Recently I read the classic Tolstoy novel, Anna Karenina. One interaction really stuck with me:
Anna, as you might know the storyline, had an affair. She left her husband and moved away with the other guy, Vronsky. Of course, this disrupted other relationships in her life. One day she ran into Dolly, her brother’s wife. They were both so glad to see each other. As they conversed, Anna was really only concerned with one thing — “’What view do you take of my position? What do you think? What?’ She asked.” Dolly was taken aback, obviously surprised by this question. But her response struck me as the very thing I think everyone longs for. Dolly responded, “I don’t take any view. I always loved you, and if one loves, one loves the
Dolly wasn’t condoning Anna’s actions. Dolly understood that Anna felt her own guilt. She also knew that nothing she would say would change Anna’s mind. Dolly did not presume to act as if she was the judge or jury. She did not act as if she knew all the details. She simply expressed a profound sense of love and loyalty. That did more for Anna than anything else.
I wonder what it would be like if we approached all relationships like this.