After a presentation one night, a man came up to me and asked me what to do if you want to be positive but you live with someone who is very negative.

I asked him for an example.

“Last night my wife came upstairs and said, ‘You left the light on in the basement again!’ I asked her if she shut the light off and she said, ‘no, I’m not the one who left it on!’ So I had to go back downstairs to shut the light off!”

“Have you tried agreeing with her?” I asked.

“What do you mean?”

“Did you leave the light on?”

“Well, yes, but she could have shut it off!”

“She didn’t shut the light off,” I said. “And…she was right that you left the light on. You could try agreeing with her.”

“What do you mean?”

“Let’s do this,” I said, channeling Byron Katie, “You be your wife, and I’ll be someone who loves her: I’ll be you. Start saying whatever your wife would say in this situation.”

“Okay,” he said with a shrug. Then he pitched his voice a little higher and started:

“You never shut that light off. You left it on again! I’m the only one who ever shuts the lights off! I have to do everything around here!”

“Your right, honey,” I said (as him,) “I did leave the light on.”

There was a long pause.

“What would she say next?” I prompted.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I’ve never tried that.”

After a few more minutes of conversation, the man left, hopefully to see what would happen when he agreed with his wife that yes, he had left the light on.

It takes two to have an argument. It only takes one to have peace.