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Bruno and Ivy: Navigating Conflict Through Soft Responses

In the heart of the vast African savanna, nestled between the golden grasslands and the serene blue sky, lay the village of Umoja. Known for its unity and peace, the village was home to Bruno and Ivy, a couple whose household was often filled with the sound of quarrels.

Bruno, a woman of fierce spirit, had words as sharp as the thorn bushes lining the village paths. Ivy, her husband, was a man of pride, his ego as tall and unyielding as the mighty baobab tree. Though their love for each other was undeniable, their arguments were like thunderstorms, loud and tumultuous, shaking the foundations of their home.

Bruno’s Sharp Tongue

One evening, as the sun dipped below the horizon, casting a warm glow over the village, Ivy returned home from the fields, weary and aching from a long day’s work. All he wanted was a moment of peace and a simple meal. However, he was greeted by a scene of chaos. Their children were arguing loudly, and Bruno was nowhere to be seen.

“Ivy, where have you been?” Bruno’s voice cut through the noise as she emerged from their sleeping quarters, her face a mask of frustration. “I’ve been dealing with the children all day! You think just because you work in the fields, you have the right to come home and rest while I handle everything here?”

Ivy, already exhausted, felt his temper rise. “Bruno, I’ve been working under the scorching sun all day. The least you could do is manage the children without yelling at me the moment I walk in.”

Bruno’s eyes flashed with anger. “Manage? You call what I do all day ‘managing’? You have no idea what it’s like to keep this household together while you’re off in the fields. Maybe if you helped out more, you’d understand!”

The Village Elder’s Wisdom

One day, as their arguments reached a peak, they received an invitation from the village elder, requesting their presence at an urgent gathering under the ancient baobab tree.

The sun was setting as they made their way to the tree, casting long shadows that danced ominously across the savanna. The air was thick with anticipation and unease.

The elder began to speak, his voice calm and soothing, a stark contrast to the tension that often hung in Bruno and Ivy’s home. “Today, by the guidance of the Holy Spirit,” the elder began, “I wish to share a lesson that will help eliminate quarrels and strife, malice, hurts, and offenses in our marriages. This lesson is about the power of a soft answer.”

“It may seem simple, but the things that lead to great success in life often are. Yet, simplicity does not make it easy. If it were, our homes would not be troubled by conflict. It is our pride, ego, human tendencies, selfishness, and lack of patience that make it difficult.”

Understanding the Power of Responses

“What I am talking about is our responses,” the elder began, his voice resonating under the shade of the ancient baobab tree. “How we communicate with our spouse is crucial. Our response gives direction to what happens next. The initial words spoken are not as important as our responses.”

He paused, letting his words sink in, before continuing with a quote from the ancient scriptures, “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.”

“As couples,” the elder continued, “we must pay extra attention to how we respond. Bruno, as a wife, never allow your response to be out of anger. Learn what a soft answer means. Ivy, as a husband, it is better to turn away wrath in your marriage than to prove your point. Even when your spouse speaks harshly, respond with a soft answer.”

Applying the Lesson

It was a scorching afternoon in Umoja. Ivy trudged wearily back from the fields, his throat parched and sweat-soaked clothes clinging uncomfortably to his body. His thoughts were fixed on the cool drink that awaited him at home, a small comfort after hours spent under the relentless African sun.

As he approached their modest hut, Ivy’s anticipation turned to frustration when he noticed the absence of his usual refreshment. He pushed open the door with a sigh, expecting to find Bruno bustling about their small kitchen. Instead, the hut was unusually quiet, save for the faint sound of their youngest child’s whimpering.

“Bruno, where is my drink?” Ivy’s voice echoed through the walls, his irritation palpable. “Have you forgotten your duties as my wife?”

Startled by Ivy’s sharp tone, Bruno emerged from the shadows of their sleeping quarters, her face etched with concern and weariness. The sight of her husband, disheveled and clearly agitated, sparked a defensive response within her. Normally, she would have met his outburst with equal force, defending her actions and asserting her own needs.

The Power of a Soft Answer

But today was different. Today, Bruno felt the weight of exhaustion and concern for their sick child pressing down on her. Remembering the elder’s words about the power of a soft answer, she took a deliberate breath, trying to steady her emotions.

soft answer

“My love,” Bruno spoke softly, her voice barely above a whisper yet carrying the weight of sincerity. “Our child fell ill suddenly. I’ve been with him, trying to ease his discomfort. I apologize for not having your drink ready. Let me fetch it for you now.”

Ivy, caught off guard by Bruno’s unexpected response, felt the tension in his shoulders begin to ease. He had been so focused on his own discomfort and expectations that he had failed to consider what Bruno might be dealing with.

“I understand,” Ivy replied, his voice softer now, filled with a mixture of guilt and relief. “I’m sorry for snapping at you, Bruno. Thank you for taking care of our child. I’ll fetch the drink myself.”

Transformation Through Practice

Their voices, once raised in frustration like crashing waves against the shore, now softened into a gentle cadence that mirrored the breeze weaving through the baobab leaves outside their window. Each word they exchanged carried the weight of their shared journey—the highs and lows of their day, the challenges that tested their resolve, and the deep wellspring of love that bound them together beyond the moments of discord.

Lessons Learned

1. Power of Soft Responses

Soft answers prevent conflicts and foster understanding, which is essential for maintaining harmony in marriages.

2. Simplicity vs. Challenge

While simple in concept, implementing soft responses requires overcoming human tendencies like pride and impatience.

3. Impactful Responses

Our responses shape interactions; gentle responses diffuse anger while harsh words escalate conflicts (Proverbs 15:1).

4. Guidance for Couples

Both spouses benefit from understanding and practicing soft responses, avoiding anger-driven reactions.

5. Challenges and Commitment

Mastering soft responses requires deliberate effort, decision-making, and persistence despite temptations to respond harshly.

6. Final Advice

Couples are advised to consistently choose gentleness and empathy, prioritizing harmony over the need to prove themselves right.