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Expressions of frustrations are not necessarily intentions of actions

Harmony in Relationships

Many times we hear people close to us telling us, “I want to end the relationship, “I want to quit my job”, “I want to move to my mother’s home”, “I want to leave everything and run away”, “I want to take sannyasa” etc.

After a fight, when the wife told her husband, “I want to move to my parents’ house”, the husband very promptly thinking he was being helpful went online and booked her tickets.

“What do you mean you have booked my tickets?” She asked in renewed anger

“You said you wanted to go to your parents’ house, that is why I booked the ticket”

“So you want to get rid of me, is it? You would be happy to see my back?”

“Not at all. I want you to be here. But since you said you wanted to go there, I did not want to stop you”

“So if I say I want to go, you will encourage me to go, is it?”

“That was not my intention” was the poor fellow’s confused response.

When many of us say these things, we mean it as an expression of our frustrations not an intention of action. When people say, “I want to join an ashram” or “I want to run away to the Himalayas” you don’t jump and start packing their suitcases and ordering orange robes online. You might have laughed at that because you understand these extreme situations, but we often miss the subtler statements.

Ending relationships is not an easy affair to anyone. There will be countless arguments in every relationship. In a marriage thousands of times, people would have said they want to walk out of the marriage. Such statements may be made even after decades of a relationship. It still only signifies frustrations rather than any intent to do anything dramatic. The best thing to do under such circumstances is to address the frustrations. If we do not know how then the second best thing to do is to allow time and space for the person to cool down.

By jumping into action mode to ‘help’ them with their intention we are only adding fuel to the fire. We are providing another instance to be quoted in the next fight. “Remember how ready you were to send me away last time?”

It takes time, commitment and effort but if we can separate expression of frustrations from the statement of intent to act, we go a long way in nurturing harmony in relationships.

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