Jeongin Choi / Office worker
It was the 13th year of marriage. After my mother died, my father spent day after day drinking. Choi Jung-in and his wife had to go through such a difficult time due to the burden of paying his brother’s debts. Fortunately, when the quarrels increased and they were separated from each other, the wife began to practice meditation. After seeing her change, her husband also started practicing meditation. This is the story of Jeongin Choi emptying his mind and seeing from another’s point of view, allowing his family conflict to be resolved naturally.
Stressed husband, angry wife
After my mother died from cancer before seeing our wedding, my father spent every day drinking. My father was a farmer, but he had too many expenses. He couldn’t handle it after paying for all his expenses including living expenses, farming costs, and large loans. Also, my younger brother couldn’t pay his bank loan, so my parents had to pay it for him. I couldn’t raise the money on my own.
Twice a month, on days off, my wife wanted to go on a trip and watch a movie, but instead I went down to my father’s house in the country to help my father. A few years later, my younger brother filed for bankruptcy and lost all of his property, and my father’s farmland was taken as well because it was used as collateral. When there was no place for my father to live, I, being the eldest son, brought him to Pohang (a city in South Korea).
My father didn’t do anything except for lying down. My wife did not understand my father, who was in a very depressed state and helpless, and he didn’t feel like keeping up his appearance. At the time, we were running a small chicken restaurant, but my father was just hanging out in the restaurant, so the customers who came were repulsed by the old man in the restaurant and gradually didn’t patronize the restaurant anymore. Eventually, the store collapsed.
My wife had to take care of our children while she was working. Her stress from my father turned into anger. My annoyed wife’s complaints bothered me. I also hated my father’s helplessness. But I thought that it was not very surprising because our family had many debts, but I couldn’t comfort my wife because I was too timid and quiet.
My wife would take her anger out with the kids. I hated to listen to her complaints, “You don’t understand either?” I used to be annoyed, saying, “It’s my parents. I can’t help it!” As quarrels with my wife increased, our relationship fell apart. If I couldn’t contain my anger, I would tell her, “I won’t live with you anymore.” But I would regret it.
The first words from my wife after doing meditation, “I’ve been wrong”
My oldest sister, who had been overlooking our family situation, offered to take care of our father for several months. I started working in the Gyeonggi Province for 3 months. My wife said she started doing meditation, but I didn’t pay much attention. But when I came home from work, my wife was different.
One day, I was surprised by a text message saying, “I was wrong,” so I called the children and asked, “Did your mom drink?” It was my wife who was constantly nagging about cleaning, hanging the laundry, etc…, but this time, she was quiet. There was pestering or scolding of the kids.
After meditating, my wife said that her feelings of frustration were relieved and she became more positive. “It’s good to have a grandfather even for the children, but I lived without knowing that gratitude.” She surprised me by saying that she wants for my father to live the rest of his life as he wishes. She also said that she could now understand how desperate my father had become after he had to give up his farm, which he dedicated his life to, as well as lose his spouse.
She said he needed an escape from his life, but since no one helped him, he would have had to resort to alcohol. She also admitted to me that she could understand now about the predicament she had put me in: I either had to endure to her complaints or persuade my father to change, and she said she was really sorry for making me suffer the difficulty of being in the middle of her and my father.
I realized it was all my fault that the burden of my father was on my wife’s shoulders
I was curious about what meditation was and I also had more time, so I started meditating. I began to look within myself. I found that there was a deep longing for my deceased mother. I always missed my mother when I drank. I used to call my sister and complain and regret about the things I couldn’t do for my mother when she was alive. When I was a child, I always felt pity toward my mother because I grew up watching my father treat my mother poorly. I was always nervous and walking on egg shells around my father.
I wasn’t even good towards my father, but I made my wife treat my father well. I thought it was natural for my wife to match to me, but when I saw from her point of view, I realized that it would have been a really difficult situation for her. Her most comfortable conversational partner was me, yet I couldn’t listen to a single story with patience. Why couldn’t I realize that at the time? How hard was it for me to see that? I felt so sorry and sinful.
It was me who caused discord in the family. It was because I couldn’t meet her in the middle. I just expected my wife to follow me and meet my standards. When I was young watching my father treat my mother poorly, I said to myself that I would never do that to my wife. But I became just like my father and I was doing the same things I had witnessed of my father.
When I abandoned my standards and learned to see from the other person’s perspective, all conflicts were naturally resolved
By the time I went home after meditating at the Nonsan Main Center for a month, my father was also brought back, but my behavior toward my family was different.
When I came home after work, I started to ask about my father’s meals and daily life with much more interest. When I came home and there was no rice, I was annoyed before, but these days, I share in the preparation of the meals.
When my wife was having a hard time, I said, “I’m sorry you are having a hard time. You’re doing well now and I will try to help out more.” As I talked, my wife quickly relaxed and the atmosphere in the house improved. My way of dealing with my father also changed. I used to be blunt, but nowadays, I say sweetly “The weather is warm. Would you like to take shower? How about going for a haircut with me?” My eldest son, who went to the youth camp, became mature enough to prepare rice for his younger brother and grandfather.
To have the wisdom to deal with a wife and a father, it is of utmost importance to learn from the other person’s perspective. Both sides make sense now. It seems that I can see the other person and become the other person’s position when I abandon my standards and stubbornness. Then the conflict is resolved naturally. I am so grateful for this meditation. Thank you so much!