second priority: lightening my attitude, cease the snap

I thought of you when I read this quote from “The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun” by Gretchen Rubin –


Nagging was easier to address than some other behaviors I was trying to change. I faced a tougher challenge with my second priority: lightening my attitude. Marital conflicts fall into two categories: issues that can be clearly resolved and those that can’t. Unfortunately, more conflicts fall into the open-ended “How should we spend our money?” and “How should we raise our children?” categories than into the easier “What movie should we see this weekend?” or “Where should we go on our vacation this summer?” category.

Some disagreement is inevitable and even valuable. Since Jamie and I were going to fight, I wanted to be able to have fights that were more fun, where we could joke around and be affectionate even while we were disagreeing. 

I also wanted to conquer my own particular bosom enemy: snapping. Far too often, in a kind of one-sided mini-fight, I would lash out in sudden fits of temper that soured the household mood. I’d often wondered why anger —along with pride, greed, gluttony, lust, sloth, and envy— were the seven deadly sins, because they didn’t seem as deadly as lots of other sins. It turns out that they’re deadly sins not because of their gravity but because of their power to generate other, worse sins. They’re the gateway sins to the big sins. Of the seven deadly sins, anger was certainly my nemesis.

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