We Can Work It Out? Really?

I always liked the song We Can Work it Out. It’s got a cool melody, and a good, pos­it­ive mes­sage. Right? At a super­fi­cial glance, maybe. But I dis­covered some­thing.

In case you live under a rock, here is the song I am talk­ing about:

Neat melody, hunh? But take a closer listen to the lyr­ics.

I had a con­flict situ­ation in my life, and the oth­er party pos­ted this song on Face­book, and that’s when I noticed it. The song appears to be about con­flict res­ol­u­tion, but it nev­er once mentions–or even hints at–com­prom­ise. The lyr­ics sug­gest that the sing­er­’s ideas are right, and the oth­er party’s ideas are wrong. Full stop.

So basic­ally, if per­son #2 does­n’t give in to per­son #1’s demands, per­son #2 is flat-out wrong. Geez, talk about arrog­ant. No dis­cus­sion, no notion of listen­ing to what per­son #2 has to say.

Does that sound like a pos­it­ive mes­sage to you?

Con­flict in my mar­riage is resolved when we listen to each oth­er. If my hus­band has a prob­lem with some­thing I am doing, he tells me what is going on and why it’s both­er­ing him. I listen to him, and try to recog­nise why it’s both­er­ing him. I exam­ine the situ­ation, I  ask ques­tions. The same goes for when I have a prob­lem with some­thing he has done. The point is, we dis­cuss it. We deal with only one prob­lem at a time, so there’s no, “Well you did that thing!” “Well YOU did THAT thing!” as if it’s a com­pet­i­tion, or as if it’s okay that one per­son did a thing because the oth­er per­son did a thing before. We respect each oth­er, so we don’t attack or blame one anoth­er. We trust each oth­er, so we know we will solve the prob­lem and that it isn’t a case of one try­ing to over­power the oth­er. Even­tu­ally we come up with a solu­tion. Job done. There is abso­lutely no feel­ing of one of us being “right” and the oth­er being “wrong.”

So sure. We Can Work It Out. But not in the way The Beatles sug­gest.