The Bus Stop is a series of true stories about my life, people I've worked with and events I've experienced. Of course the names have been changed. I hope these stories will brighten your day with a few laughs as well as give you encouragement. Hopefully you can avoid making some of the mistakes I've made and if you have already made them, then you can identify with me.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Backdoor

After hours of arguing back and forth realizing they were no closer to a resolution than when this battle began Lilly screams out, “I WANT A DIVORCE!” Scott’s expression was definitely a vision of shock. This of course stirred the fires of anger even more, but Scott also realized if something wasn’t done soon, divorce could be imminent. They decided to consult a friend for counsel which was the only thing they could agree on for the moment. Time flew through the evening and into morning hours still no closer to a resolution and by 5:00am they went home stubbornly divided in their beliefs.

Shortly after this event between Lilly and Scott I received a phone call or I had called Lilly (I can’t remember which) and she began to tell me about the catastrophe that occurred with her husband. I quickly pointed out how stubborn they both were and also pointed out some humor in the situation. This released some of the frustration and tenseness that was radiating through the phone. She began to explain to me how he won’t even try to listen to what she was trying to say or understand this from her perspective. This is when I encouraged her to use the backdoor. Not understanding my meaning she says, “What’s the backdoor?”

I told her that all of us have a guard posted at our front door. This is the side of us that is generally exposed to others. The purpose of this guard is to protect us from being hurt, cheated, lied to and used. The greater the hurt in the past… the larger the guard. When one is angry, hysterical or afraid this guard becomes a giant and there is no way you are going to get through. No matter how hard you try, this door is blocked. However, the backdoor usually goes unprotected and can be entered, but you have to sneak in and approach slowly and carefully. Once you are through the door and have entered the house, you still have to make slow and non-threatening movements. The key is patience.

For those of you that didn’t catch the analogy I’ll try to explain. Using the backdoor simply means is to first let things cool off. Then you may want to talk about something you know you both agree on developing a camaraderie and trust. When the time is right, then start off with an apology for the argument, your attitude and something specific you said that was hurtful and demeaning. Wait for any response they might have and then attempt to explain your feelings, beliefs and why it was so important to you. Then give them a chance to explain their beliefs and why it was so important to them. Do not just discuss the issue, but the feelings behind the issue since this is probably what the argument was about any way.

The backdoor is not a trick to manipulate someone to get your way and if you do it will probably blow up in your face. The backdoor is a technique to resolve a problem whether it is a married couple, friends, children or a co-worker. The reason most people do not like to use this approach is because it requires patience, love, maturity and humility. Many would rather be right than resolve an issue.

Lilly was so amazed at this idea. She said that after a whole night of arguing and no resolution that only after 5 minutes of talking with me she finally felt relief. Lilly and Scott are still married and she has told me she continues to use this technique.

I want you to understand that my idea I offered her was not because I’m so intelligent or insightful. This was simply one of those situations where God simply chose to use me and nothing else. I know the person with whom they spoke and they are very talented and gifted in working with people. This story was not about the couple, about the person they talked with or about me, but about how God can use anyone He wants to accomplish what needs to be accomplished and when.

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