Negotiation

Rabbit Rule #7: Let the Other Side Have Their Victories

A part of being human is the deep-seated desire to look good. The Chinese call it saving face. To some extent we all want to be the hero. The rabbit might have been chosen to show the bear and the fox what a silver-tongued devil he was. He could have used his quick wit to expose their pedestrian mentalities. Instead, he chose to eat humble pie. The rabbit literally saved his neck by being the “goat.” He was willing to suffer a loss of face to save a very real part of his anatomy. In the breaking-up process, egos typically are bent and stretched.

This means that you and your spouse are likely to be fighting over some things that are pure ego battles. If you can let your spouse win all of these imaginary battles in exchange for your being allowed to win the battles of property division, child custody, and child support, you will be the real winner. There is plenty of time to be a hero later. Will Rogers said, “Being a hero is the shortest-lived occupation in the world.” This is especially true if you become a hero by winning the imaginary points that really don’t change the scoreboard.

Robin M. Green, Divorce: When It’s the Only Answer (The Ordinary Mortals Guide, Inc., 2005), Chapter 13, pp. 196-197.