How do we remove conflicts from our close relationships? Consider the following marital scenario:
A woman is very stressed as she cleans up her house to perfection, in anticipation of a visit by her mother. Her husband, aware of her stress, comes home early to help. She repeatedly, angrily, rudely orders him about, complaining unfairly about his lack of skill. The husband does not argue; he does whatever his wife asks. Later that night, the wife comes to him and tearfully apologizes. He replies, "Well I know it is hard for you when you want so much to impress your Mom." The wife replies tenderly, "You really are very good to me".
Is this story very unrealistic? Perhaps one would be less surprised if the gender roles in the story were reversed, and it was the wife who showed such loving patience with a grumpy husband. However, men also can commit to transforming a conflictual situation.
The fire of anger can be used to better a relationship. The tool for doing so is, shrinking our ego needs for the moment and nurturing our partner. Anger, like any of G-D's creations, can serve a good purpose. When a person is angry at us, we are tempted to respond with our dark side; however, we have a positive alternative. By freeing ourselves from negativity, by finding the strength to do what G‑d wants us to do, we use the fire of the conflict to refine both our character and the relationship. May it be, as we attempt to bring ourselves to spiritual wholeness, that G‑d responds in equal measure.