged as an aid to bind their souls in a closer union.

Strife and rivalry motivated by self-love is one thing, but sane and cordial disagreement or exchange of ideas is quite another.

It is from the clash of ideas that light shines forth. And also warmth.

Writing to a young married couple, Bishop Dupanloup said to them: “You were both astonished the first time I recommended argument to you–friendly argument–and still more astonished when I answered your statement, “we shall never argue,” with the comment “So much the worse for you!”

“The truth is that in a society so intimate, so constant as marriage, if you do not feel free to discuss and even to engage in friendly argument, it is evidence of constraint between you; there is something which is preventing the free expansion of your souls.

“These little disagreements founded primarily on the affectionate observation of your mutual failings will not alter the peace of your home in the least; on the contrary, I believe that they will establish in it a more profound peace and more intimate union, because they will assure both of you of your reciprocal confidence.”

Actually, as it is easy to see, the bishop was advising his spiritual children not so much to argue as to discuss.

And if one insists on using the word “argument” it must be modified by the word “friendly.”

Then let them go to it! Saint Louis was conversing one day with Queen Marguerite.

She was complaining that the king did not have enough pomp in court functions and that he himself did not dress with the magnificence befitting official ceremonies.

He thought, on his side, that the queen was taking some advantage of her position and that she gave way to excess in the richness of her dress.

“Would it really please you if I dressed more magnificently?” asked the king.

“Yes, I so wish you would.”

“Very well then, I shall do so, because the law of marriage urges the husband to try to please his wife.

But since this obligation is reciprocal, it is only right that you should conform to my desire.“

“And what is that?”

“That you get into the habit of dressing as simply as possible!”

Well done! In friendly arguments such as this, charity as well as finesse and courtesy scores its point. Don’t think you must always be right.

You ought to defend your point of view but you should not be hostile to the opposite viewpoint just because it’s the opposite viewpoint and before you ever begin to discuss.

Two minds are better than one–unless of course they’re two negatives. If the other person is right or it is better for the sake of peace to pull down your flag, then give in graciously and without bitterness.

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“It is the home that makes possible the growth of the child’s personality. With every waking moment the child becomes more conscious of itself, more ready to absorb the influence of those nearest to it. Its soul is, as it were, untouched soil which places no obstacles in the way of anything planted in it. How great then is the parents’ responsibility and their need of the graces of matrimony, to bring up their children in the fear and love of God.” -Dominican Sister, Australia, 1955 , Artist – Carl Larson

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