By Mark Rounds, VP of Corporate Development
A few years back, on a cool misty summer morning, a good friend and I were preparing to play golf. The starter gave us the course conditions and wished us well on our adventure. My friend teed off first and hit a towering drive that sliced into the woods. The starter quipped, “Hmmm, looks like a son-in-law ball.” We both looked at him with a blank stare. He added, “Not what you expected.” My friend and I laughed until our sides hurt because we both had daughters in their early twenties who were dating guys we were not particularly fond of. After our laugh – and a mulligan – my friend teed off again and we went on our way to enjoy a pleasant day of golf.
My daughter continued to date the young man. I could not figure out what she saw in him. He was several years older than her and a race car driver with only a high school education, whereas my daughter had aspirations of continuing her education beyond college for an advanced degree. I hoped she would change her mind. Finally my wife approached me and said, “You better start liking him because I think your daughter is going to marry him.” What! Are you kidding? She could do so much better. She can’t possibly be thinking of marrying him!
That is when it hit me. I was stuck in a “collusion cycle” with him. The resentment and discontentment I had for him was reflected in my behavior towards him. I did not like what I saw, so I acted in a manner that showed disapproval of him. He continued to do the things his way, because that is who he is. His actions only continued to foster my frustrations. I needed to change the way I viewed him to get out of the collusion cycle. By changing my approach to acceptance, I began to see him as my daughter saw him: a caring and faithful young man.
Once out of the collusion cycle (that I created) I accepted him and began to treat him with the respect he deserved. When I changed, he seemed to change. When I accepted him, he became acceptable. He and I now enjoy spending time together, and we even enjoyed a trip to the Indianapolis 500 this past year. And – yes – he proposed to my daughter with plans of getting married next year.
One of our fundamental beliefs at Vogel Bros. Building Co. is that we are in charge of our attitudes. This means we control how we respond to our circumstances. We control the collusion cycle. When one faces difficulties with another, it is up to that individual to make the appropriate response to stop the cycle of disappointment and begin the acceptance that creates harmony. When a relationship is not working well, one must look at himself or herself – not blame the other person – in order to break the collusion cycle.