When I do weddings, I give a brief message about marriage, and I try to personalize it to the couple getting married. Recently, what I knew of the couple lead to a kitty litter metaphor for a successful marriage. It was well received, and I now share that metaphor with you, as it relates to the challenge of dealing with conflict in any relationship.
Let us assume that the tray of kitty litter is life, and that the lumps/clumps/etc in the litter represent stressors and conflicts in your life. Man…they really stink sometimes.
Finances, health, work issues, family issues, and more can be nasty, smelly deposits in our tray of life. So what do we do with them? Obviously, though not exciting, the best way is to deal with them. Face the fact that they exist, dig them out, and deal with them. We all have conflict in our life, and the best way to clear it out is to deal with it.
However, like with the cat litter box, we don’t always deal with it. Sometimes we wait for someone else to deal with it. We figure if we wait long enough, the other person will clean the box. Meanwhile they are doing the same thing…pretending they don’t notice the stench and thinking, “I am not making the first move.” The conflict is right there….all of your friends and family can smell it, but because you don’t deal with it, it affects all those around you, and of course, they are too polite to suggest that you clean your own litter box.
Or, as I tend to do with my real litter box and my four cats, I just lay some fresh litter over the mess and figure I will get to it later. That is like filling my life with other events and thoughts so I just “never get around” to dealing with the conflict. It’s not that I expect someone else to do it. I do see it as my issue, but I just don’t feel like dealing with it now. Of course, even if I keep putting on more litter (and even some deodorizer), my box of life just keeps getting more full of a massive amount of crud.
So friends. Face your conflict, deal with your conflict, resolve your conflict, dispose of your conflict, and then you can breathe easier.