Orson Scott Card: In the Village: Analyzing a quarrel over 'nothing'

Published: Thursday, June 2 2011 5:00 a.m. MDT

But "issues" like these are extremely unlikely ever to be resolved, for the simple reason that the real cause of this quarrel-about-nothing is sinful pride, and the entire cure is repentance.

Bob's reaction to Celia's "intrusion" might have been to think, "How lucky I am to have a wife who looks after the needs of other people, including me." He could have given her a smile and eaten the sandwiches from a single basket.

And when he realized how much less space the one basket took up on the table, he might even thank her for her foresight.

Or if it really mattered to him, he might have said, "I don't actually want the hot and cold sandwiches in the same basket, dear." Or, "Actually, the meatball sandwich is messy and I'd like to keep them separate."

Followed by a smile and a squeeze of the hand, to reassure her that he appreciates her looking out for him — but he has a reason to want it otherwise.

If she has the sin of pride, then his correction might cause her to feel hurt and rejected, and fill her with resentment. But if she is free of that sin, she will not take his contradiction as personal rejection, but merely as a matter of his personal preference.

Here is the sad truth about pride: It is such a "humble" sin that it will take possession of the smallest, simplest, lowest "offenses" and blow them up into battles. And yet it can be overcome by simple love, assuming the noblest motive for the action of a beloved spouse.

Prideful spouses live on the verge of constant war. Generous spouses are far more likely to find their lives filled with love and peace.

And when only one spouse is sinfully proud, both their lives are filled with turmoil — resentment on the part of the proud one, undeserved fear and guilt in the heart of the innocent.

Discussing such empty "issues" will only cause more pain to both. But quiet repentance of one's own sinful pride will bring peace and joy. So often the solution is not in therapy but in the sacrament.

Orson Scott Card is a writer of nonfiction and fiction, from LDS works to popular fiction. “In the Village” appears Thursdays on MormonTimes.com.

Contact Orson Scott Card by visiting www.nauvoo.com/contact_desnews.html.

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