It Takes Strength To Be Gentle


It takes more strength to be gentle. Consider a disagreement with your partner. It’s easy to let loose and allow your frustration, emotion, anger, or irritation to lead the way. In the movie A Marriage Story (directed by Noah Baumbach [Netflix, 2019]), which chronicles the disintegration of a marriage, one scene is tough to watch, as the main characters Charlie and Nicole have an explosive fight. When asked about the scene, director Noah Baumbach talks about how his interviews with people impacted the direction of the scene. Baumbach says people revealed their worst fights and “how quickly things could ignite. But I was also thinking about fights in general between loved ones and intimates. Obviously, we see it with couples even outside the context of divorce. When there is such love and intimacy involved, things can get very volatile, and people are very sensitive. If you have two people who are coming at each other, both feeling hurt and insecure, it’s very hard to find common ground because everything feels hurtful by nature. You’re almost like two open wounds, but not manifesting as open wounds. They’re both coming at it in a more formal, seemingly controlled way. But we know right beneath the surface is such sensitivity” (Max Cea, “Marriage Story Director Noah Baumbach Breaks Down That Explosive Fight,” GQ, December 12, 2019, The emotionally brutal scene includes shouting, cussing, blaming, a hole punched in the wall, and a declaration that one person wishes the other were dead. It is the antithesis of gentleness and is sadly relatable for many marriages. Gentleness is not weakness but intentional care for the person you are interacting with. Marriages will have problems. How we address those problems is up to us.